Has Work‑From‑Home Eliminated ‘Monday Blues’ Or Made Them Worse?
Monday mornings mark a significant shift in moods, leading us to think of it as the worst day of the week. This happens because we mess up internal clocks over the weekend, often by attempting to balance our “sleep debts” from the week by oversleeping, which leads us to upset our routines, leading to exhaustion on Monday mornings. Moreover, drinking over the weekends can also leave us with a hangover to tend to on Monday mornings. But now, while working from home under lockdown, weekends and weekdays have started to seemingly blend together — so does that mean Monday anxiety is gone?
The pandemic has introduced Monday blues to Anubhav, a 22-year-old copywriter from Jaipur. “There were times when I would show up at work hungover on a Monday morning, and still get through the day. But, after lockdown, I feel a serious lack of energy and motivation… Initially, I liked the privilege and safety of being at home. But soon, all that wore off,” he explained. And, according to him, it could very well be a result of other factors like not meeting friends, or interacting with other human beings, especially since he stays alone. “Without the normal pace of general life, how am I supposed to keep the normal pace at work, right?,” he added.
For others, the pandemic has worsened work-week-woes. “Under lockdown, especially during the initial days, amidst the work, we had to figure what time the shops would be open and step out, buy the essentials, and also prepare food, alongside work and household chores. So, the Monday blues are not just fighting the mind to focus and finish work but ten other things alongside as well,” Abha, a 34-year-old dialogue writer, said. “The payments have reduced a lot due to the pandemic, and the workload has not. How does one stay motivated? Monday or not, the blues are looming over every single day,” she added.
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The worsening of Monday blues under lockdown appears to be a result of the emotional consequences of the social isolation for many. Yet, for some, it’s almost a direct reaction to the practice of working from home itself. “Now, Monday blues are worse than before. Earlier, it was easier to deal with, because I was surrounded by people who were equally bummed out,” according to Simran, a 24-year-old copywriter from Mumbai. However, not everyone is itching to go back to work yet. Dilesh, a 30-year-old cyber security professional from Thane, believes work from home not only saves money, but also makes a difference to his Monday blues.
“Just because our schedules have gone out of the window due to working from home, or being furloughed, doesn’t mean our Monday blues will disappear. In fact, the lack of structure could be contributing to higher anxiety levels,” Dr. Meg Arroll, psychologist, explained. The dissolving boundaries between weekends and weekdays, may actually be stressing the brain out further, experts believe. “Working from home has diluted the work-and-home boundary. People working at odd hours, with no clear breaks in between, in addition to social isolation — has led to dullness accumulating. There is almost no chance of a mental recharge on weekends anymore,” Ankita Jain, psychologist, told The Swaddle. “Earlier, we could assure ourselves that another weekend will come soon. But, under lockdown, there’s no break from the grind, and our mind doesn’t really get to recover on the weekends,” she explained. In fact, a Twitter survey conducted by an Indian lifestyle publication last month, found over 64% of the respondents saying that working from home had not really made Monday blues any better.
With a Covid19 vaccine nowhere in sight, at least, till the end of 2020, it appears that we’re not going back to work anytime soon — so, it looks like that case of Monday blues, which even the changes in work culture have failed to exorcise, are here to stay.