Dear New Shrink,

I have been wondering why it is that I hate Mondays so much. I have been asking around and a lot of my friends have similar feelings. It is not unanimous but pretty close. What causes this and what can we do about it?

Signed,

Monday Blues

Dear Monday Blues,

You ask an interesting question but it is difficult to come up with just one answer. Maybe we should start by pointing out that it’s the opposite of TGIF?

On a serious note, I really think that each situation is different and I tend to think that it is somewhat age dependent; also gender, marital status and our role in life factor in.

If you are younger, it may be that you are somewhat lost, not sure yet of your direction in life. If you are a recent college grad but can’t find a job, this is not exactly uplifting. Looking for employment these days is anxiety producing as well.

Or perhaps your love life, dates, personal relations were not what you had hoped for over the weekend. Any of this can cause the Monday Blues.

And for the very young kids, some have trouble separating from family and friends after a weekend. Monday can be a big day of adjustment for them.

Along similar lines, many moms are homemakers and they experience a kind of empty nest on a Monday. They have been with family and friends all weekend and then everyone is gone come Monday. Sundays tend to be thought of as family day, so following the closeness of it can make the next day seem all the more empty.

It’s good to have a game plan for Monday morning; gym, a class, or volunteer work. Having something to get up and go to puts the week off to a better start.

It is also no secret these days that we have a high number of unemployed men. This can be very hard on the self-esteem as well as the pocketbook. If you are the primary income provider, are identified with your work and have a family to support, these are rough times emotionally.

With technology advancing so rapidly and literally replacing people and jobs, some folks have to start over. They often feel insignificant, angry, scared and like a failure to the family.

For the employed, ambitious types, there can be performance anxiety or worry about losing business, jobs or clients. On the other hand, maybe you are employed and hate Mondays simply because you just do not like your job or the people you work with.

Or maybe you are like the young man who recently wrote in about being tired and hung over on Mondays. He clearly needs to cut back on the Sunday drinking. If he can’t or finds excuses not to, he may have what we call the Monday morning “alcoholism” flu.

Having said all of this, there are some folks who love Mondays. For some, it is almost like a defense, it gets them away from their weekend blues.

Lastly, there is the retired. This is an important group to consider. Scientific research has shown that those who are not prepared for retirement, especially men or those career folks who are highly identified with their work, have a much higher incidence of death within the first two years of retirement. It cannot be stressed enough just how very important it is to be prepared for retirement.

No matter who we are, we need to have a meaning or purpose to our lives. When we are younger, we hopefully have our entire lives ahead of us and much to look forward to. Even if we are not clear in our identity, figuring it out can become the purpose and establishing it, even more so. But if we are beyond this and suddenly lose our jobs, especially if it’s a job that is being totally eliminated and won’t be coming back, we can become very threatened and the blues may go way beyond Mondays.

The bottom line is that we need to be prepared, as prepared as we can be because it always helps us to handle life changes and unexpected events much better.

Think about your reasons for the Monday Blues. There is a good chance it falls into one of the categories above or something quite close to it. Once you figure it out, do your best to do something about it.

If not, write back. We are here to help you with your life matters.

Dr. JoAnne Barge is a licensed psychologist with offices in Brentwood. Send your anonymous questions to newshrink@gmail.com. Got something on your mind? Let us help you with your life matters.