How To Avoid The Monday Blues: 7 Helpful Strategies.

Hi all,

I do it. You do it. We all do it. How many times do we say "oh no, tomorrow is Monday". It's normal, it's human to do so. But, what if I told you we could try to look at it from a different perspective? Today's post is all about how to avoid the Monday blues and ultimately help set yourself up for success for the day with the goal of being productive and more optimistic. So let's dive in:

Sunday Night Blues?

So it's Sunday night. Perhaps you've had a great weekend, or maybe you've had just an "okay" weekend. But you find yourself dreading the next day instead of enjoying the right now. Maybe you have homework to do, maybe big tests are coming. Or maybe, you have a presentation or are trying to finish that last minute project for that client. It's normal for thoughts to cross your mind, like: "I have so much work to get done," "I don't want to run into my ex-boyfriend at school," or "how will I do on the test"? 

The examples above are plenty of unhelpful thoughts that are, in turn, influencing your mood (i.e., you're worrying, sad, tired, etc) and actions (avoid styuding or preparing that presentation, snoozing in the a.m. ). All in turn will impact how productive, energetic, and motivated you are while you leave them unattended too. This is because thoughts, emotions, and behaviors all impact one another.  

But don't worry though: it's not too late to change the outlook of your day even if you're reading this on a Monday morning and you have already woken up on the wrong side of the bed or are mid-through the day.

Strategies to Avoid The Monday Blues

We've spoken about catching thoughts, right? This is no different. Be insightful and catch those unhelpful thoughts. Catching these thoughts is not easy and takes time to practice. Here are two exercises to help you catch them so you can do something about them.

1 - Pay attention to your emotions. Are you feeling angry? Are you feeling sad? Try to pay attention to what you were thinking right before. 
2 - If that is tough, or you can't quite pinpoint what you were feeling or thinking of right before, try this: sit down and set a timer for 60-seconds and notice all the thoughts that can cross your mind during the time. There are going to be many of them. "why am I doing this?" "Has it been 10 secs yet?" "What's that noise outside"? These are all thoughts - valid thoughts and in order to catch the unhelpful thoughts you had, we need to take a look at all of them. Practice and then you'll be much better at understanding and catching thoughts. It'll get easier with time.

Ok, so you caught the unhelpful thought. Now, what? Think to yourself how is this helping me be successful tomorrow? Is this thought at all helping me have a great Monday? Is it impeding me from doing so?  Up next, try the following tips:

A) Replace it with a thought you'd tell a friend or family member if they were telling you this was what they were thinking. Picture this: If someone comes to you saying "oh no. I have a huge presentation tomorrow and it's going to suck". What would you say? Chances are you'd spin it positively. For example: "Don't worry, everything is going to be okay and you're going to rock it".

Okay, now replace that imaginary person with yourself and tell yourself that. It's always easier to dish out advice, than receive it, right? Let this be your general go-to sentence every time you think of something negative that is interfering with your goals. The more practice you get at thinking helpful thoughts, the easier it will be for you to begin thinking those thoughts more automatically.  

B) Try rewarding yourself for practicing these exercises. You will be more likely to keep doing them. (Doing something once, won't help you master this skill- just like learning a new language-  you will need a lot of practice). Think of either rewarding yourself with positive thoughts, or maybe something more tangible in nature. Each time you catch the thought and replace it with a positive one, you save some sum of money for a fun treat.

C) Distract yourself and engage in a fun activity. Forcing yourself to engage in a fun activity will, in turn help you change your attitude in the moment at least while you're focused on the fun activity. If you're too busy going for a run, then you don't have time to think of that project or presentation tomorrow.

D) Practice preemptively and tell yourself how much you're going to rock Monday even before you have that thought. If you know that you usually have these thoughts at certain times, say in the shower the night before, then consider immediately telling yourself how much you're going to rock it while before you get in the shower, or as you're getting in. 

E) Don't leave the boring or hard tasks for Monday morning. Nobody wants to start the week with the most boring part of their job. Force yourself to do it on Friday, instead.

F) Make Monday evening more exciting. Do something fun at night so you look forward to Monday. Even order a fun lunch treat to work on Monday. Pizza Fridays? How about Bagel Mondays, instead?

G) Sleep well. Lack of sleep can greatly impact mood and productivity. Go to bed at your usual time on Sunday and ensure you get the rest you need. (More on sleep in future installments :) )

Alright, you're ready! Now have a great Monday!

Oh, and as always, thank you for reading!

Dr. C

Disclaimer: Information being provided on this page is general in nature and is not intended to replace or serve as therapy. Should you be experiencing emotional distress or difficulties at school, work, or with relationships, it is encouraged that you contact your insurance health provider to locate a mental health professional in your area. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or others at your nearest emergency room.