7 Tips to Overcome the Monday Blues

asleep-in-bed-whn-2Arrrrrgh days (Mondays) are the most difficult transition for most of us. We just had two glorious days off doing stuff we chose to do. Now we are back at work and doing stuff other people are telling us to do. We all have to do stuff we don’t feel like doing. Even if you are the CEO, your share holders, board members and customers are telling you what to do.

By adjusting the way you view your experience, you have the ability to be happy on a Monday.

You have to take some of the control back and make yourself feel good. I’m not talking about eating chocolate cake. I’m talking about doing small things that can redirect your focus.

The C.A.P.A.S.C.H. Method

1. Call a friend and Talk about the Fun Topics

2. Allow Your Feelings be as They Are

3. Plan Your Day

4. Ask a Co-worker How Their Weekend Went

5. Stop Complaining

6. Clean Your Desk

7. Help a Co-worker

1. Call a Friend and Talk about Fun Topics.

On your way into work or at work, call a friend and talk about enjoyable topics. This is one of my favorite ways to laugh and pick up my day before I start work on a Monday. I recently had a conversation with an old friend about when we were kids and how we dipped a dandelion in a sewer leak and made the neighbors smell the flower. I’m not proud of this, but we were laughing so hard I thought I should pull over.

We should take advantage of little perks like these.

2. Ask a Co-worker How Their Weekend Went

Most of us probably ask our co-workers how their weekends went, but the problem is that we don’t listen when they answer. I would like you to try asking how a co-worker’s weekend went and really listening instead of waiting for them to stop so you can tell them about your weekend.

By really listening to them, you become more engaged with the person. You start to discover what they like and don’t like. When it comes time to ask for help, you know who cares about what and which people can really help.

You also open yourself up to feeling empathy toward the other person. Later that Monday when they don’t have that report ready for you, you will recall that story of how they rushed to the hospital. You’ll be a little more forgiving and understanding of other people’s feelings.

3. Plan Your Day

When you take the time to plan out your day, you will find it easier to accomplish your work. This is obvious, but many of us fail to do it.

I used to believe in the “fly by the seat of my pants” day, but my scattered brain had trouble focusing. I actually thought it helped my creativity, but it only hindered my focus. I decided to keep a master list and have a smaller list for smaller chunks of time. My master list was just a guide. My smaller list was made up of only the stuff I needed to get done in the next two hours. After the small list was done, I would make another list, take a break then come back and do some more work.

I felt more relaxed without trying to do three things at once. I accomplished more and felt better because I was accomplishing small chunks of tasks.

4. Allow Your Feelings to be as They Are

The more I study work happiness, the more I appreciate my feelings for what they are without wanting them to change. This internal acceptance allows us to blossom emotionally at work.

I used to be afraid of my weird sense of humor. Sometimes I push the envelope too much and talk about frog genitals. Ok, maybe not frog genitals, but something along those lines. I was holding back so I wouldn’t get my feelings hurt. I was judging myself before I even gave other people the chance to accept me.

You need to learn to let your feelings get hurt so you can be the real you at work. Once you realize that it’s ok to feel embarrassed, sad, or angry, then you will be more accepting and loving of yourself. That’s where the true work happiness begins: loving who you are and not being afraid to let it all hang out.

Believe me, you won’t be as depressed on a Monday morning when you can bust out a frog genitals joke for everyone to snicker along with. :)

5. Stop Complaining

When you complain, you are signaling to yourself that life sucks. The more that you complain, the more the suckiness magnifies.

There are many crappy parts to a Monday, but there are almost as many good parts too. I was a chronic complainer, so I put myself on a 30 day diet of No Complaining. It helped me reduce my complaining and focus more on positive thoughts.

Try to eliminate complaining for a whole Monday and see how it makes you feel. And if you do complain notice when you do and how you can substitute a positive thought or remark in its place.

6. Clean Your Desk

Your office, desk, and surrounding area is vital to your happiness. Elizabeth Scott, M.S., of About.com wrote that you need to work in a soothing space so you will feel more nurtured by your surroundings.

I recently added some phrases that energize me to my corkboard above my computer, organized my pile of papers, and put away any unnecessary books and magazines. My mood lifted and I felt more relaxed as I worked on my next blog post.

7. Help a Coworker

Too much of our own energy is spent on trying to make ourselves happy. We forget that helping others allows us to forget about our own worries, assists someone in need, and makes us feel good.

I recently had a few coworkers help me out. We had to rush out an order of letters to our customers. I thought I had to do it all by myself. They chipped in and we got it done in ¼ of the time. We all got to hang out and talk during that time too.

It made my Monday turn from a crappy day into an enjoyable one.

How About You

What do you do when you are feeling down on a Monday?

* Need a boost to your work happiness? Then check out the Happy at Work Project and start one yourself.

* Marc and Angel hack life published my article called 3 Communication Tips for Building Stronger Relationships. It’s a must read.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like this one too:

> What to do When You Hit a Creativity Wall

> How do You Know if You’ve Contacted Adultitis?

Image courtesy of Foxtongue

Comments

  1. Karl,
    Honestly, I don’t really get the Monday blues. I like to look at it as harmony. If I were only doing the fun things that make up my weekend, they too would eventually become less exciting. So, with a mix of workweek activities, and family/fun/other activities on the evening/weekend times – this becomes a good mix.

    On your list here, though – one I always do is catching up with a couple of co-workers. It’s always fun to share about what’s been going on – and a great way to start a new week (or a new day)!

    I happen to really like the free coffee at work, too – it’s a great way for me to start my Mondays!

  2. I love your CAPASCH method. It’s a great way to overcome Monday morning blues. I love how you mentioned Allowing your feelings to be as they are. Many times we have to accept that Monday mornings aren’t like Friday’s. It’s okay to be a little blue. Sometimes we just have to tell ourselves that it’s okay.

    • Hi Jarrod, I have to be honest and say that Fridays are my worst day because I’m exhausted and ready to rest. With that being said you are right. We have to accept where we are and just enjoy a lower productivity day for what it is and not what we want it to be.

  3. Hi Karl

    Oh those Mondays, I tell you when you work for yourself, generally speaking you don’t feel that big of a difference between each day, but when one has a job to go to, I think it doesn’t matter how much they love their job, a Monday is still a Monday.

    I loved my job so there was no resisting going in, I actually did so with excitement, but you know what made it bad for me, was the forced waking up. I know it might seem like a small issue to some in comparison to not liking ones job or something, but how we sleep and how we wake up does often set the tone of our mood, or even emotions. And no I was not grumpy ;) but it just didn’t feel fun.

    Most of all I love your advice from above the idea of not complaining. In the end, it is what it is. We can either complain about it and make it worse, or focus on what is going right. Hey, for some of us, perhaps just being grateful we have a job should be something to consider on a Monday morning :)

    • Hi Evita, Forced wake-ups are hard to deal with. I hear you on that one. Although there is usually something else to complain about (i.e. weather or difficult people) so it’s up to us to find the right perspective that helps us connect with the joy.

  4. “The C.A.P.A.S.C.H. Method” – I like it! Great list of tips. As for me, I don’t really get these so called “Monday Blues”. Since I work everyday, there is no time for the blues, plus you gotta love it right?!

    • Hi Alex, I love your Monday blues hack. If everyday is a workday then there are no Mondays. Brilliant. Just remember to take time every day to decompress and relax yourself. Even if you love what you do your body still needs down time.

  5. I think allowing your feelings to be as they are is a great one. Once you stop resisting,you stop energizing these negative thoughts and they fall away by themselves.

  6. If I dread Mondays, it’s a flag for me, that I’m not spending enough time in strengths and I’m not doing what I love.

  7. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord says:

    I really like the idea of “allowing.” I’m going to feel however I feel sometimes, but getting mad about it or feeling sorry for myself doesn’t help. Simply letting things be, though, is very peaceful.

    Great tips, Karl, and truly this is a tough Monday for me! (But getting better by the hour.)

  8. Hey Karl, I stumbled upon your article about using your subconscious to improve your life. I would like to thank-you for reminding me of the visualization method. Recently I have been having a hard time keeping my mood in the positive. This confused me because I’m usually the most optimistic person I know, and I didn’t understand the reason for my low. I don’t like emotional lows, no one does, and I started doing something that I used to do… Blame everything else for my problems. Bad, bad thing to do. Then today I read your subconscious article and it reminded me: Goal, Visualize, Do. Man, I almost forgot the best knowledge for life. I think I’ll follow you on Twitter if you don’t mind. Thanks again for the reminder. Goal,Visualize, Do.

    • Hi Rob, Visualization is very important. We need to see how to step back from our emotions so we gain perspective. I like to think of it as the hug, love and release method. We need to Hug it, Love it, Then let it go. This is easy to forget, but needed in our lives. I love your concept of Goal, Visualize and Do. Very straight forward and easy to use. Thanks.

  9. Hi Karl — yes, that’s when I think we create the most suffering for ourselves — when we have rigid ideas about how other people are and what they’re going to say and do when we make frog-genital jokes and the like. Letting go of those ideas, I think, can be such a liberating experience.

  10. Hi Karl,

    I wonder if part of that “blah” feeling on Monday morning is also because people get out of their usual routine on the weekends (go to sleep later, wake up later, etc)then it’s hard to readjust on Monday. Personally I don’t think two days is adequate rest after a 40 or 50 hour work week.

    Until things slid sideways, my colleagues and I used to combat the Monday blues by sharing or finding a funny story or taking a walk on our break to the nearest place that did sell a reasonably good quality dark chocolate. I suspect it was the camaraderie as much as the chocolate that helped to boost our moods and productivity after our walk.

    • Hi Sue, I definitely like to sleep longer on the weekends and I know this throws my Mondays off, but sometimes we need to be thrown off our schedule to appreciate how good we have it. Co-workers are so great at lifting our spirits. Just something special about sharing coffee, tea, or chocolate with some friends to help us feel good and connected.

  11. I think planning your day is the most important thing for just about any day of the week. I used to think that I was focused enough to wing it most of the day. I figured a general idea of what needed to be done and when would be enough. Nope! Now I plan just about everything and things get done better and faster. Thanks for the info.

    • Hi Ralph, I was the same way. I wanted to free flow my energy instead of getting to strict about my time. My lack of focus prevented me from getting serious work done. I should talk more about planning on this blog. Thanks!

  12. Hey Karl,
    Thanks for the advice. I recently started a new job which I enjoy. However, the normal new job anxiety I have always is magnified and creeps in late Sunday into Monday. I get sad thinking about the just past weekend and all the fun (and boring) things I did. I need a way to remove this sadness I always seem to get. I’m going to try your techniques now. Thanks again!

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