Often, it feels like the weekend goes by really quickly. It’s like you blink your eye and boom! It’s Monday again. Not only has your free time elapsed, but the thought of waking up in the morning and going to the office just causes your heart to sink.
If the thought of going back to work triggers feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress, you’re experiencing a case of the office blues.
The good news is: you’re not alone. According to one study, people send the most gloomy tweets at the beginning of their work weeks. This is because they experience the highest levels of stress when they resume work on Mondays. Fortunately, there are a few healthy tips you can follow to overcome your office blues.
Identify the Source of your Office Blues
If you experience office blues very often, this is not something you can shrug off or just tolerate. It’s a clear sign that you are unhappy at your workplace. Therefore, you should pause and think for a few minutes about what it is that’s making you dread going to work.
- Do you have colleagues who are always getting on your nerves?
- Has your supervisor been rushing you to complete a big project within a short time?
- Are there problems at home that are distracting you from work?
In either case, it’s important to clarify what’s bothering you because then you can look for ways to improve your situation.
Another tip that can help you beat the office blues and have a productive week ahead is to visualize yourself succeeding. Before you even head out, think about your day’s activities and imagine yourself being successful.
The visualization approach has been used by top athletes. Lindsey Vonn (one of the most successful female skiers in history) and Kayla Harrison are some of the elite athletes who use visualization.
It might take a while to get used to practicing visualization, but it will be a good habit over time if you stick to it. Visualize a positive outcome before giving a speech or approaching your boss and requesting a raise.
If you can visualize having a good day at work, your creative subconscious will start looking for ways to make it happen.
Maintain a Good Posture
The next time you feel the office blues, pay keen attention to your posture. Chances are, you are hunched over with your neck and shoulders curved forward.
And while the reason for your posture could be because you’re feeling depressed, it’s also likely that you’re in that emotional state because of your posture. This is what is referred to as embodied cognition. It’s the notion that the connection between your mind and body runs both ways; that is, your mind determines how your body responds and vice versa.
If you’re still in doubt, then consider this study that was carried out by Health Psychology. During this randomized trial, researchers found that the participants who sat upright wound up with better mood, high self-esteem, and decreased fear. This proved that good posture is in fact, a deciding factor for how individuals felt when working.
That said, you should strive to maintain the right posture when working from your desk. This involves:
- Sitting an arm’s length away from your computer screen. According to Harvard Health Publishing, sitting at least two feet away from your monitor can significantly reduce eye strain.
- Aligning your elbows to your desk so that your arms form a 90 to 100 degree angle at the elbow joint.
- Sit up straight, with your shoulders relaxed and neck straight or at a reclined angle if you have pain.
- Use a headphone when talking on the phone, and avoid bending your neck for a long time to stare at your phone. According to the latest statistics, neck pain inflicted 45.5% of all office workers.
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
Create a Friendly Work Environment
A friendly and comfortable working space can make all the difference for individuals feeling the office blues. Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed because your desk is always cluttered with documents. According to Psychology Today, a messy home or work setting can leave you feeling helpless and anxious.
A cluttered workspace is a lot like trying to drive through a city on a Friday: you’re bound to encounter traffic, detours and other factors that throw you off your track, making it more difficult to get to your destination. Whenever you’re forced to spend half an hour looking for materials, your workflow, and subsequently, the mood is interrupted.
Solution? Declutter your desk and make it a habit to stay organized. Start by clearing all the paperwork on your desk, then decide the documents that are worth keeping and those that should be thrown away.
Take Breaks to Refresh and Restart
Standing or sitting all day without taking any breaks can cause you to be grumpy because of fatigue.
Changing your scenery every once in a while can be very helpful. More specifically, you should take a five-minute break every thirty minutes. This phenomenon is called the Pomodoro technique.
The reason why taking short breaks works is simple: The human brain was never designed to focus on one task for extended periods of time. So to protect you from potential risks, the brain stays in a constant state of alertness.
Research done by Alejandro Lleras proved that by deactivating and reactivating work, the brain is able to stay focused. Remaining focused enables you to get more work done, and in the process boost your mood.
It is not unusual to sometimes feel anxious about going to work. But if you feel this way often, this shows that you are unhappy about your work. Therefore, you should find the specific factor that’s causing you to be nervous or in a bad mood. Maintaining the right posture, and creating a work-friendly environment can also prevent office blues.
About The Author:
Mary Kooiker is a part-time freelance writer and a full-time mom. She’s written for various publications, including Buzzfeed. You can find her on Upwork.