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Beating The Monday Blues

21 Jan 2019

Eileen Moloney

So just how do you defeat the January blues? Brightwater's Eileen Moloney outlines to 4 steps to turn that frown upside down!

Today is officially “Blue Monday” – the so-called most depressing day of the year which usually occurs on the 3rd Monday in January. The factors that supposedly combine to make today “Blue Monday” are the weather, our debt level, the amount of time since Christmas, the amount of time stretching to the next payday and low motivational levels. It was originally conceived by a PR / advertising agency when asked to figure out the best day to book a holiday so that they could target audiences with adverts but it now has become a cultural phenomenon.  However if you’re really taking this Blue Monday to heart, then maybe it’s a warning sign that things are not quite right in work.

If you love your job and you’re passionate about what you’re doing, going in to work on a Monday shouldn’t be something that has to be simply endured. If you’re feeling under-appreciated or under-valued, it can be really difficult to start another week, particularly in a month where everyone is feeling slightly deflated after Christmas and your next payday seems an eternity away. We know from both countless studies and from anecdotal evidence that your emotional state does have a huge effect on the quality of your work. When you’re feeling depressed or “blue”, you’re naturally going to feel less motivated, less engaged, more pessimistic and less inclined to take on more projects / work. So just how do you defeat the January blues?

1. Identify the source of your unhappiness
Take an objective look at the main reason for being unhappy in your work. If it’s the actual role, then that’s something you can easily change. Either it’s the role in that particular company or it is certain aspects of the role that you actively dislike. If it is the former, then you need to assess whether it’s the company or the actual role that is the problem. You can always get another job but if it’s the actual role, then you need to consider another type of job. This would possibly involve new training, a step down in order to go in another direction and the possibility of a salary drop while you decide what you want. If it’s the company itself that is causing you unhappiness, then you need to seriously consider moving employers if you can’t get any reassurance from HR / your line manager that things will change. Talk to specialist recruiters to see what’s available in your field. Working environments and even similar roles are completely different in other companies.

If it’s the latter and it’s only certain aspects of the role that are causing such upset, then list the reasons why. It could be simply the amount of work that’s the issue. If that’s the case, then talk to your manager / director about the workload and what can be done to reprioritise or share out the responsibilities. If you’re struggling, then you need to ask for help. You may just be doing TOO good a job that no-one knows that you’re having problems. Having a chat with your manager could be a massive help and you’ll soon find that you’re excited about your role again.

2. Do your “to do” list for Monday on Friday
Sometimes it’s the mere thought rather than the actual task itself that proves daunting. Once you break all the things you have to do down into manageable chunks, it’s much easier to face the day and complete your list of tasks. Mondays can be stressful enough without having to remember all the things from the week before or you spending your weekend worrying about them. That, in turn, means that you’re stressing during the two days you’re meant to be relaxing and recharging your batteries.

If you can’t get the bulk of the work done by Friday afternoon, take a few minutes to make a list of your tasks for Monday in order of priorities. Make sure your desk is clear apart from your list so that you’re not faced with a mountain of paperwork or you’ll be tempted to procrastinate about cleaning your desk rather than getting on with things. On Monday, you can then jump straight into it.

3. Attitude
Don’t subscribe to the Monday morning blues in the first place. Or at least try not to! A positive attitude goes a long way with both yourself and colleagues. It’s so easy to sink down into negativity if everyone around you is grumpy. So play upbeat songs on the way into the office, get yourself a coffee / tea on the way in and give yourself enough time to have a quick chat with colleagues and catch up on each other’s news before you dive into work. Try and have something organised for after work mid-week eg. meeting friends, taking part in a class or going to the cinema, just so you have something to look forward to and that the stretch from Monday to the weekend doesn’t seem that long.

4. Be kind to yourself
De-stressing at the weekend does help a lot with combatting the Monday blues. However a positive attitude also goes a long way so make sure you have enough of a work-life balance and switch off when you’re not at work. Whether it’s exercise or enjoying time with friends or family, time away from the office means a far more productive you and you’ll be able to take on the world!

If you really do feel that Mondays at work are unbearable, talk to the Brightwater team about moving jobs on 01 662 1000