I’ll be one of the first to admit it: I’ve got a mean case of the Mondays.
Monday is dreaded across the world as the start of a new week of hard work and more stress. The relaxation of the weekend gives way to deadlines, traffic, homework, phone calls, meetings, and panic. While I usually try to think particularly positively on Mondays, I began to wonder: is there some psychological preset that makes this the most dreaded day of the week for, well, nearly everyone?
Several studies published in recent years have attempted to figure out just that. A 2011 report in Britain’s The Telegraph found that most people don’t crack their first smile before 11:16 a.m. on Mondays. That means around 2-5 hours spent in a state of frowning. Another study found that workers only accomplish approximately three-and-a-half hours of productive work on a monday, or 44% of your average work day.
Scientists have looked into the reason behind the moroseness and lack of productivity. The first issue found that human workers, being naturally social creatures, often use Monday to catch up with their colleagues and discuss what has occurred over the weekend. This means less time at the desk, and more time at the water cooler.
Secondly, researchers have found that most of Monday is spent trying to re-order your body’s natural rhythm after sleeping irregularly over the weekend. Many students will use the weekend as a time to blow off steam, staying up late and sleeping through the day. Having to return to the school-week rhythm of sleep can be jarring to the body, which effects you emotionally and physically.
There’s also a heavy feeling of guilt for many people at the start of the new week. Some have spent the weekend indulging in junk food and neglecting workouts; others have skipped all the homework that needed to be done in favor of binge watching Game of Thrones. Whatever the vice, Monday tends to be the day that these poor decisions come back to haunt you, making the day seem even more of a trial. This feeling of failure can affect you in many ways. In a recent study, 46% of American women reported they least liked looking at themselves in the mirror on Monday. The probable cause? Guilt about how you’ve spent the weekend, coupled with the Monday rush to get ready.
All of these studies show two things explicitly: you’re not crazy for hating Mondays, and you’re not alone.
The question remains: how do you pull yourself out of the Monday funk? Many experts suggesting placing a treat at the end of the day that you can look forward to, pulling you through the mid-day slump. Promise yourself two episodes of Breaking Bad that night, or set a date to go for an ice cream break with friends. Take a walk around campus after a stressful day, or add a bubble bath to your nightly routine. Simple incentives can make a big difference in how you feel about your day.
I think I’ll end the day with a piece of dark chocolate, a good book, and a little congratulations that I survived and conquered another manic Monday.