What day of the week would you guess searches for jokes are at their peak?
I would guess Monday. How else would you get through a “bad case of the Mondays”? Turns out, I’m wrong! Searches for jokes are at their LOWEST on Mondays! And highest on Fridays-Sundays (when I commonly search for lunchbox jokes for the kids for the week).
So what search terms are highest on Mondays?
Depression. Anxiety. Doctor.
This is devastating. Joke searches also dive after traumatic news events like bombings. This information suggests two things:
We live in an unhealthy cycle!
On Mondays, our tiny weekend freedom has ended and we are stuck back at work and school. Because we have so little freedom (2 days/7), we try to escape as much as possible. We search for jokes, we binge watch Netflix, and hopefully we’re able to disconnect from work and enjoy real time with our families.
When Monday rolls around, we are forced back to REALITY. We have a job to go to. Bills to pay. Health problems to face. Everything we avoided all weekend rushes back to us. Now we have dishes in the sink AND work deadlines! “Why didn’t I do the dishes this weekend?!” We ask. The answer: We didn’t want to.
Mondays are also the beginning of the week’s tunnel. We can barely see the weekend light at the end of it because we have to get through 5 MORE DAYS. The depression and anxiety set in.
So why don’t we search for more jokes on Mondays?
Escapism Requires Hope
These search trends seem to suggest that we have no hope on Mondays. And if the trend indicates we can’t have hope looking down a 5 day tunnel, we have NO CHANCE looking down a 10-to-30-year tunnel to the bright light of retirement!
On Mondays and after traumatic events, we don’t want to escape. We want it to END.
I’m a big fan of healthy doses of escapism. Through good film or theatre, it is possible to forget your troubles for awhile while also learning something from the lives or stories being presented. These events also used to involve getting out and interacting with others. Going to the theatre is an event! Going to the movies used to be too. Now, we’ve replaced this with whatever tile ends up being the biggest on our Netflix homescreen. We just waste time instead of thoughtfully deciding the best methods of escapism.
Practice Mindful Escapism
I am not one that thinks it’s possible to productively use every one of my minutes (good for you amazing productivity gurus!). Some of us just need to shut down once in awhile. That being said, I do think we can be mindful about our escapist choices.
Next time you find yourself with a “bad case of the Mondays” (whether it’s a Monday, Wednesday, or any other day!), ask yourself these questions before mindlessly scrolling Facebook or starting a show you don’t even enjoy:
- Am I being an active participant or mindlessly consuming? Good media should promote thoughtful engagement; it should not be completely mindless.
- Do I have hope? When we lose hope, we stagnate. We shut down. This is when we should be searching for jokes or inspiration (and sharing appropriately with other hopeless coworkers on breaks).
- Do I have a REAL escape plan? When I get really frustrated, I start tinkering with spreadsheets to recalculate our plan to escape or I plan vacations so we can get a glimpse of that freedom.
- Will this help me be more productive later? If the escapism isn’t actually going to help with your efforts later, stop. Plan unproductive times to help you be more productive.
- Am I learning? Sometimes, I like to read the stories and numbers of people that became millionaires fast to give me hope and learn how they did it. Other times, I like to research things that aren’t related to a specific project at work but are something I want to know.
With all that, I’ll end with the first joke I found in my own joke search on Monday!