I used to have the worst Monday morning blues, which would last most of the day. This then began to encroach into Sunday night blues and at one stage Saturday afternoon blues as I realised there was only one day left between me and Monday.
The weird thing was I was actually good at my job, enjoyed it, knew it was the right one for me and got nothing but praise from my manager and support from others around me. So what was going on?
What emotion was I feeling?
Fear – nervous, insecure, inferior
Sadness – disappointed, disheartened, guilty, hopeless
Anger – frustrated, annoyed
And what thoughts were causing this horror show of emotions?
- My job isn’t important
- I don’t know what to do
- No-one cares about what I’m doing so there’s no point doing it anyway
- I’m avoiding work and I feel terrible
- I’ve lost my sense of commitment
I spent most of my time either giving into the despair or fighting against myself with positive affirmations, but none of that seemed to help.
So what did help?
1)Noticing the pattern
I noticed that, unlike most people Monday was my quietest day. I had very few meetings, everyone else was too busy to respond to things I needed input on and this was driving me to think those horrible thoughts that led to such negative emotions. This often left me in tears, unproductive and miserable. Usually by midday Tuesday I’d be on a roll again at work and feeling great. But I would forget that every single time Monday came round!
2) Acknowledging these emotions instead of fighting them.
It was understandable that I would feel insecure and inferior if I wasn’t busy and everyone else was. It was understandable that I would feel disappointed about not living up to the high standards I’d set myself when these feelings led me to think I was avoiding work. So I allowed myself to compassionately observe these feelings and not fight them, but to understand them and try and make peace with them (I have plenty of tricks to help with that if you need them!)
3) Working on creating new thoughts
Instead of the empty positive affirmations I started trying to focus on thoughts I could genuinely believe and worked my way up from there when I needed to, for instance:
- I may not be busy at work today, and that’s ok
- It’s possible today will be a good day
- I might feel anxious today, but I can cope with that
- It is ok to have quiet days (to be honest, it took me a long time to believe that one!)
4) Pre-emptive self-coaching
Once I learnt the triggers and warning signs it was a lot easier to put this process into action and stop the negative spiral before it started. If I start to feel this way I do a thought download on a Sunday night to identify where the nerves are coming from and acknowledge why I’m feeling the way I do. I then come up with some thoughts that help soothe me and repeat as often as required! It’s definitely not a one time process, but a long term practice.