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Viral "Bare Minimum Mondays" work trend can reduce stress, burnout

Bare minimum Monday: Doing less to start the work week
Bare minimum Monday: Doing less to start the work week 02:49

The latest office trend, "Bare Minimum Mondays," is all about easing into the dreaded start of the workweek — and mental health experts say it isn't a strategy to sleep on.

Marisa Jo Mayes, a self-employed digital creator, came up with the now-viral concept in which she keeps the first two hours of Monday free and schedules only three tasks for the day.

"It was like some sort of sorcery had happened. As soon as the pressure was gone, I was more productive than I've been in a long time," she told CBS News.

So can this practice really make an impact? 

"Anything that brings awareness to prioritizing mental health over burnout is going to have great benefits on our mental health," says David Yadush, licensed professional clinical counselor and clinical operations manager at BetterHelp. "No one is immune to stress. No one's immune to anxiety, especially at the beginning of the workweek. Giving ourselves that opportunity on a Monday to just focus on ourselves and our mental health can really reduce that stress."

After sharing the idea on TikTok, Mayes' videos went viral — and for good reason. Workers continue to combat ever-increasing work burnout.

According to the job search engine and review site "Glassdoor," the phrase "mental health" in company reviews jumped 91% from 2019 to 2022, and "burnout" mentions were up 42% during that same time.

"People relate to the stress that I'm describing and the overwhelm that I'm describing," Mayes added. "When they hear about the changes that I feel now, they want in."

For worried employers, the trend isn't about slacking, but much-needed self-care. Plus, it could actually improve performance.

"It's not about being checked out of work or not valuing work. Rather, it's about focusing on the tasks that must be completed," Yadush says. "We've seen for years that burnout decreases the quality of work and decreases our productivity. So anything that we can do to reduce that burnout is going to have a great impact and give us breathing room to actually engage in better quality work (and) more productive activities."

Other ways to combat burnout:

Not everyone has the flexibility in their work schedule to practice "Bare Minimum Mondays," but there are other ways to combat burnout at the onset of the week.

Set yourself up for success: How? With sleep! If you're someone who has a hard time with Mondays, make sure you're getting yourself to bed early.

"Prioritizing getting that relaxation on a Sunday night will make Monday morning so much easier," Yadush says. 

Skip the snooze button: With the added sleep you've hopefully enjoyed, Yadush suggests resisting the urge to stay in bed past your alarm. People often think getting five more minutes of shut-eye will make them feel more refreshed, but it often has an inverse effect, making us feel more rushed and stressed, he explains.

Instead, use that extra time in the morning to do something that makes you feel relaxed or ready for the day, whether that's working out or taking a long shower.

Take advantage of breaks: If you can't change your schedule or move around meetings, Yadush advises taking advantage of the breaks you do have throughout the day, whether it's 10 minutes between calls or a half hour for lunch.

"Actually take that lunch or take that break," he says. "Use that time to disconnect from work, do something different, something that rejuvenates you or helps you feel more focused."

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