“How was your weekend? Did you do something nice? Pity we have to come to work! I can’t wait for Friday.” While the start of the working week can seem tough, there is a way to get over the Mondayitis-blues. It can be easy when you know how.
For many of us, getting back to work after a relaxing weekend with family or friends can seem an unappealing grind – especially when it involves making the daily commute on public transport or driving in peak-hour traffic. While “Mondayitis” is often the butt of jokes because of its links to laziness and taking ‘sickies’, never-the-less there are many people who have valid reasons for dreading the start of the working week. For them feelings of weariness, sadness, apathy and general distress are not a joke.
Holding down a job is serious stuff. Most of us are responsible for earning a wage to put a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs. This responsibility is multiplied if you have a family to care for. So if you have a high-pressure occupation, or there’s no job satisfaction, or the work is demanding and stressful, gearing thought up to tackle five to six days of employment can be demanding.
I know how that feels. Each Monday I’m confronted with a work schedule that feels overwhelming. My inbox is filled with e-mails calling out for attention. Fresh phone calls and text messages come in. I have a writing schedule to maintain and social media to follow-up on. Then there’s a hundred and one other administrative details to deal with. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in my five workdays. And then there’s the depressing elephant-in-the-room question: “will I get through all that I need to do in that week?”
Wondering if you’ll be able to complete the required work essential in your job, is often linked to a fear of failure. This can result in feelings of pressure or stress. According to Dr Roberta Lee, “Stress is both a physiological and a psychological response to events that upset our balance. Stress is what happens when the demands and daily challenges of the outside world are greater than our ability to cope with them.”
In dealing with stress that flows from the fear of not fulfilling our ‘to do list’ at work, Dr. Lee points to the research of Harold Koenig, M.D.. Koenig is Director of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health. His primary research is focused on studying the effects of religion and spirituality on health. Koenig’s work has revealed that people who are more religious tend to become depressed less often. When they do become depressed, they recover more quickly.
Perhaps this is a key to handling the fear that surges up on a Monday when a worker faces the week ahead. At least this has been a key that I’ve used to open the door for tackling my workload with a sense of serenity and fearlessness.
A favourite sacred poem and song that’s known by many people, is called Psalm 23. In it, the author writes reassuringly of a divine Love that tenderly cares for us – in the same way a shepherd looks after his little flock. Here’s a few lines of it. “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honour to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
The thought of a comforting Presence that calms our fears and guides our thinking, has certainly brought peace to many people struggling with workday fear and stress – me included. It’s enabled workers to calm thought down, stay positive, to focus on one day at a time and not worry about whether the work will get done. It’s also helped them to remember that they are capable of completing jobs in a timely manner – that they have the necessary skill, intelligence and ability.
I can honestly say that by taking this approach, I’ve completed what I’ve needed to do each week. This has definitely changed my attitude to starting the working week. Who knows, maybe this method of thinking will finally end the Monday-blues forever, and bring order and peace to the workplace.
This article was translated into Japanese and appeared on A Healthy Asia - a blog site promoting healthy ideas.