'Monday Blues': What it is and how to fight it

love your monday mental health Jan 23, 2022
If you're reading this, you've probably been there. In fact, you're probably reading this now, mid-morning on Monday, desperately trying to get some momentum going as you painstakingly go through work emails, sit through another meeting that could have been an email, or look over an uninspiring to do list trying to grasp something that will get you through the next couple of hours to lunch.
The feeling of dread that hovers over a person's entire being on Mondays is so common among people who have a typical five-day workweek, that a term has been ascribed to it. The 'Monday Blues,' which describe the negative emotions and mood associated with returning to work after the weekend, are characterized by feelings of sadness, tension, and anxiety, lethargy, as well as a general lack of motivation and sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Among the more popular reasons people experience the 'Monday Blues' are low levels of job satisfaction and increased work-related stress, pre-existing mental health concerns, and poor health.
While all people don't experience these blues to the same extent, research has shown that the transition from the weekend to work is challenging and discouraging for many people. In fact, the health and mental health implications of the 'Monday Blues' have been demonstrated consistently. Research shows that people are generally the unhealthiest on Mondays, including higher blood pressure, increased weight, as well as an increased incidence of heart attacks and stroke. Not only are people more likely to report feeling depressed on Mondays, according to an article published in the academic journal, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, deaths by suicide are also more likely to occur on Mondays.

A More Mindful Monday

Despite the widely held belief in our culture that Mondays are depressing, we do not have to accept the associated consequences about the start of the week as our fate. Finding a balance between accepting the things we cannot change (e.g., a less than ideal work situation) and finding the courage to change those things that we can (e.g., how we show up for work) may be key. Using mindfulness as a framework can help those who experience the 'Monday Blues' to have a better day.

What is mindfulness?

According to Mindful.org, mindfulness is "the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us." Mindfulness is a way of being and does not necessarily warrant an elaborate practice. In addition to setting aside dedicated time to engage in mindfulness-based practices such as mindfulness meditation or a mindful breathing meditation, finding ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life and routine has many benefits. Some empirically-supported benefits of mindfulness include stress and anxiety reduction, improved concentration and clarity, boost in working memory, processing speed, and cognitive flexibility, improved emotional regulation (fewer depressive symptoms and rumination, more positive affect) and emotional reactivity, as well as greater relationship satisfaction. In addition, some health benefits are evident, including improved immune functioning and overall well-being.
Using mindfulness as a framework can help those who experience the Monday Blues to have a better day.
Given the myriad benefits of mindfulness, here are five ways to mindfully approach your Monday:
  1. Mindfully experience your weekend. One of the reasons we dread Monday is our difficulty detaching from work and being fully present on the weekend. Give yourself an opportunity to truly rest and recharge. This includes setting clear boundaries by giving yourself permission to disconnect from work (e.g., limit checking work emails or doing any work that is not urgent, ). If you find yourself thinking about work and being drawn to work, bring your attention back to the present. One trick I use with clients is to create a mental parking lot - or a place where you can "park your thoughts" about work to be revisited later (e.g., in a note-taking app). If work-related rumination persists, you might be in need of finding or rediscovering activities that can help you disconnect from work.
  2. Mindfully approach the start of your week. Prepare for the week ahead by beginning your mindset shift on Sunday. This might include setting aside what you will wear Monday morning, meal planning and food prep, taking a few small things off of your to do list (preferably not work-related), and getting to sleep early.
  3. Mindfully set your intention for Monday. Plan to wake up a little earlier on Monday morning so you won't feel rushed. Set aside some time Monday morning to set your intention for the day. Before starting your day, begin with slow, deep breathing from a seated position and ask yourself" 'What do I need to believe and do today to have the greatest impact, show up for myself and others, and manifest the life I want?' Within your answers lie powerful affirmations that can set your intention for the day (e.g., "Today I choose to appreciate my gifts, including the ability to overcome any challenge this day may bring. I walk in my power to be a light to others and to lead with compassion for myself and others."). Be sure to find time throughout the day to pause, breath, and check-in on your intention.
  4. Mindfully reimagine your (Monday) schedule. Give yourself permission to rearrange your schedule to reduce the Monday crunch. Are there meetings or activities scheduled on Mondays that can be moved to later in the week? Can more challenging tasks be spread out more evenly across the week? While there may be some non-negotiable Monday duties, a major overhaul to how you approach your week may go a long way to improving your Monday, including freeing up Mondays for more urgent tasks, creativity, and fun! In addition, reimagining the schedule might include dedicating time on Fridays to wrap up matters that will ultimately free up mental reserves over the weekend and allow you to have a smoother transition from the weekend back to work, as well as scheduling some pleasurable activities throughout the day to give yourself something to look forward to on Mondays (e.g., meeting friends or colleagues for lunch or Happy Hour, date night, workout).
  5. Mindfully engage your social support network. Seek social support and engagement both at work and outside of work. This will shift your focus from what you are not looking forward to doing on Monday to an interaction with someone you are looking forward to seeing. If you do not have a social support network, you can use Monday as an opportunity to build one. This might include seeking a mentor or mentoring someone, building your LinkedIn connections, or joining a social or professional organization. Regardless of how you engage your social network, replace the temptation to complain with a show of gratitude and extension of kindness.
If your 'Monday Blues' seem to be excessive or persist beyond Monday and into the rest of your week and life, you may need to assess whether there is something more going on. Professional help in the form of psychotherapy or coaching may help you assess what you are feeling, factors that contribute to your mood and behavior, and what you can do to improve your situation.
Whether you love Mondays or dread them, hopefully, you find ways to approach them more mindfully. What strategies are you planning to implement to kick the 'Monday Blues'? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram @thedoctorrae. If you are interested in coaching services, check out my offerings here.
Mondays have never felt so good!

Stay Informed! 

Never Miss A New Post


Join our mailing list to receive weekly inspiration and updates from our blog, news on events and promotions, and our monthly newsletter.


We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.