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Why Mondays are really the absolute worst

In the 1930s, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that our five-day work week would be reduced to only 15 hours as our world became more automated by the Industrial Revolution. But instead of basking in an abundance of leisure time, most Americans are working more than ever before, with the average employee working 47 hours a week, according to a recent Gallup poll.

If our work week ever does shrink, I think we would all agree that Monday should be the first work day to go. On most weekends, I dread Mondays so much that my case of the “Sunday night blues” starts on Saturday afternoon. Sure, not working Mondays would probably just shift the blues to Tuesday, but hey, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

We tell ourselves it’ll be okay, but these little self-help pep talks almost make it worse, reminding us of the dwindling hours in our all-too-short weekends. What does make it better, for me at least, is understanding why my body physically struggles with the first workday of the week so that I can try to counter those problems ahead of time.

Sleeping in can deprive you of sleep

Not only do we work more these days, but we also sleep less. According to a Gallup survey on sleep habits, the average time we sleep each night has dropped from 7.9 hours in 1942 to 6.8 hours in 2013. To counter that, we sleep in to catch up on some rest. But experts say doing that will only leave you more tired because it sets your body’s internal clock back—making it even tougher for you to rise and shine on Monday. Trying to reset your circadian rhythm on Sunday night by going to bed early won’t do the trick either. The best thing experts say you can do is to minimize the difference between your weekday and weekend sleeping schedule.

Weekend overeating and overdrinking takes a toll

It’s no surprise that what we do to our bodies over the weekend makes it hard to get back on track. And you don’t have to be an expert to know that overindulging in food and drink certainly doesn’t help make us feel good about ourselves as we gear up to start another week. One study found that almost half of the women surveyed felt the most unattractive on Mondays, saying they felt more stressed and less motivated to make an effort to look nice.

To prevent Monday from being your “ugly day,” take a few extra minutes on Sunday night to prepare what you’ll wear to dress for success. Because the way you feel about yourself can affect your productivity and overall attitude for the day.

Comparing your social life to others will only make it worse

On weekends, we socialize more face-to-face, while on weekdays, we socialize more on Facebook. As you’re catching up on your friends’ status updates on Sunday night, it’s impossible not to compare your lives to theirs. All of a sudden, whatever you did to unwind on Saturday seems so insignificant compared to your friend who just changed her relationship status from “in a relationship” to “engaged” on Facebook. And you go to bed feeling worse about your life than ever before.

One sure way to avoid feeling depressed from social media is to limit how much time you’re on it and choose certain times of the day when you’re feeling more positive. So unless you’re a morning person, you might want to wait at least until after you’ve had your first cup of coffee…or just wait ’til Tuesday.

Have a case of the Monday morning blues? Tweet me @jeanie531 and use “#MondayMotivation” to share what you’re doing to power through it.

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