Monday, May 11, 2009
It's Monday morning. In any office, in any given city, you can find an ample amount of people who are suffering from that dreaded condition called "Monday Morning Blues."
The exact origin of this condition is unclear. Does is it start the moment we open our eyes on Monday morning? Or does it slowly rise up as night falls on Sunday? More importantly, how do we cure it? This article will offer some solutions and tips on how to cure your Monday Morning Blues so that you can become a more productive and happier worker.
1. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Professor Charles Areni conducted research lead by a team of psychologists from the University of Sydney who collected mood information from hundreds of people, asking them for their worst and best morning and evening of the week and had this to say about the Monday Morning Blues:
"The Monday morning blues and 'Thank God it's Friday attitude' are largely inaccurate theories of how moods vary when they actually don't," he reported in News.com.au. "Mondays are not actually blue at all, but we persist in the belief that they are." Areni added.
In offices all around America, people approach Monday with the mindset of "getting through" the week. In that scenario, Monday becomes the first stepping stone in an uphill battle. If you hold that perspective, then you inevitably begin your week feeling down. Sure there is work that is awaiting you - some of which you may not be looking forward to; projects that need to be completed; assignments that you dread; and co-workers that you don't like. By focusing on what you want to accomplish in the upcoming week instead of merely getting through it, your mindset will inevitably change.
2. ADDRESS YOUR BASIC NEEDS
Professor Areni's research indicates that the real low point of the week was Wednesday ("aka" hump day), not Monday, and that mood change and attitude was only slight for other days. He said the day-of-the-week stereotypes stemmed from a cultural belief that people were generally happier when they were free to choose their activities compared to when they were sitting at a desk.
My research indicates that those who are less susceptible to the Monday Morning Blues are those who have jobs which fulfill their most basic work needs which are: autonomy, the need for competency, and the need for relatedness. Seeking more freedom in your job and being empowered with the ability to make choices regarding how your work is done, is a major component to job satisfaction. Feeling good about doing your job to the best of your ability is also key. Finally, finding people who can relate to you and your work challenges is crucial and underestimated. If there is no one within your organization who fits this description, befriend someone similar at a neighboring company who does.
3. GET OVER HUMP DAY - LITERALLY
"Monday morning is remembered and predicted to be the worst part of the week because it is the first work day after two days of free time, and because four work days follow before the next period of free time," he said. "Likewise, Friday evening is the best part of the week because it marks the beginning of an extended period of free time, he added.
It sounds obvious, but on a subconscious level, this thinking undermines and disrupts our focus and ability to be "in the now". It would make sense that Wednesday is referred to as "hump day" since most workers, as previously stated, are merely trying to get through the week or climb some long, steep, imaginary hill that they long to "get over". Hump day symbolizes the peak at which point the climb gets easier because in theory, it's all downhill from there. When you effectively focus on reaching goals for the week, you will find that hump day all but disappears when you are humping your butt off while trying to accomplish your goals.
4. MAXIMIZE YOUR WEEKEND DURING THE WEEK
Most people dread Sundays because they know that Monday is just around the corner. This leaves Saturday as the only true weekend day. Recent surveys confirm this. A whopping 72 per cent of those polled spend up to four hours doing chores on a Sunday, which includes 31 per cent attempting to get through the laundry, 24 per cent cleaning the kitchen and 14 per cent changing the bed.
Not only is this counterproductive in terms of preventing the Monday Morning Blues, but it also decreases weekend enjoyment. By executing mundane household chores during the week, you free up valuable weekend time which can be spent in a more productive or leisurely fashion - right up until Sunday night.
4. SLEEP LESS, PLAY MORE
A new study has found that lazy Saturday and Sunday lie-ins can disturb your body clock, leaving you fatigued at the start of the week. Flinders University sleep expert Leon Lack said people often used the weekend to catch up on sleep lost during the week. He notes: "We've discovered that these sleep-ins are actually putting your body out of whack enough to change your Sunday night bedtime and set you up for Monday blues," Professor Lack told AAP.
His research team tested the theory by tracking 16 people over a weekend, asking them to go to bed a little later than they would on a weeknight but sleeping-in an extra two hours. By comparing saliva samples and hormone tests he found participants' body clocks had been delayed by 45 minutes.
"That might not sound like a lot but it means that you're not quite as sleepy on Sunday night at the normal bedtime and you'll be much sleepier the next day," Prof Lack said. Questionnaires completed on Monday and Tuesday showed much higher levels of self-reported fatigue and tiredness compared with pre-sleep in days. This was because the subjects' circadian rhythms - which determine patterns of alertness and tiredness - had been disturbed, creating an effect similar to jet lag. By mid-week (hump day) most people manage to get back on track but then they start staying up later, getting into "debt" once again and perpetuating the cycle.
If the weekend is a time to play, get up early and do it. You will keep your body's clock attuned to your "normal" wake-up time, and get the maximum use of your minimal free time.
5. BALANCE OUT YOUR MONDAYS
If you ride public transportation you know that it's a much less gregarious atmosphere on your train, bus, or carpool on Mondays. People don't engage in conversation as readily as they do on Fridays. It's no surprise that people smile less on Mondays than they do on Fridays. We all know that smiles invite friendliness or at least friendly interactions.
Put an activity on your Monday schedule (yes, regardless of how hectic your Mondays are) that will afford you the opportunity for some friendly interaction. Whether it's having lunch with a friend, making a donation of some kind, or sending a personal email to say hello to someone - do something that balances your work demands against your personal needs to give you something to look forward to at the beginning of the week.
Using these tips should make your Mondays a little brighter, and a little more enjoyable.