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13 Ways to Beat the Monday Blues

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Feeling blue today? It’s not uncommon—the start of the workweek can bring on a serious case of sadness. (Sometimes an episode of The Bachelor or even March Madness isn’t enough to battle the Monday-morning gloom.) Luckily we've got some tips to help turn Monday's into the best day of the week.

Monday Madness—The Need-to-Know

In one study, scientists found people show biological signs of stress when they start anticipating the workday [1] [2]. And expect some rants under 140 characters when the weekend’s over (Damn you long line at Starbucks!): Based on a study of Twitter messages, researchers think people are most likely to feel feel the #blues on Monday and Tuesday. Other researchers say most workers don’t smile until about 11:16 am on Mondays.

But it can go beyond hating the alarm clock. A study in Japan found suicide rates were highest on Mondays [3]. And in some people, Monday-morning depression may even trigger cardiovascular problems [4]. But Monday’s don’t have to bring us down in the dumps.

Happy Days—Your Action Plan

Stop scowling! Follow these 13 simple steps to beat the blues and greet the new week like it’s Friday night.

1. Don’t live for the weekends. Studies show people who are stressed at work tend to be much happier on the weekend. So don’t only look forward to Saturday and Sunday; try to spread out the joy and plan something fun during the week, like a movie night with pals.

2. Relaaax. Pick either Friday or Saturday night to go out, and spend another evening staying home with friends. (Game night, anyone?!) Too much time out and about may lead to less sleep and pesky hangovers.

3. Don’t sleep in. Who can resist sleeping till noon? But instead of waking up just in time for lunch, try sticking to the same sleep schedule all week to feel rested and energized all week long.

 4. Plan ahead Sunday night. Lay out the Monday morning outfit and pack a good lunch the night before—eliminating any stress in the A.M. will only make Monday’s more tolerable. And remember to re-set the alarm in order to wake up on time and avoid being late for work.

5. Hit the hay early on Sunday. Make sure to get seven to nine hours of sleep to gear up for the workweek. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour will make the alarm clock our new friend.

6. Don’t skip breakfast. Boost metabolism and jump-start the day with a hearty breakfast [5]. (Morning hunger crankiness is the last thing anyone needs at the office.)

7. Get pumped with some tunes. While getting ready for work, turn up the stereo (or Pandora). Listening to music can boost mood and get us pumped for work. This song does wonders.

8. Hit the (early-bird) gym. It’s no secret that exercise amps up endorphin levels, so try getting in early morning exercise to start the day off right [6]. Crunched for time? Try this four-minute workout.

9. Look snazzy. New dress, new day. Save that latest fun purchase for Monday morning, or even wear red to feel more confident when headed to the office [7].

10. Smile! Smile in the shower, flash a grin to the barista, and show those pearly whites to the whole office. Some contagious smiles could help make us feel a lot better [8].

11. Treat yo’ self. Make Monday rewarding: Indulge in a piece of chocolate, do some online shopping during lunch-hour, or even have sex (just don’t do it in the office).

12. Take small breaks throughout the day. Don’t stay glued to the cubicle all day. Take a walk to get some fresh air, avoid eating lunch at the desk, or if possible, hit the gym for a quick workout.

13. Figure out why Monday’s are blue. If dreading Mondays no matter what, then it may be time to switch careers. And luckily enough, we’re hiring!

What's your favorite way to cheer up on Monday? Tell us in the comments below!

I'm the marketing director at Greatist, and when I'm not hanging at HQ with my best buds (aka co-workers...) you can find me training for... Read More »

Works Cited

  1. Differences in cortisol awakening response on work days and weekends in women and men from the Whitehall II cohort. Kunz-Ebrecht, S.R., Kirschbaum, C., Marmot, M., et al. University College London, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, London, UK. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2004 May;29(4):516-28
  2. Depression and cortisol responses to psychological stress: a meta-analysis. Burke, H.M., Davis, M.C., Otte, C., et al. Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, CA. 2005 Oct;30(9):846-56.
  3. Blue Monday phenomenon among men: suicide deaths in Japan. Ohtsu, T., Kokaze, A., Osaki, Y., et al. Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Showa University, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Acta Medica Okayama, 2009 Oct;63(5):231-6.
  4. Depressive mood is independently related to stroke and cardiovascular events in a community. Yamanaka, G., Otsuka, K., Hotta, N., et al. Department of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 2005 Oct;59 Suppl 1:S31-9.
  5. Skipping breakfast is associated with diet quality and metabolic syndrome risk factors of adults. Chanyang, M. Hwayoung, N., Yun-Sook, K., et al. Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. Nutrition Research and Practice, 2011 October; 5(5): 455–463.
  6. Beta-endorphin response to exercise. An update. Goldfarb, A.H., Jamurtas, A.Z. Exercise and Sport Science Department, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, North Carolina. Sports Medicine, 1997 Jul;24(1):8-16.
  7. Psychology: red enhances human performance in contests. Hill, R.A. and Barton, R.A. Evolutionary Anthropology Research Group, University of Durham, Durham, UK. Nature 2005;435(7040):293.
  8. Why are smiles contagious? An fMRI study of the interaction between perception of facial affect and facial movements. Wild, B., Erb, M., Eyb, M. Department of Neuroradiology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany. Psychiatric Research, 2003 May 1;123(1):17-36.