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The Monday Workday Blues: Stress, Too Much Weekend Fun Or Something More?


Many have had it: that feeling of dread at the thought of returning to work on Monday. A behavioral science counselor says there’s more to the "Monday workplace blues" than you might think.

Jacqueline Juarez is a behavioral health counselor with Parkland Health and Hospital System.

Interview Highlights: 

Does the workday blues really exist? “Yes. There’s not a psychological term for it. We do have some anecdotal terms like “case of the Mondays,” “Monday workday blues” or “the post-vacation hangover.” But it’s a very real phenomenon — more of a reaction to some of the things that are going on in a person’s life or perhaps some of the stressors that they know they’re returning to. Maybe people at work or some uncomfortable work environment.”

Or maybe how we disrupt out lives and cycles over the weekend? "I think that sometimes if we are living a very stressed out work week and on Friday we just unload that stress and maybe we eat really poorly the entire weekend, drink a lot of alcohol and don’t get enough sleep, but the time we get to Sunday, we’re tapped out and now we have to get back to work, get up early, get back in that routine again. We’re really setting ourselves up for failure. So if we should kind of curb that and strike a balance and get a little bit more prepared for work on Monday."

Tips for handling workday blues: 'Sometimes it’s the way we approach it in our minds, so it’s how we think about it. Positive thinking is really important. If we do have a job that we cannot just leave at this time, but start kind of fantasizing, put that fantasy into possible action. Maybe looking at your resume and saying ‘Hey, what have I done that I enjoyed? What am I doing now? What do I like? What do I dislike?’ Finding the positive aspects of your work."

What about sleep regulation – maintaining consistent sleep patterns? “Right. Maybe most Americans don’t get restful sleep. So if they’re bringing work home and working long hours into the night, and then get to bed late. Or, if you have a baby at home that interrupts the sleep. Or, say, you’re a night owl and you want to stay up late and catch that new show you’re watching, you just can’t see to get to bed. But keeping a sleep routine is very important.”

When to get really concerned about workday blues? “If it’s getting in the way of your functioning. Calling in to work, you just can’t seem to get out of bed. You’re habitually late. If the thought of going to work makes you physically ill. When psychological stress begins to manifest itself into physical ailments. That’s a huge red flag.   Excessive drinking. Staying up to the point you’re losing so much sleep it’s getting in the way of your overall functioning, looking like, maybe, clinical depression or generalized anxiety, that’s when you have to take a harder look at it.”

For more information:

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.