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Monday blues

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

'Thank God it's Monday' is not a phrase people use very often. Mondays make people feel glum. More than a third of all sick leave is taken on a Monday, suggesting that a lot of people would rather spend the day under the duvet than face work.

Emma Donaldson-Feilder, an occupational psychologist and director of Affinity Health at Work, thinks the reason people hate Mondays isn't because everyone hates their jobs, it's more to do with the "sudden shift in gear" at the end of the weekend. People simply don't want their weekend to end.

The Monday blues is a very common phenomenon, but Emma says there are some things we can do to lift our mood on the dreariest day of the week.

Surprisingly, how you feel on Monday often depends on what you do - or don't do - on the other days of the week.

Friday is your friend

By Friday afternoon you probably only have thoughts about the weekend, but don't drop everything and dash out the door, advises Emma. Leaving your desk in a good state, so it's clear where you need to pick things up from when you come back to work, can make Monday's a bit more bearable.

"Sometimes, if you've had a couple of days off it's hard to remember what it is that you've done and what you need to do next," says Emma. "Leaving yourself a note or making it absolutely clear where you've got to in particular tasks or parts of the job can be really helpful. That way, picking up from where you left off isn't too stressful."

Have proper recovery time

You may feel more productive if you deal with a few emails in the dead time on the weekends, but you're also likely to be making yourself more anxious.

"The always-on communication nowadays is definitely making it more difficult to have proper recovery time," says Emma. "Research suggests that it's important to have a period where you really do switch off. Although we think we're making ourselves more efficient by handling some emails over the weekend, actually we are less rested when it comes to Monday morning.

"It's better to have a proper recovery time and then get back into work and be really effective on the Monday morning," she adds.

The importance of zzz

How good you feel on Monday can depend on how rested you are.

Sleep is enormously important for our psychological wellbeing, says Emma. If you've had a good night's sleep on Sunday, you are more likely to be able to suffer the slings and arrows of Monday.

"More and more research is showing how detrimental lack of sleep is on how we function," says Emma. "For example, research has shown that our decision making ability deteriorates when we're tired.

"Getting a good night's sleep on a Sunday night and being well rested by Monday morning is going to make work much easier to handle," she adds.

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