The Monday blues refer to a low feeling people may have at the beginning of a week. They are not part of a clinical disorder. Some people describe them as feelings of dread for the start of the work week.

Some causes of the Monday blues include job dissatisfaction or work-related stress, and symptoms tend to be similar to those of stress. Other indicators include increased heart rate, headaches, and tense muscles.

Keep reading to learn more about the Monday blues, including the causes, effects, and symptoms and how to manage them.

Business man running to work on a Monday with blue backgroundShare on Pinterest
Westend61/Getty Images

The Monday blues refer to negative feelings that some people have at the end or beginning of the week. Returning to the routine of work or school can sometimes make people feel down. Individuals may feel lower levels of job satisfaction and more job stress at the beginning of the working week.

However, the Monday blues is not a clinical term. Therefore, it has no definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. This manual defines different mental disorders and lists their symptoms.

While the Monday blues may not be a clinical illness, the feeling of dread for some people is real. The Monday blues may also signal significant unhappiness in someone’s life.

The Monday blues differs from depression because it has a specific time when people feel it: Mondays. In contrast, depression refers to feelings of persistent low mood and decreased interest in pleasurable activities that can occur at any time of day.

This feeling of dread on Mondays lessens as the week goes on, and a person’s mood improves toward the weekend. The Monday blues also have a specific cause, usually relating to an individual’s job or weekday routine.

People may experience the Monday blues because they are not satisfied with their job. Job stressors and other work experiences may affect a person’s mood on Monday.

It is also worth noting that the Monday blues relates to people who have a standard 5-day work week and 2 days off for the weekend.

Experts also suggest that job stressors may not cause the Monday blues but that the Monday blues affect how a person responds to stress.

People with the Monday blues approach and react to stressors at the beginning of the week differently than at the end. With lower morale on Monday, a person might respond more negatively to a stressor on this day rather than at the end of the week.

Individuals who have the Monday blues are also typically happier on weekends because they are free to choose their activities. A lack of control over their schedule might make them feel down at the start of the week. Monday is the farthest day from Friday and the weekend, and this can make some people feel down.

The causes of the Monday blues might vary, and so can their symptoms.

Since doctors have not defined the Monday blues as a clinical disorder, information on symptoms is purely anecdotal. The main symptom of the Monday blues is a simple bad mood on Monday morning. People may feel distressed over having to go back to work or school after the weekend.

Sometimes, individuals can feel stress symptoms as the weekend ends. These symptoms may include:

  • tense muscles
  • headaches
  • trouble breathing
  • fast heartbeat
  • increased blood pressure

Some strategies for counteracting the Monday blues may improve people’s mood temporarily. However, if the feelings of dread on Mondays are a sign of deep unhappiness and dissatisfaction, these methods may not be long lasting.

Stress management can help lower the perception of job stressors on Monday. Other techniques that help boost a person’s mood may help manage the Monday blues. Some examples are below.

1. Muscle relaxation techniques

Progressive relaxation is a technique that involves contracting different muscles in the body and releasing the tension. People also call it progressive muscle relaxation. Individuals can achieve a relaxing effect by repeatedly tensing and relaxing muscles.

2. Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises involve focusing intentionally on the breath. People refer to taking slow and deep inhalations and exhalations as diaphragmatic breathing. By connecting the mind and body through deep breathing, individuals can experience a relaxing effect.

3. Maintaining a wide social network

Having a strong social network that provides emotional support can enhance a person’s mental well-being. Healthy social networks can help promote self-esteem, which can prevent depression. Those with underdeveloped social networks are more likely to have symptoms of anxiety or depression.

4. Exercising regularly

Resistance or aerobic exercise can help improve mood and emotional states. Exercise can improve a person’s mood and lessen negative moods, and its effects can last up to 24 hours. However, health experts are not sure about the optimal exercises to improve mood, since studies did not consistently use the same workout program.

Learn more about how exercise can benefit mental health.

5. Getting enough sleep

A person’s quality of sleep is an important factor in their mood the following day and generally. Mood may also affect an individual’s sleep, as mood issues can lead to reduced quality sleep and vice versa. Therefore, getting adequate quality sleep may help lessen the impact of the Monday blues.

Learn more about sleep hygiene.

6. Consulting a doctor

If the Monday blues signal deeper unhappiness, medical attention may be necessary. Anxiety and depression are clinical illnesses that require treatment with medication or a therapist. Without treatment, these conditions can worsen.

A 2018 study suggests suicide prevention strategies aim to lessen the burden and stress of Mondays. This suggestion comes from data that show a higher frequency of suicide among young adults and teenagers at the beginning of the week.

7. Consulting a career or academic counselor

Some people need a change in their job or studies. A career or an academic counselor may help people navigate their skills and work or career interests. This change can help individuals gain more satisfaction during the week.

Studies about the potential complications of the Monday blues are lacking. A persistent and cyclical feeling of dread can become chronic and cause anxiety or depression, which can be serious mental health conditions that require medical attention.

The previous 2018 study looked at the causes of death over an 18-year period in the Republic of Korea. The researchers noted that death by suicide occurred more frequently on a Monday.

The differences in suicide occurrences on Mondays lessened when considering the age of the person. For teenagers and those in their 20s, suicide rates were highest on Mondays, so the effect of the Monday blues may be more significant for younger adults and teenagers.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects if it’s safe to do so.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

Was this helpful?

People who cannot cope with their feelings of dread or notice their feelings worsening should speak with a doctor. Depressive symptoms to report include:

  • feeling guilt or worthlessness
  • loss of energy
  • lack of focus
  • changes in appetite
  • agitation
  • trouble sleeping
  • suicidal thoughts

Symptoms of anxiety lasting at least 6 months also require medical attention. These symptoms include:

  • excessive worry
  • trouble controlling worries
  • restlessness
  • tire easily
  • trouble concentrating
  • muscle tension
  • trouble sleeping
  • irritability

It is vital to get immediate medical attention if thoughts of suicide arise.

Monday blues are not a clinical illness but a real feeling. It can cause distress for some people when the weekend comes to an end, as returning to the routine of a job or school can be challenging.

The Monday blues can lead to clinical conditions, such as anxiety, stress, and depression. These conditions may all require medical or psychiatric intervention.

If people have concerns about the Monday blues having negative effects on their life, they can contact a doctor.