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Your alarm rings in your ear with the intensity of Mount Vesuvius blasting its top. Your bed feels so comfy and warm that you’re thinking of calling in sick to work because the blankets have adopted you as one of their own. There are five full days of work ahead of you. Five full days of a long commute, offensive overhead lighting, and your brown-nosing coworker in the next cubicle.
You’ve got a bad case of the Monday blues, and we’ve consulted four experts for tips to help you cure it.
1. Get ready for Monday on Sunday
Instead of rushing around on Monday morning in a tornado of perfume, emails, and strong coffee, spend some time getting organized the night before. Taking time to relax, clearing away the energy of last week, and prepping outfits and meals can make a world of difference.
Dr. Alice Boyes, author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit, told HelloGiggles, “Pick whatever preparation you can do for the week that doesn’t impinge on your weekend enjoyment too much. Whether that’s meal prep, laying out your outfits for the week, charging all your devices, downloading an audiobook for your commute, ordering anything you’re going to run out of during the week, etc.”
Basically, a bit of planning takes you from the person who stubs their toe first thing in the morning to the person who wakes up with a smile and a positive attitude.
Getting plenty of sleep on Sunday will also make your Monday easier, said Isabella Arendt, an analyst at The Happiness Research Institute. “If I make sure to get into bed on time, then I am also more rested Monday morning. So Sunday is the right time to invest in Mondays,” she told HG.
2. Have something to look forward to
One of the best parts of going on vacation or a big trip is the anticipation leading up to it. Treat Mondays like a girls’ trip to Paris that is a whole month away; feel the butterflies in your stomach and the excitement for new adventures.
Julie Graham, a health coach and adviser for DeStress Monday, believes in doing fun activities on this dreaded day of the week. “Taking the scenic route to work, getting together with a friend for dinner, signing up for a class — like yoga, meditation, painting or whatever you enjoy doing — or a relaxing night at home. Cook. Eat delicious food. Laugh,” she told HG.
3. Ask yourself why you hate Mondays
Life is too short to hate any day of the week, and if the end of the weekend depresses you or fills you with dread, then it may be time to re-evaluate where you are in life.
Laura Jane Williams, author of Kidding: Childlike Solutions to Bullsh*t Adult Problems, told HelloGiggles that you need to think about what your dread is telling you. “If Monday is really that awful for you, is that because you’re in the wrong job? Figuring out the root of the problem can help inspire a solution.”
Arendt agreed: “Is it the stress in the morning? Then put out clothes and prepare food the day before. It is the workload and emails at work? Then make sure to set aside time for this, so it doesn’t feel stressful anymore. Is it the fact that it is no longer the weekend? Then maybe take some time out to figure out what it is about your work that makes you long so strongly to get away from it. I think that people with high job satisfaction and motivation will hate Mondays less.”
4. Do some fun work tasks on Mondays
If you dread having to do the annoying parts of your job, like reading emails, writing invoices, paperwork, etc., then do tasks on Monday that you like better so you can start off the week on a high note.
“Break it up! I do my most creative and effective tasks from 8 to 11 a.m. on a Monday, and it makes me feel really good,” said Williams. “Only after that do I tackle to-do lists and emails, and half the day is already done so the time tends to go quicker.”
5. Make Mondays the shorter or easier day
If you have some control over your schedule, then try to change it up a bit on Mondays. If you really suffer from a lack of motivation, especially on Monday mornings, then listen to what your mind and body are telling you and learn to work with your natural rhythm.
Arendt suggested trying to make Monday the shorter day instead of Friday, or coming in an hour later on Monday (if you can) to make the day feel more special and a little easier.
6. Relax on Sunday instead of dreading Monday
Especially on Sundays, make an effort to actively keep your mind on the present moment instead of always anticipating what will come during the week. Spending your entire weekend worrying about what is to come will ruin it, thus leaving you feeling even more stressed come Monday morning.
“Don’t be so focused on the Monday dread that you cut Sunday off at the knees,” Williams advised. “I like to pamper on a Sunday evening; it’s when I do face masks and watch a box set and light a candle. I finally get to enjoy the relaxed state I’ve been striving for since Friday afternoon.”
7. Know your priorities
Monday marks the beginning of a new week, and you should start it with a bang. Get your priorities in order, make your to-do lists, and pursue those goals.
“Sometimes I lie in bed for an extra minute or two in the morning to mentally run through my priorities for the day and make sure I’m making good decisions,” said Dr. Boyes.
Try keeping a notepad next to your bed to quickly go over your priorities before you begin the day. This will keep you on track when your energy levels dip in the afternoon.
Dr. Boyes added, “I have a rule of thumb that I do any tasks worth more than $100 before I do any tasks worth less than that. It helps me keep my priorities straight. I don’t always stick to it, but I aim to. I enjoy the day more if I’m focusing on what’s important rather than just what’s ‘urgent.’”
8. Plan self-care tasks
“Treat yo’ self” is the trend at the moment, and there is no better day to do this than on a Monday, said Williams. She told HelloGiggles, “I do a long yoga class on a Monday because I love it and it helps me feel like I’m starting my week right, but it can also be a chocolate bar, or a cab instead of the bus. Whatever helps you get excited about engaging with your day.”
Dr. Boyes also noted, “Do something on a Monday that feels like a small investment in yourself, for example, if you work with spreadsheets then you might learn a new formula that’s going to be helpful to you. Allow yourself to relax when you’re doing simple tasks, like photocopying. Enjoy those moments when you’re not needing to overly tax your brain.”
9. Have reasonable self-expectations
Having a mile-long to-do list on Monday will only make you feel miserable and de-motivated when you realize you can’t complete it all, and you may even give up all together.
Dr. Boyes said, “Make sure you have reasonable self-expectations for how much you can get done. Sometimes the reason we dread the day is because we’ve got unrealistic expectations of what we can achieve and that results in feeling overwhelmed.”
10. Focus on your health
After a weekend of indulging in junk food, alcohol, or lack of exercise, Mondays are a great day to start fresh and get back into a healthy routine.
Graham said she’s adopted “Meatless Mondays.” She explained to HG, “When we do something healthy for ourselves and the environment, we feel better — mentally and physically. Omitting meat one day a week and eating lots of fruits and vegetables makes us feel good and live longer. Packing a healthy Meatless Monday lunch can also help us not feel so guilty about our over-indulgent weekend.”
Graham also noted that we should all aim to sleep seven to eight hours a night (but you knew that already). “Oftentimes, we are staying up too late on the weekends and then waking up tired on Monday — a sure way to feel more overwhelmed and less enthusiastic about starting a fresh week. Go to bed earlier on Sunday night and set your alarm a little earlier for Monday,” she advised.
11. Change your mindset
Just as New Year’s Eve feels like a fresh start, Mondays can also be the perfect day of the week to start new (minus the fireworks and drinking games). Going into Mondays with a positive attitude will only attract good things and have a snowball effect that lasts the entire week.
“Each Monday is a fresh start, a clean slate, and an opportunity to begin again,” said Graham. “The research shows if we adopt a good habit, or omit a bad habit, on a Monday, we are much more likely to be successful. I teach yoga on Mondays and always remind my students that they’re starting off their week ‘on the right foot’ by doing something healthy and rewarding for themselves.”
12. Practice gratitude
The idea of gratitude lists has been thrown around quite a bit in recent years, but there is a reason why people are always preaching their power. Having a positive mindset begins with being grateful for what you already have, even if that is just the little things. How can you expect more good things to come into your life if you aren’t happy with what you have now?
Graham put it this way: “Each morning you wake up and can physically get out of bed is a gift, a privilege not everybody has. Remembering that is key. Gratitude helps us live a longer, happier, healthier life.”
13. Relieve stress
Mondays are considered to be one of the most stressful days of the week (we can’t all have bosses as amazing as Michael Scott in The Office). Practicing stress-relieving techniques can be the difference between keeping your job and quitting in a haze of anger and fury.
Graham said, “Remind yourself that you’ve been ‘doing Mondays’ your whole life and they are the same length as Fridays. Take mini breaks at work every 90 minutes to recharge and refresh.”
She also told HG that paying attention to your breathing and slowing it down can help you stay calm if you start to fee stressed. “When we are more calm, we feel less overwhelmed. I carry an aromatherapy inhaler in my purse and when I’m feeling depleted, I take a few deep breaths and inhale all the wonderful benefits they have to offer,” she explained.
Monday has gotten a bad reputation as the worst day of the week, but by implementing these expert tips, you can take it from a horrific train wreck to your favorite day of the week — or at least a day that’s manageable.