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Stress and Depression, Those Monday Mornings

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

These are just six of many mantras that can be used cope with the Monday morning blues. The blues can occur on any morning of the week:

“Right now is the only guaranteed moment in my life. I will make the best of it.”

“I will do something today that makes me happy.”

“Today is a new beginning – a chance for me to live.”

“I can only do the best I can do.”

“Everything I do is by choice.  There is always another option.”

“I will slow down and become conscious of life’s simple pleasures.”


Monday morning is a highly stressful day for many people. It is the time when people return to work or school after the weekend. If the weekend was long, such as a three day weekend because of a holiday, it can be more stressful than the average end to the weekend.  If returning to work occurs after a vacation, the level of stress can be the most stressful of all. If either work or school is unpleasant or, worse, hated, getting up to go to start the day can be extremely difficult. Even those people who like their job or school can find starting the week a jarring experience. If you fall into the category of people who experiences this stress and depression on Monday morning you are not alone.

According to Dr. Chauncey Crandall, MD, writing for the website “Newsmax Health, A study at Tokyo Women’s Medical University fitted 175 men and women with a device that would measure their blood pressure around the clock for a week. The results were surprising: The highest blood pressure readings came from those who were getting ready for work on Monday morning. Those who stayed asleep on Monday morning because they did not have to go to work did not experience the same surge.

According to Dr. Crandall, other studies have shown that there are 20 percent more heart attacks on Mondays than any other day. Researchers suspect that the early morning rise in blood pressure that is part of the body’s natural 24-hour rhythm is to blame.

Another factor is that blood platelets are “stickier” in the morning hours. Also, the adrenal glands release more adrenaline to get the body moving in the morning. The additional adrenaline can lead to the rupture of plaque buildup in the arteries caused by cholesterol.

Dr. Crandall adds that, when you combine these physical changes “with switching from leisure to work mode — and throw in the stress of a morning commute — and someone who has heart disease can be tipped over the edge to a heart attack.” In fact, studies show that there are twenty percent more heart attacks on Mondays than any other day, as reported by Crandall.

What are some of the things people can do to reduce stress on Monday morning?

1. What I found helpful everyday of the week was to go to work early, get a cup of coffee and the newspaper and go to the office so I could read peacefully while adjusting to being in the work environment. If you don’t have an office, going to the local diner or the employee cafe can provide also provide the opportunity to quietly adjust to work. It’s like going into the pool gradually rather than diving in and being shocked by the cold water.

2. Once work starts and if you are able, focus on the easy tasks first while gradually working up to those that are more difficult and challenging.

3. Give yourself something to look forward to for that day (and for every day). Scheduling a lunch with colleagues is one idea or going for a walk during lunch or any other pleasant activity.

4. Schedule fun things to do with the family after work so that there is always something to look forward to.
 
Use the six mantras listed above and find many more that can help remind you of what life is really about. Affirmations are also helpful.

How do you cope with Monday morning?

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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