Through the week, you own Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday like a boss. You get things done, are well-rested, and even during the mid-week slump, you can see the finish line in sight. Then, TGIF has you all over your PJs at 7 pm for Scandal marathon and holy crap–life couldn’t be better! Soon after, #caturday purrs along and you’re a smitten kitten. The sun is probably shining and there’s a skip in your step that people are totally digging. You’re glowing, feeling the best you have all week.
Some hours later, Sunday creeps in (and a slow-building panic), and you’re still good but the closer it gets to bedtime, the faster your thoughts race towards what will be the start of the week. You blink, for like, a second, and suddenly, it’s Monday AGAIN.
I know the feelings: dread, reluctance, a sudden desire for dark chocolate. Before Sunday’s over, you’re done with Monday because, from experience, it’s usually the most relentless, emotionally stressful day of the week. Want some good news? With a few tweaks to your routine, you can actually start looking forward to Mondays—and maybe even embracing the one day you dread the most. Here’s how to make it happen:
Reset your expectations
Before you drag yourself out of bed, try adjusting your expectations of what Monday entails and the day might pleasantly surprise you. For example, every Monday when I wake up, I know I have a ridiculous list of crap to do and without even grabbing my coffee, I’m dreading life. But I don’t tell myself “on the bright side, I’m lucky enough to have the responsibility of this crap,” or “I’m just grateful” and “the silver lining is…”
What I do say is, “hey, you—today *might* suck, but (and here’s the important part) IT MIGHT NOT! Give Monday a friggin’ chance. It’s just another day. You seriously have a 1 in 7 chance of having a bad day, whether it’s the start of the week or the end. And if you get through it with a realist attitude, you’ll naturally see the silver lining without forcing it. So hey, Monday: Under-sell, over-deliver. Got me?
Force a smile until it sticks
Here is a little trick I’ve learned when running long distance races. When my legs and lungs have shut down, I smile as big as I possibly can. As cheesy as it sounds, smiling diverts that negative stream of thoughts and actually creates happiness! By forcing your brain to do something opposite of what you’re feeling, it’s nearly impossible to dwell on all those sad feelings. It’s like blowing bubbles while crying or whistling with crackers in your mouth (does that count?).
Plus, when you’re smiling, people respond with positive energy and more smiling (usually). When everyone is smiling, Monday suddenly feels awesome! Have you ever forced a smile first thing Monday morning? Try it. Although, your cats will think you’ve gone cray, do it anyway. Your mood, and attitude, might improve so you’ve got nothing to lose except that sour pout.
Make a reasonable Monday to-do list on Sunday night
Monday has a bad rep for a reason. It’s the first day in the work week (for most of us), we’re tired from weekend outings, extra (or lack of) sleep, and Netflix binging, and maybe there’s too much rattling around in the brain to chill the night before. I get it. The good news is, you can totally kick those blues in the behind with a little rescheduling..
Start by prioritizing Monday’s tasks the night before in order of importance. Once you write your to-do list down, then nix what isn’t a “must-do” to lift the burden, if only just a little. Have an appointment you can reschedule? How about a grocery trip you can move to Tuesday and get takeout for Monday’s meal? The point of this is to lighten the load wherever you can and delegate those things to other, less draining days.
Visualize how awesome you’ll feel when you crush it on Monday
Once you’ve prioritized, it’s time to close your eyes and daydream a little. No, not about sandy beaches and crystal waters, though, I’m with you there. This is where you want to forgo the negative thoughts of “it’s going to be too hard” or “I’ll never get through that meeting,” or whatever has you so stressed about Monday, and replace with more positive thoughts.
See yourself giving that presentation you’ve been dreading, but with a positive attitude and outcome. Think of how it will feel when you’re finished. Are you relieved? Do you feel proud of yourself for sticking with it? Focus on the positive thoughts and images and lose the worst-case-scenarios. Very rarely will you need to know how to save the world from an invasion of alien robots smack dab in the middle of your presentation, so don’t even stress. It will be OK.
Ultimately, you’re in control of Monday, not the other way around. Sure, you slept through your alarm, you’re running late for wherever you need to be, you spilled coffee all over your new pants, and you’re still not settled into the new Daylight Savings situation. You can’t control the day’s events completely but you can control how you react to them. Laugh it off, use your free time to search for delightful animal photos, resolve to come to a truce with Monday because eventually, you will meet again. So just accept it and move on. Remember: The nicer you are to Monday, the nicer Monday will be to you.
Make your list of Monday wins
Every Monday, find moments in the day that are going well and put all your focus on those good times. If your coffee was hot, can I get a Hallelujah? If your car wasn’t stuck in seven feet of snow? Raise the roof! If you had a tiny win in work, school, or life in general, say holla! Then write down the goodness that happened that day to remind you, before the following Monday, how not-so-bad it all was. The truth is, when you’re settling in at the end of your Monday, you’ll look back at all the funkiness and think “it wasn’t that bad.” And if it was? Hide under the covers with Netflix until it’s over. Hey, post-work Netflix bliss goes on the not-so-bad list, too.