Thought for the Day:
“Mondays are for fresh starts.”
Question for the Day:
Do Mondays bother you?
I’ve long since believed that there needs to be a new diagnosis added the the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-V) that mental health professionals, like myself, use when diagnosing mental health disorders. I’d propose that at least 50 percent of all working folks have experienced symptoms of this disorder and would meet the criteria if empirical research were ever conducted. This proposed disorder has disturbed sleep, provoked chaos around breakfast tables, and is behind countless Monday morning speeding tickets. The disorder in question is what I call Monday Affective Disorder, abbreviated M.A.D. for short, and your girl has certainly been affected. Judging by all the anti-Monday memes floating around the internet, it’s clear that I’m not alone. Unfortunately, many of us are “fighting M.A.D.” at the start of each new week.
In all honesty, most of us were raised to be prejudiced against Mondays. Many folks can recall a mood shift in their parents as the weekend drew to a close. Tensions would rise, attitudes would surface, arguments might ensue and alcohol consumption might spike the closer Monday got to making its appearance. It was the phantom enemy that laid in wait all weekend for its next opportunity to destroy our peace. It has always represented the start of “another long week” that was sure to bring with it plenty of stress, frustration, and fatigue that would have to be begrudgingly tolerated until Friday stepped back in to save the day.
I guess I’ve inherited the disorder because Monday gets the side eye from me on the regular. Yet since I’m a therapist, I’ve taken it upon myself to establish some initial criteria in case anybody from the American Psychiatric Association is slummin’ and happens to stumble across this post.
MONDAY AFFECTIVE DISORDER CRITERIA
- A menacing feeling of dread that presents around 6:00 pm Sunday evening. This angst might escalate to lip smacking, eye rolling, verbal jousting, and an extra glass of wine (or two) before bed.
2) A nagging sensation of one’s last nerve being worked at the very mention of Monday’s approach.
3) A sudden urge to take a sledge hammer to one’s alarm clock on Monday mornings
4) A minimum of at least five engagements of the snooze button if the alarm clock does survive destruction.
5) A significant decrease in patience for others complicating the Monday morning routine with minor infractions such as leaving the cap off the toothpaste, making the coffee to weak, or borrowing hair products without permission.
6) At least 15 minutes of hard contemplation about whether one actually needs their paycheck to survive and the likelihood of qualifying for food stamps.
7) Sudden onset of selective mutism triggered by anyone who displays an excessive amount of energy and enthusiasm on Monday mornings.
8) An unhealthy preoccupation with understanding the meaning of life and one’s personal life choices
9) A total mental shutdown and inability to process any new information for the first hour of one’s work week
10) An unhealthy obsession with Friday and a codependent relationship with the weekend in general
Now, though I relate to the symptoms and can empathize with others who have suffered, as a clinician it is also my duty to warn people of the dangers of letting M.A.D. go untreated. Like any psychological disorder, it is imperative that the negative impact of symptoms be acknowledged so that positive coping skills can be applied. With that in mind, here are some suggested coping strategies for minimizing the effects of Monday Affective Disorder on daily functioning.
Assess your level of satisfaction with your chosen profession
I do believe that all working people will likely experience M.A.D. on occasion because the grind of working full-time will always make a two day weekend feel insufficient. However, if you find that your particular case of M.A.D. is unusually aggressive, then it might be worth taking a look at whether or not you’re truly happy with what you do. They say that when you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. I don’t know if that’s completely true because there’s still the waking up and getting going issue that presents itself with most jobs. However, going to work shouldn’t make you contemplate resignation every week. If you find that your case of M.A.D. tends to persist well into Thursday morning, then maybe it’s a new career that needs to be prescribed.
Acknowledge and challenge dysfunctional thinking
No matter how horrible it feels to get up and get back in gear after a relaxing weekend, we must continue to challenge negative thoughts that make Mondays tougher than they need to be. Using dysfunctional thinking patterns such as a negative mental filter, discounting the positive, magnification, or black or white thinking will only make your Monday morning experience worse. In the face of COVID-19 and record unemployment rates, it’s really kind of ridiculous to focus on the woes of working, when the alternative would be a lot harder to deal with. I too am guilty of seeing Monday through a distorted lens at times. Therefore, I’m including myself when I say that we should probably ask God for forgiveness and pray for a renewed mind and newfound appreciation for the opportunity to earn our paychecks.
Practice good self care
Without proper self care, it will continue to be difficult to manage feelings of anger, frustration, irritability and agitation no matter what day of the week it is. Therefore, taking care of ourselves is even more necessary for keeping M.A.D. symptoms in check. Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, vitamins, stretching, meditating, listening to calming music, getting massages and allowing someone to rub on your feet from time to time makes it a lot easier to keep feel good chemicals in the brain pumping. It’s also easier to tolerate stress and learn to relax when you’ve given your mind and body plenty of opportunities to practice.
Choose to be grateful
Instead of seeing Mondays as the end of the weekend, let’s remember that it’s also the start of a new week. In a world where thousands have lost their lives to coronavirus, let’s never forget that we didn’t have to wake up at all! Every Monday represents another display of God’s infinite grace and the chance to DO better and BE better. Don’t be so frustrated with losing the opportunity to do nothing that you forget to acknowledge the beauty in doing something. To have a fresh start each week complete with the full function of our bodies and a sound mind is never something to take for granted. You never know, this Monday could bring with it our breakthrough or the blessing we’ve been praying for. What fools we’d be if we chose to complain when there’s so many possibilities that could be in store if we’re open to discovering them. Like it our not, Mondays are a gift we get to open every seven days. Be careful to not let “fighting M.A.D.” keep you from receiving it.
“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”