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A Simple Antidote for the Monday-Morning Dread!

Author : Dilip Saraf
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Studies conducted over many years have shown that working folks have trouble dealing with Mondays. It is not that the working people just dread Mondays, but evidence tells us that even the heart attack rates on Mondays go up on this first working day of a week, by some estimates, by as much as 20%.

Monday heart attacks aside, most working people do not look forward to Mondays as much as they do to Fridays or long weekends. Why is this so and what are some of the ways that one can deal with this very real Monday dread? After working with thousands of clients I have come to realize that the cause of this dread is their stress (cortisol-releasing stress) that stems from work.

One type of stress can result in your body releasing cortisol, a stress hormone. Heart attacks related to the release of cortisol have been well documented, so those who are working with high levels of (bad) stress are more likely to suffer from this Monday morning dread than those who are not stressed or are stressed in a positive way that inspires them to overcome their challenges. Those positively engaged in their work are known to look forward to going back to work on Mondays, despite having an enjoyable and refreshing weekend!

Gallop has conducted longitudinal studies of employee engagement throughout the world and its conclusions have not changed across the many years of these studies. These studies suggest that only about 20% of those working are engaged in their work. This means that about 80% are less than engaged in what they do. From this pool nearly 20-40% are actively disengaged (walking zombies).

Anyone less than fully engaged in their everyday work is subject to psychological stressbad stressthat is detrimental to their health. It is the workers from this pool that suffer most from the Monday morning dread syndrome. So, what are some of the ways you can overcome this dread and deal with Monday mornings as if they were any just any other day of the week? Here is a way to deal with it

1.Find the root of your stress at work that causes you to be under constant feeling of dread. This could be your boss, a backstabbing colleague, or someone misbehaving in ways that does not bring out the best in you. All of these factors stem from a bad relationship. A relationship is a two-way street. So, look deep into a relationship that is causing you this constant level of stress and ask yourself what you must do to bring this relationship in a productive order to make it more bearable.
2.If this relationship stress stems from the way your boss deals with you then assess if this way of their dealing with you is unique to you or generic to everyone they deal with. If it is the former have a one-on-one meeting with your boss and convey how this deteriorating relationship is causing you to perform in ways that is not productive and ask them what you must do to make this relationship more productive. An honest and in-depth discussion with your boss can open new doors in surprising ways. When the boss suggests changes to bring the relationship back on track make sure that you agree with the suggestions and negotiate what is workable and what is not. Do not just walk away without finalizing this discussion. If necessary, send an email thanking them for this discussion and summarizing what changes will be made.
3.If the relationship stress stems from others (peers, subordinates, customers, vendors) learn how to have productive conversations about how the current relationship is countermanding the mission that you are both trying to achieve. Ask them what changes you need to make for a more productive relationship and get clear on the corrective actions you both must take to bring the relationship on track.
4.If your stress results from your inability to deal with the workload or the lack of skill level required to execute your task, have a discussion with your boss and see what support can be available for you to deal with the skills gap. Sometimes, additional resources, time, or re-scoping of your task can be possible. Do not just wait out the time given to you and surprise your boss with a negative outcome.
5.If the job you are engaged in is not a good fit for your skills or interest it is difficult to remedy the situation by making an end-run. You must seriously consider if you are overplaying your hand and this is resulting from your having to deal with situations you cannot manage. Admitting this preemptively can result in realignment of work so that your skill level aligns with the challenge at hand. Although some challenge is good for ones growth too much challenge can be detrimental to ones welfare.
6.If physical factors such as excessive commute time, sub-par work-hygiene standards (too much noise, loud music from neighboring cubicle, hot and humid environment, etc.) are causing you to perform under stress you must bring this up to the attention of those who can remedy the situation. If you feel alone in taking this on find others who share your observations and explore ways to collectively deal with it to remedy the situation.
7.One of the ways people subject themselves to the inevitable Monday morning dread is the way they spend their entire weekend. Although weekends are for having fun, recharging, and catching up with activities, some continue to party till the wee hours of Monday morning and go to bed with a bad hangover. Instead, try limiting your partying to Friday night and Saturday and use Sunday as a day to quiet down and regroup. Before going to bed on Sunday (at regular bed time) reflect on why you feel so stressed and what is causing you the dread of the next morning.
8.In this reflective state lay out a plan of action to deal with the top one or two factors that you must change for a better working environment for yourself and have a plan of action of how you are going to deal with it to change things. Map out this plan and visualize yourself dealing with issues that are affecting your work. Having this plan alone, with clear visuals of the change, will energize you to do something positive to take control of your problems.
9.As you are gathering your thoughts for dealing with your work for the new week find ways to re-charge yourself through inspiring relationships or engaging in things that energize you as a relief from your everyday chores. Visualizing your dealing with your toughest challenge and then seeing yourself finding this source of inspiration will greatly ally your cause of that Monday morning dread.
10.If none of the above remedies are workable in your situation find yourself another job and get away from this toxic environment as soon as you can. You do not want to a part of that 20% statistics and have a heart attack over it. It is not worth it! But, before your move on to a new place make sure that you have done all that you can within your power to make things right for yourself. Otherwise, the same pattern can repeat in your new job.
Monday morning dread is a common phenomenon. Now that you know the remedy for it why not put these suggestions into action and see how you jump out of bed the next Monday morning to go to work?

Good luck!

About Author
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.

After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.

During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.

Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.

Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.

Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.

Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.



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