After a long week, having a Sunday Funday was just what you needed. Maybe it was grabbing brunch with friends or inviting your family over for dinner. Or, maybe you went on an adventure, like hiking or taking the kids to an amusement park. Or maybe you even went to church.
Whatever you planned for the weekend — you were looking forward to it. Even better, because you made a plan — the day went off without a hitch. As such, you’re happy, relaxed, and enjoying life.
Eventually, Sunday afternoon gives way to evening. And then it hits you — tomorrow is Monday.
Suddenly, everything you enjoyed about today is gone. And, the only thing you’re worried about is how terrible tomorrow is going to be — or at least, “I have so much work!”
With these thoughts, you spend the remainder of Sunday evening fretting about Monday and wishing that it was already Thursday night.
To be fair, you’re not the only one feeling a little blue. According to a YouGov poll, more than 4,000 US adults found that 58% of people reported that Monday was their least favorite day of the week. But why?
Well, obviously, it’s the end of your weekend or maybe even vacation. Because of that, you’ve got to get back to reality instead of having fun or relaxing. Many other reasons may resonate with you — like maybe your workplace is toxic, or you have rude co-workers or a micromanaging boss.
You may also feel unfulfilled at work or have an incredibly hectic week coming up. And it could also be because these thoughts about. Monday have been ingrained in all of us. For example, having a “case of the Mondays” like Peter Gibbons from “Office Space.”
No matter what the reason may be, Mondays can be a drag. Thankfully, there are ways to beat the Monday blues so that you can have a productive week ahead.
1. Know what you’re doing (by planning on Friday).
“We tend to have more energy and momentum in the morning and at the start of any project,” says time management and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam. “That means that Monday morning can be prime time for focused work.”
“You won’t have to waste this energy deciding on Monday morning — since you’ll know what you’ll tackle on Friday. Moreover, when you know Monday is coming, you can stop ruminating about it all weekend long,” she adds. “In turn, there might be some relief from some of the Sunday scaries if you do that.”
2. Do something physical on Sunday evenings.
Personally, I’ve never hated Mondays — per see — though I have occasionally gotten anxious on Sunday evenings. Usually, this was when everything calmed down for the day. Without anything to distract me, my attention shifts to Monday and everything I’ve got to do. Reading usually fixes everything for me.
But on days when reading doesn’t work — one strategy that has helped is engaging in some sort of physical activity.
If you’re struggling with Sunday scaries, working out a little helps overcome this fear — whether it’s going for a walk, yoga, or stretching. Why does this work? It has been proven that exercise can help ground you when you’re anxious. And, in many cases, it’s more effective than trying to talk yourself down.
What’s more, a deep diaphragmatic breath can activate the relaxation response, allowing you to cope better with Sunday nights and Monday mornings.
3. Create a morning ritual.
“Our brains love routine, and the less work your brain has to do, the happier it will be,” says Colleen D. Cira, PsyD, founder and executive director of the Cira Center for Behavioral Health in Chicago. “Routines are also a great way to conserve energy for more complicated parts of the day and may give you some alone time. Additionally, you can decide how you want to approach the day,” she explains.
The best way to take advantage of this is by adopting a morning routine that you don’t vary. This is a healthy habit or activity that makes you feel good and puts you in a good mood. Some suggestions might include:
- Brewing a really good cup of coffee or tea. I love a fresh-squeezed orange juice
- Having breakfast. This can be with yourself or your family
- Going to your favorite exercise class — or walking early before work
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Listening to an inspiring podcast during your commute
When your Monday alarm clock sounds, you’ll likely feel less dread and more positivity when you add something pleasant to your morning schedule.
4. Ask, “What Would Dolly Parton Do?”
“It doesn’t exactly have to be Dolly,” notes a previous Calendar article. “…come on, she’s a national treasure.”
Regardless, looking at things from a different perspective can be empowering. As a result, when you see a situation from the perspective of someone else, you gain a better understanding of it.
“Consider your favorite role model, but use their perspective to gain insight,” adds the Calendar article. By doing so, you are able to think outside the box and gain a different perspective.
As an example — to enhance your leadership skills, ask, “What would Richard Branson or Barack Obama do?”
When you are facing adversity, ask, “What would Oprah, Nick Vujicic, or Bethany Hamilton do?”
5. Make time for people and for play on Mondays, too.
Everybody’s work is different, and everybody’s time off is different, says Eve Ekman, Director of Training at the University of California Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. However, what really makes time off different from work for most people is that we can choose what to do and who to do it with when we’re off.
In Ekman’s view, social connections are one of the greatest rewards we can give ourselves, which is why weekends are so fulfilling. According to research, social interaction is such an important motivator for human behavior because it’s based on neural circuitry.
Ekman’s advice? You shouldn’t live in a world of polarities, where weekends are fun and the work week is hard. Make time to play and be with people you like every day.
It could be as simple as having coffee with a coworker, having dinner with a friend, or talking about something you enjoy with a loved one “It feels good,” says Ekman. In addition, it lets us know, “oh yeah, we do fun things on Mondays, too.”
Nevertheless, it is important to decide what constitutes “play.” For some people, lunch dates with friends are enjoyable, but for others, it makes them feel overscheduled.
6. Get things done.
Again. Most of us, we’re most productive in the AM. Usually, thanks to the circadian rhythm, a majority of us are most alert and energetic until 11 A.M. However, getting rolling right away is still quite challenging on Mondays.
Despite this, your brain and you will be better off if you begin some real, meaningful work sooner than later. In other words, don’t let Monday’s first few hours be spent catching up on mundane housekeeping stuff. I’m talking about checking emails, writing lists, and talking to colleagues about weekends.
Instead, get started on something larger and more important right away. Preferably, this would be your most important priorities.
Overall, having a small win can boost your focus, motivation, and overall satisfaction. This is a concept known as the “Progress Principle.” And it’s also a simple yet effective way to practice purposeful productivity.
Of course, just because you have something scheduled doesn’t mean you can avoid procrastination. In times like these, gain some momentum on working on something lighter. For example, adding items to your calendar or returning a phone call.
7. Schedule preparation-heavy meetings later in the week.
There’s no doubt that most of us can’t predict when our biggest meetings will take place. Whenever possible, though, try to avoid scheduling your big, prep-heavy meetings on Mondays.
It’s one thing to conduct a weekly progress check-in. But a meeting focused on strategy? That requires a lot of preparation beforehand. For those types of meetings, I would recommend saving it for later in the afternoon — or even later in the week. By doing so, you won’t have to scramble around Sunday night to make sure everything’s ready.
However, I worked for a company for years that scheduled the most important, can’t-miss-meeting on Monday morning at 7:00 AM. It was brutal — but I cannot deny that we all got going early and were at the top of our game at that time every Monday — and just that one thing took care of everything else.
8. Create a Monday playlist.
Ideally, you want music that gets you amped or puts you in a better mood. I’ve also found that just simply creating such a playlist is beneficial since I can’t wait to listen to it.
9. Limit your time on social media.
“I encourage people to limit their social media exposure on Sunday nights and Monday mornings, as there tends to be a very negative attitude about Mondays that often sets the tone for the day with people posting about how much they dread the day and how much caffeine/alcohol they will ‘need’ to simply get through the day,” said Becky Stuempfig, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Encinitas, California. “That kind of constant negativity, even if it is presented as humor, tends to be contagious and can leave us feeling drained.”
Boundaries can also be created around the use of technology in other ways. For example, designate a time during the day to go through your inbox if you tend to get overwhelmed by the volume of emails that accumulate on Mondays. You can also sort your emails into folders like “needs action” and “review later” to make the task easier.
10. Use affirmations.
You can also use affirmations to help get over your Mondays. The key? Speak something that you believe will boost your mood.
- “It’s going to be a great day.”
- “There is nothing I can’t handle — because I’m awesome!”
- “Good things are heading my way today.”
- I say, “Power to the People and the People is Me.” (That may sound cray-cray to you, but it’s worked for me for years. So does looking at great artwork or happy photos like the feature of this post.)
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what affirmation you choose. Again, it just has to make you feel good and empowered.
11. Dress the part.
Whether you are working from home or in the office, you should dress the part. I get that it’s acceptable to wear casual clothes or even your pajamas when working remotely. However, maintaining your appearance will boost your self-esteem and make you more productive.
Furthermore, some studies have shown that what you wear can have an impact on your performance.
12. Make Mondays rewarding.
You don’t have to splurge — especially if you’re on a budget. But, you can treat yourself to a little something on Mondays. I always have a treat on Monday. Today it’s AirHead Extremes — a giant bag to share with the whole office.
Let’s say that you have to travel to your place of work. Consider visiting your favorite barista for a cappuccino on the way in to work. It may not seem like much. But, it gives you something to look forward to on Monday morning.
13. Use breaks to schedule something fun.
A simple way to recharge and combat a sedentary lifestyle is to take frequent breaks throughout the day. Typically, that means actually getting up from your desk to stretch or go for a walk. However, you can also use this downtime to schedule something fun.
The planning part of going on vacation, for example, is half the fun. As such, during a break, you could search TripAdvisor for vacation ideas. Even if you can’t go on an international trip any time some, you could still search for weekend ideas. This could be everything from restaurant suggestions to day trip excursions.
14. Get to the root cause of your Monday blues.
Change might be needed if you find yourself dreading Mondays. Of course, that’s easier said than done. I mean, if you can’t stand your job, quitting is a challenge when you have financial responsibilities like a mortgage, car payment, or student loan debt.
On the other hand, if just a few things about your job make you unhappy, you may enjoy your job more. For instance, asking if you could work from home on Mondays so that you aren’t starting the week off fighting traffic. Or, if there’s a colleague who is toxic, see if you could move away from them. And, if the job isn’t challenging or fulfilling enough, seek out tasks that are.
If you’re not exactly where to start or cure your Monday blues, share your troubles with your coworkers. Besides having someone to vent to, they might have actionable solutions for you to try.
15. Change your mindset.
“None of these things will cure the Sunday Scaries if you don’t also change your thinking,” writes Jessica Krampe previously for Calendar. “You have to stop seeing Monday as a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and you have to start looking at it for all of its possibilities: the opportunity it presents for a good start, the opening it gives you for a productive week.”
It is interesting to note that people believe Mondays are bad even though there is no difference in mood between Mondays and Fridays. As such, since that’s normal, they expect Fridays and Saturdays to be good.
So, how can you change your mindset regarding Mondays? Well, you could declutter your workspace or work on a passion project. You could also schedule something to look forward to, like going out to lunch or watching your favorite TV show or sports team on Monday night.
Image Credit: Photo by RODNAE Productions; Pexels; Thank you!