Different days of the week can evoke different feelings. Some days can offer the doing of enjoyable activities or a sense of positive things to look forward to. Other days can bring with them the doing of less enjoyable activities or a sense of stress or even dread.
So, we decided to try to better understand if there were any universal patterns to these feelings related to different days of the week.
We analyzed the anonymous, aggregate mood entries entered into Moodfit by our population of users over the period of one year. (Monday June 7, 2021 to Sunday June 5, 2022.) For each day of the year we calculated the average mood of all entries for that day.
At a high level the mood values appear reasonably consistent over time - they stay in a tight band of values. However, there is the appearance of an up/down pattern that regularly repeats. Also of note, there is a clear increase around the end of year holidays and then a significant decline afterwards.
Mood entries are recorded in Moodfit using the simple scale Bad, Poor, OK, Good, and Great. For analysis these entries are encoded as 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively.
To explore the above pattern, we took the average of the days based on their day of the week. That is, we averaged together all 52 of the Mondays etc.
This shows in more detail the pattern within a week. Of note:
Mondays are the lowest mood of the week.
Saturday is the highest mood of the week.
Mood improves each day of the week starting on Monday and peaking on Saturday. On Sunday it goes lower than Saturday but is still better than all other days of the week and significantly better than the following day which is Monday.
We also looked at the variance of the mood entries for each day of the week, e.g. how much variability was there among all the Monday entries etc. We found:
The greatest variance was on Fridays.
The lowest variance was on Tuesdays through Thursdays.
Some of these patterns go along with conventional thinking:
Mondays aren’t exciting because the weekend is over and the work week is beginning.
The weekend being a time of pleasure and a time to look forward to as the week progresses.
Sundays are the infamous “Sunday Scaries” where one starts to think about the coming work week and the high of the weekend dissipates.
The Friday variance may not be as obvious. One possible explanation is that it’s a transition day at the intersection of the fatigue of the work week, possible stresses associated with upcoming weekend plans (or an absence thereof), and relief that the work week is over. For some people this may be a positive experience - there are fun plans to look forward to over the weekend. For others whose identity is strongly related to work and who don’t have desired weekend plans, there may be a sense of uncertainty.
At an individual level what can one do with this information? First, by tracking one’s mood a person can know their own specific pattern.
One can first acknowledge that they may have a pattern to their down days, but to keep in mind that is common and certainly not a flaw. Be compassionate with yourself for feeling stress on Sundays for example. You’re not alone.
For those days that are more often a lower mood, one can inspect and better understand potential reasons. Then they can consider changes they can make to be preemptive. For example, Sunday stress may result from taking an unnecessary preview of work emails that have arrived over the weekend. It may be better to remind oneself that the stress of such a preview goes on long after and can spoil the relaxation of the remainder of a Sunday.
For those times that are more consistently higher moods, one can inspect and understand the reasons. This can help identify activities that bring pleasure that perhaps can be incorporated into more days of the week. It may also show activities one especially looks forward to that they can be more conscious of savoring as they approach.
Of course, individuals are only one side of the work equation. The other side is employers. So, what could employers do with this information knowing that the work week impacts employees’ moods? Some ideas:
Allow or even suggest more flexible or late start times on Mondays to smooth the end of weekend transition. Have Mondays be work-from-home days.
Restrict or eliminate the sending of emails over the weekend that can lead to reduced relaxation on Sundays and more dread of Mondays.
Educate and encourage employees to develop a sense of self during weekends that isn’t tied so closely to work. Help them understand the importance of restorative activities on the weekends. The infamous work-life balance.
Even help facilitate employees having more options of weekend activities and more connections with whom to do them. The case could be made for having an Activities Coordinator to help with this process. The resulting payout in employees' moods and thus productivity could be significant.