Today being Monday, it's a good time to answer this question from a reader over an event that happened on a certain Monday in the recent past. The question:
"This is an apology from a friend. He said: 'Sorry about yesterday. I wasn't feeling very well. I guess it was the Monday Blues.' What is Monday Blues?"
Monday Blues refers to "that Monday morning feeling" most office holders have experienced one time or another.
It's in stark contrast to the mood one feels on a Friday, when people utter "Thank God, it's Friday" with joy and relief. Well on Monday, people moan: "Oh God, it's Monday again!"
All because of the weekend. On Friday, office workers are light-hearted, upbeat and raring to go (away). They are looking forward to a lovely weekend - perhaps to escape to the country (a most likely destination for folks in the big city), go fishing, see the flowers blossom in the parks, play ball, go swimming, go to a yoga class, have a feast with buddies and then go in a bundle to a karaoke bar and sing/shout themselves hoarse and drink themselves silly, or what have they.
In short, people are in a high spirit on a Friday, which good feeling may even lead to efficiency at work. It definitely leads to cordial conversations, more friendly pats-on-the-backs amongst colleagues and fewer sightings of bosses, who may have by now excused themselves and embarked on their own weekly trip out of town.
Then what happens?
Time flies. The weekend is over in a wink and lo and behold, it's Monday morning. The alarm clock shrieks at six, seven, way before you can open your eyes without a herculean effort. While you try to pull yourself together and get out of bed, struggling to your feet, you imagine that the rush-hour traffic is going to be worse than last week - this week, it's also your turn to rush the kid to school, you hate to remember. You look out the window, and the sky's grey (always, even on a sunny day). Today, Monday, April 17, 2006 in Beijing, it is actually worse than grey. It's yellow - it's been raining dust overnight, and all the streets, roofs and car tops are covered with a thick film of fine dust. It's all very depressing to you, a Monday Blues sufferer, and you wonder if you should call in sick. Just thinking about it gives you a headache.
That's what that Monday feeling is, that's what Monday Blues are. It's a terrible phenomenon in the city, amongst people juggling a career with the needs of a family, work with leisure. Medical research in America even confirms an age-old suspicion that more people die on Monday mornings than any other time of the week.
On the bright side, it's important to remember that Monday morning feeling is just a feeling. It comes, it goes and it is indeed more psychological than real.
Besides, there're concrete measures one can take to beat the Monday Blues. For instance, that Monday morning feeling for some is the result of unfinished work on the previous Friday. If they could make a point of finishing last week's work before hitting the weekend road, then they'll perhaps feel less stress.
Another common problem facing the office man and woman is that they are too busy to exercise during the week. Therefore, they spend a lot of time doing exercise over the weekend, more often than not overdoing it, tiring themselves out, straining, even hurting themselves, which makes the prospect of Monday even more daunting.
Finally, I'd like to share you this line from an old Chinese poem, its ethos being everyday is a good day, Monday included. "If your mind is not clouded," it says, "today is the best day of your life."
Apply that spirit to your Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays also, because it is true.