Do you get the Monday blues? Not just the “oh, no, I have to go back to work on Monday morning,” blues, I’m talking about serious depression, exhaustion, and general bad mood that comes on anywhere from after church on Sunday to as late as sometime on Tuesday. It’s the ministry low that comes on after the ministry high of doing church on a Sunday morning.
You’ve given it your all for the weekend services, serving God and serving people, and suddenly, you crash. Maybe you felt great in those special moments of ministry, when you felt completely connected to God and His Word and His people. But when the church lights are turned off and the door is locked, the soaring mood plummets. I’ve always called it the Monday blues. After a great high from preaching or leading worship over the weekend, I often wake up Monday morning, tired, soar, and feeling absolutely miserable. Is it a coincidence that I wake up on the wrong side of the bed Every. Single. Monday? I’ve heard it called the pastor’s hangover. The Monday slump. A case of the Mondays. Only recently did I learn from my friend, Pastor Rachel, that this is known as adrenaline dump.
When an athlete takes the field, or a pastors turns on the microphone, his or her body sends a surge of adrenaline hormones to prepare them for fight or flight. These hormones help you think more clearly in the moment, give you extra strength, energy, and awareness so you can either stand up to the task or run away as fast as you possibly can. This gives you that extra boost you need to interact with the congregation as you sing or gives you that extra edge when you preach. You feel excited and alive! Your body may buzz with energy. But your body can’t sustain this level of intensity or adrenaline for long. And as all of the hormones leave your body, you crash. You may experience fatigue, depression, sadness, bitterness, irritation, stomach upset, and even soreness. These same hormones suppress memory, so all of yesterday might just seem like one big blur. You might wonder, if I did so well, why do I feel so poorly? If I loved ministry yesterday, why do I want to quit today? Your bruised and battered feelings aren’t a reflection of your ministry abilities. It’s a reflection of your body’s use of adrenaline and how easily it recovers. It varies from person to person and from week to week.
I’m still learning to recognize the emotional ramifications of my Monday morning slump. But it helps to have an honest friend like Rachel who can objectively remind me that my grumpy feelings are related to the previous day’s adrenaline surge and not to my family, friends, or ministry.
Do you experience the Monday morning blues? What do you do to cope? How do you work through it so you can begin another week of ministry and mission?