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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” isn’t enough to battle the Monday-morning gloom… this is almost never the answer.)

If you’re no fan of Mondays, the chances are that it’s not the day itself you dislike — it’s what you have to do upon waking up. That may well be work. Your pangs of dread are about the task at hand, so make that a smaller part of your day.

Every day should be about you crushing it and making other people feel good, and that shouldn’t change for any day.

So fear not. And certainly don’t hit that snooze button. We’ve got some tips to help turn Mondays into the best day of the week.

Don’t get us wrong, we’ve had some crappy Mondays. But researchers have also found that Monday blues is a very real thing.Areni C, et al. (2011). Factors affecting the extent of Monday blues: Evidence from a meta-analysis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22420107/

And expect some rants under 280 characters when the weekend’s over (Damn you long line for lattes!).

Based on a study of Twitter messages, researchers think people are most likely to feel feel the #blues on Monday and Tuesday.Dodd PS. (2011). Temporal patterns of happiness and information in a global social network: Hedonometrics and Twitter. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0026752

But it can go beyond hating the alarm clock. A study in Japan found suicide rates were highest on Mondays.Ohtsu T, et al. (2009). Blue Monday phenomenon among men: Suicide deaths in Japan. http://www.lib.okayama-u.ac.jp/www/acta/pdf/63_5_231.pdf

And in some people, Monday-morning depression may even trigger cardiovascular problems.Yamanaka G. (2010). Depressive mood is independently related to stroke and cardiovascular events in a community. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821202/

But do we really have dislike Mondays to this extent? Are we just stuck holding a grudge against 1 day in every 7? Or is there something we can do to take the morose out of Mondays?

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.Diener E, et al. (2011). Happy people live longer: Subjective well‐being contributes to health and longevity. https://iaap-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01045.x

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.

There’s 7 days in that there week — make them all count. In fact, why not book that movie night for Monday itself? Even if it’s just an arrangement to play online games with a friend or catch up for a coffee, it’s a light at the end of a traditionally grim weekday.

2. Treat Sunday as a day of rest

While mid-week social time is all well and good, a balanced life is the best way to see Monday as, well, just another day, rather than a weekly harbinger of bullsh*t.

Pick either Friday or Saturday night to go out, and spend another evening staying home with friends. (Game night, anyone?!)

Then, take some time for yourself — whether it’s getting yourself pampered, whipping yourself up a special meal, or getting a workout in, time taken for yourself is going to balance out those feelings about giving your Monday to an employer.

Also, it goes without saying, too much time out and about may lead to less sleep and pesky hangovers. And if you think Monday sucks on a full night of sleep and a clear head, imagine it with a hangover.

Yeah, thought so.

3. Don’t sleep in

Who can resist sleeping till noon on your days off? However, that might be best avoided if you don’t want to hate Mondays with a passion that rivals Garfield.

Sticking to the same sleep schedule can help you adjust to the shift back to work days from your carefree weekend.

Plus, keeping a regular sleep schedule all week can help you feel rested and energized, and doing so is great for your mood in general, according to research.Kang JH, et al. (2009). Effects of an irregular bedtime schedule on sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and fatigue among university students in Taiwan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2718885/

Besides, if you’re also waking up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday or Sunday, how much is doing so on Monday going to hurt?

Alright, still a little bit, but it’s way less of a leap than jumping to your work routine from, say, an 11 a.m. wakey-wakey weekend time. That alone will make Mondays way less of a slog.

4. Plan ahead Sunday night

Lay out the Monday morning outfit (more on this later) and pack a good lunch the night before — eliminating any stress in the a.m. will only make Mondays more tolerable.

This might even help you get (whisper it) a little bit excited about the week ahead.

And remember to reset the alarm so that you wake up on time and avoid being late for work. These days you can set alarms to just weekdays and have them blissfully ignore the weekend.

5. Hit the hay early on Sunday…

Make sure to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep to gear up for the workweek. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour will make the alarm clock your new best friend.

The same reason you shouldn’t really be out drinking until 4 a.m. — feeling groggy and sleep-deprived on a Monday isn’t going to clear your inbox or get you through your annual review. (Seriously, who set that up for a Monday?)

Resist the temptation, and be ready to handle whatever Monday throws at you. Get enough sleep.

6. And wake up early on Monday

This seems counterproductive to general happiness (“What? Wake up early? Why would I do that?”) but hear us out. Waking up before you usually do on a Monday means you can have some “you” time before your shift.

Boost metabolism and jump-start the day with a hearty breakfast.Chanyang M, et al. (2011). Skipping breakfast is associated with diet quality and metabolic syndrome risk factors of adults. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3221832/?tool=pubmed

(Morning hunger crankiness is the last thing anyone needs at the office.)

7. Generate good vibes — through music and otherwise

While getting ready for work, turn up the stereo (or your friendly local neighborhood music streaming service).

People listen to music toboost their mood — according to research, it’s one of the three main reasons people lock into a bangin’ tune (alongside self-awareness and relating to others socially, which could also contribute to a happier Monday). Schäfer T, et al. (2013). The psychological functions of music listening. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00511

So when you’re getting ready for work or commuting (or, in 2020, walking across the room, making breakfast, and waiting to switch your laptop on), blast tunes that make you happy.

(That’s tunes that make you happy, not tunes you like. There may well be a difference. You want to be in a very specific headspace for the start of the week.)

This song works wonders.

Pro tip: Spread positivity to smash Mondays

We know positivity can be hard to nurture while you’re still rubbing Sunday’s sleep boogers from your eyes, but give it a go.

Be almost a parody of cheerfulness as you go through your morning routine. Get into small talk with the bus driver, shop attendants, colleagues at the photocopier (or on Zoom).

If you’re a WFH-head, go to the store before work and strike up friendly conversation with your shop attendants.

Building yourself some social momentum before getting into the groove of your Monday. It’ll help.

8. Hit the (early-bird) gym

While, yes, it sounds like hard work first thing on a Monday, getting a run or workout in could be just the ticket for helping you burst through those Monday blues like the Kool-Aid Man.

It’s no secret that exercise amps up endorphin levels, so try getting in early morning exercise to start the day off the right way.Anderson E, et al. (2013). Effects of exercise and physical activity on anxiety. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/

And even if lifting a few dumbbells doesn’t automatically mean that your boss will get off your ass or those emails just respond to themselves, working up a sweat before that Monday marathon means that you’ve already achieved something before you even set foot in the door.

That’s bound to provide a buzz.

9. Look snazzy

New dress, new day.

Save that latest fun purchase for Monday morning. Some studies recommend wearing red to feel more confident when headed to the office.Hill RA, et al. (2005). Psychology: red enhances human performance in contests. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15902246

Whatever color your wear, dressing to impress means you can be one of those people setting the energy in the office, ready to succeed and inspire others.

Treat Monday as an event — and dress the part.

10. Smile!

Smile in the shower, flash a grin to the barista, and show those pearly whites to the whole office.

Contagious smiles could help make you feel a lot better — and others in the office too (you’re not the only person who hates Mondays. A 2019 study found that happy faces motivate approachability and warmth a lot more than disgusted faces keep people at bay.Nikitin J, et al. (2019). The motivational power of the happy face. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356968/

If you’re the one in the office dishing out smiles on a Monday, plenty of positivity is going to head back your way. And that can help you make the first day of your work week not so bad after all.

You can improve the start to your week just by putting on a happy face. Here’s a great place to start.

11. Treat yo’ self

Make Monday rewarding: Indulge in a piece of chocolate, do some online shopping during lunch-hour, or even have sex (not in the office, obviously).

Allowing yourself a concession once in a while means that your job no longer seems like a pointless treadmill of trudging through 8-hour days to pay rent.

Getting those new kicks you were after can serve as a reminder that it’s for something, and it allows you to have nice things once in a while.

Pro tip: Take stock of what’s good

While you’re treating yo’ self, don’t forget to look at your situation and make a list of what you’re grateful for — especially related to work.

Not every job sucks 100 percent. Even if it’s 70 percent terrible, that’s still 30 percent of your day you can justify going through.

Whether it’s your colleagues, your pay, or the simple fact you’re grateful for employment in the first place, physically write down a list of the things you appreciate (not necessary love) about your job.

Make this the first thing you do when you wake up on that dreaded Monday.

12. Take small breaks throughout the day

Don’t stay glued to the desk chair all day. Take a walk to get some fresh air, head out to eat lunch (even if that’s just a PB&J sandwich in the park), or if possible, hit the gym for a quick workout.

A 2019 study of apartment janitors found that regular breaks at work not only reduce fatigue and the stress of the job, but also reduce the risk of heart problems further down the line.Park S, et al. (2019). The effects of workplace rest breaks on health problems related to long working hours and shift work among male apartment janitors in Korea. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6933219/

There’s a temptation and pressure to work through lunch to hit deadlines. Don’t. There’s laws in place to make sure you get your official lunch break. But, also, get up and walk around every hour. Grab yourself a coffee. Stretch your legs.

Avoid letting the screen eat you.

13. Take it easy with the workload

You may work in, say, a call center or retail outlet. In those cases, it’s a little harder to control what comes your way in terms of sh*t you have to get done.

However, if you’ve any control over your workload, go for some low-hanging fruit once Monday beckons. If you’re not a fan of starting the week, start the week light.

For example, if you work in sales, postpone the heavy cold-calls and instead knuckle down to some less intensive admin. No one’s suggesting you should slack, but there are hard and easy parts of every job.

The hard parts can be for days that aren’t Monday. It can be challenging enough in its own right.

14. Figure out why your Mondays are blue

If you’re dreading Mondays no matter what, then it may be time to make some changes.

That might be easier said than done — the job of changing your career becomes harder due to the shackles of modern life, rent, responsibilities, subscriptions, and not to mention a job market that becomes harder and harder to penetrate.

However, on the flipside, if it’s just a few things about your job that give you the Monday blues, you may have an improved time at work if you request a move away from a problematic colleague or extra tasks if you’re feeling that your job isn’t enough of a challenge.

Perhaps there’s a Monday morning meeting that grinds your gears — see if it actually needs to happen on Monday or whether it can move later in the week.

Step up and have conversations with the people who make decisions where you work — you might find the changes kick those blues to the curb.

If you really, really can’t stand your job, however, to the point that Mondays fill you with dread and reluctance, you should know that you deserve to be happy. Find a career that fills you up.

15. Find ways to enjoy yourself

Unless you’re a one-person operation, you’ve got colleagues you can enjoy your time with. That’s going to make Monday a breeze, so long as you allow yourself to engage with them and have real fun.

Of course, some offices run an extremely strict policy on water-cooler chat, and if so, that’s not a healthy environment for you. Whether it’s in the people or the actual stuff you do, find certified ways to have fun.

That could be taking a break with a colleague to grab a coffee or bringing in a pack of cards or board game for your lunch break. It could be as simple as hanging out in your rec room, drawing whoever enters the area right into your conversation.

Let’s put it another way: How many other options do you have? You can wallow in the misery of the Monday, or you can make it fun. We know where we stand. Pick a side.

Mondays aren’t the enemy, here. It’s not what you want to hear, but it’s also true — if you dread Monday, it’s not going to be too long before you dread every day of the week.

And that’s no way to live out a week.

Take steps to make your day more positive. It’s small changes everyday that make the big difference. Loving Mondays is the same as loving any day — apply enough basic self-care to get you through until it’s less of a chore.