Monday Blues

The dreaded Monday morning. We’ve all experienced it. Feelings of apprehension. Tiredness as the weekend begins to wind down. Lack of motivation. No enthusiasm. Worst of all thoughts of the 6am alarm.

If you suffered from any of the above symptoms you’ve been tested positive for the Monday blues! Nothing to worry about, no cases of death due to Monday blues have been reported (yet) and it’s a pretty common diagnosis. You aren’t alone as the dreaded Monday blues and proven to strike the whole world. In fact, there is a common trend in studies which have shown that there is an increasing trend of people calling in sick on Mondays. In the UK, companies get double the amount of sick calls on a Monday in comparison to Friday sickies. In today’s post will be covering a few of those essential questions: why we get Monday blues, when we get them, the consequences of the blues and most importantly how we can tackle them.

Why we get Monday blues?

Just to preface, the reason we hate Monday can vary from person to person. We’re all our own individuals but there have been a few common reasons which pop up. The biggest reason that has come up is the modifications in our sleeping patterns. Many of us enjoy a late start on Saturday and Sunday. This change in our sleeping pattern can throw off our body’s internal clock off balance for Monday morning, as our brains have not got an internalised calendar identifying the day of the week.

Interestingly enough, there have been studies which have recorded emotions of people at random intervals. These trials found that levels of stress on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were equal. Thus, telling us that we hate the 4 working days equally, yet Monday blues are exclusive to the first day of that week. This is as the Monday blues usually crop up following the sudden change from weekend to weekdays and almost like a temperamental toddler our brains aren’t happy about that new early morning, hence throwing a Monday blues tantrum. By the time we reach Tuesday, our bodies are better adjusted to the change and it’s easier to tolerate the early mornings.

Note how I’ve not mentioned Friday…this is as the excitement of the week ending usually means we go through the day on a happier note (I know I do).

When do we experience Monday blues?

Sound like a pretty self-explanatory answer? Surely Monday blues occur on Monday? Short answer is yes, they do, but it doesn’t stop there. We can feel the same sensations of feeling low and lethargic on other occasions such as:

            •           Coming back from holiday

            •           After a long weekend

            •           When we’ve been out with friends or family the night before

            •           When your Monday to-do list seems overwhelming

What are the consequences of Monday blues?

Earlier we touched on how on Monday there are twice as many sick calls than Friday. Although, I cannot account for all the reasons someone might call in sick on a Monday – it has been seen to be linked with overwhelming Monday blues. The effects of feeling low and down are adverse as they can influence your work, those around you, service users and more importantly your wellbeing.

At CCW, we appreciate you all do a wonderful job looking after our service users. However, it is key to note we also must take care of ourselves. Our mood, emotions and wellbeing can seed itself into our work especially within the care sector. A key question we need to ask ourselves when providing care (as required by the CQC) is: Does the service user receive personalised care which is responsive to their needs? Low mood can manifest into our work life and by not working on our wellbeing, sometimes we could fail to fulfil our duties of care by not coming into work. Mondays can be really hard, and the best way to tackle them can be to run through them instead of running away. We know deep down we’re able, it’s just our anxious minds convincing us otherwise. As well as noticing the blues in ourselves, it is essential we use this information to stay aware of our colleagues and service user’s wellbeing.

Our service users can often feel alone, as many have loved ones who have passed or live a while away. Therefore, the beginning of a week can be very daunting. It is essential we look for changes in their moods, behaviours and simply how they have been. If you do become concerned please feel free to contact the Mental Health Wellbeing advisor, my details will be listed below, to voice any concerns and see what we can do together.

A little closer to home, at CCW we are a tight knit family of colleagues. Again, when working double calls if we see that certain team members may be a little withdrawn or down in the dumps per say – feel confident enough to open conversation. Sometimes all we need is a small and quick chat, to shrug off those beginning of the week blues.

How can we tackle Monday blues?  

            •           Find the Source of Stress

Try identifying the source of your anxiety and dread of Monday morning. This can come a variety of things: over-scheduling, burnout, the school rush and even just an unpleasant colleague. Through identifying the common roots of your Monday blues, you are one step closer to finding a resolution to reduce your low mood and anxiety. This can be tackled through helpful ways such as writing down your worries and identifying common themes or getting to talk it out with a friend or colleague.

            •           Keep nothing pending for Monday

Monday morning is difficult as it is. Try avoiding piling up your Monday with previous week’s tasks. I would suggest, if possible, delegate some of your more mentally taxing tasks for Tuesday and Wednesday instead. The best way to tackle this is to enter Monday prepared, through ensuring you are equipped for you care calls for the day. This will help avoid any unto stress, panic and feed into those blues. It is proven that starting the week on the best possible note can be echoed into the rest of our weeks.

            •           Have a positive mindset

Attitude is everything on a Monday morning. When we are looking to fight those blues, a great attitude is a battle half won. It’s easier said than done but trying to adopt a rose-tinted view on the week ahead and contribute to motivation to complete that first day of the week.  Remember that as a Carer, your service may also be suffering the same Monday blues as yourself.  Talk about it together and maybe comfort one another by talking about it.

            •           Prioritise sleep

We all know not feeling well rested can have a huge impact on how we feel getting up Monday morning. We previously discussed one major reason for the Monday blues is a sudden change in your sleeping pattern. It is suggested to try keep your sleep and wake cycle close to what is it during the week, to avoid disturbance to your internal clock. Make sure you’re still winding down on your day off but try to avoid going to bed more than an hour or two than you would during the working week.  We at CCW do work a minimum of alternate weekends therefore keep a routine when you have those weekdays off.

            •           Know when it is more than just blues

If you feel that the Monday blues start creeping into the rest of the week, you might be suffering with low mood or depression. Clinical depression can be characterised by the persistent depressed low mood or a loss of interest in activities which can lead to significant impairment in everyday life. So, if you find yourself trying to tackle those blues consistently during the week, whether this is at work or in your personal life. Recognise the changes in yourself and consider that it may be time to seek further help.

If you do find yourself worried about your mental health or recognise a change in those closer to you, I have listed a few helpful services and online resources to help you take care of your mental health:

Services:

•           Contact Wellbeing Advisor: wellbeing@communitycareworker.com

            •           For additional and extra resources

            •           Available to have a chat

            •           Available to discuss further information and signpost services

•           Contact Staffordshire and Stoke Wellbeing Service (IAPT): http://www.staffsandstokewellbeing.nhs.uk

            •           Improving access to psychological therapies service

            •           Delivers evidence-based psychological therapies for common mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety

            •           Can self-refer

Resources:

•           How to… guides Short, evidence-based guides on Sleep, Exercise, Mindfulness, Exercise, Stress Management, Later Life, and Anxiety http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/howto

•           Be Mindful Online , Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy/Stress Reduction course http://www.bemindfulonline.com

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