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Take my word for it: Case of the Mondays

By
From page A4 | September 10, 2013 |

I was having a bad case of the Mondays the other day. With writer’s block all morning, and a column due by the afternoon, I started browsing the Internet for inspiration.

Then I went into the break room to fill up my water bottle and ran into a co-worker who said hello. The conversation went something like this:

“Good morning, Mr. Patrick,” my co-worker said.

“Good morning; how are you?” I asked.

“Well, it’s Monday. But it should be a good day,” she said.

“If it’s possible, we will make it so,” I laughed.

“Hey kiddo, I’m just happy I got to wake up this morning,” she said.

And that was it. My mood completely turned around after that. Because, despite my inability to sit at home in my pajamas watching football all day, Monday wasn’t really that big of a deal. There are worse things than having to get dressed and go in to work.

Somewhere, someone else was having a far worse Monday than I was. They were sick, or struggling to find work, or wondering if they’d live to see another day. And here I was, contemplating complaining about this great life I’m currently leading.

I’ll openly admit, though, that I personally don’t see anything wrong with complaining about Monday. Whether it’s water cooler talk or just a few seconds of venting, it’s healthy to joke about it to a certain extent. We all just enjoyed a few days off, quality time with our families and weren’t under the gun to produce something that could affect whatever our workplace was producing. We were on our own time making our own decisions — having to put that on hold another five days isn’t an exciting thought.

“A case of the Mondays” is essentially just a phrase in passing, a sigh that we’re back to a grind that we all signed up for anyway. Life has responsibilities and Monday brings a major one back to the forefront of our minds. But it’s not the end of the world some Facebook posts with pictures of depressed cats would have you think it is.

One “distinguished professor” even says there no such thing as “a case of the Mondays.” Arthur Stone, professor and vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University and author of a study of days of the week and mood patterns in the Journal of Positive Psychology, said in an NBC News article last year that Monday is just like any other weekday. Asking 340,000 subjects from a Gallup poll to rank their moods for the day, Stone learned their moods weren’t much worse on Monday than on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. And even though excitement for the impending weekend helped Friday’s outlook, moods didn’t spike anywhere near as much as they did on Saturdays and Sundays.

“They don’t experience Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday as different in real time and when you ask them in the past there is a discrepancy. It probably has to do with how people judge things in the past,” Stone said. “Friday is probably a day when you get a combination of work and positive stuff and it is not surprising that it came in somewhere between the levels of the weekend and Monday through Thursday.”

So we complain and we move on. We probably get a case of the Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, then get some sort of case for half of Friday before we’re set free to do nothing again on Saturday and Sunday. And that’s life for us working folks. And ya know what? It’s not all that bad.

In the end, “Everybody’s working for the weekend.” And Monday is just a day after it, and another one before it.

Patrick Ibarra is the managing editor of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.

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