You know the feeling — you’re wrapped up in bed, cozy as can be, and just when you’ve found the perfect position…boom. Your alarm rings and you’re jolted out of your peaceful slumber. It’s Monday morning and you’ve got a full week ahead of you. Whether you have work, class, or other commitments to juggle, Monday morning can make you feel glum. Can’t seem to shake the Monday morning blues? Here are a few simple ways to give yourself a boost.
Start your day with gratitude
When faced with another long week of responsibilities, it’s easy to focus on the negatives. “Great, another day at the office,” you might think, “I wish I could be anywhere else.” As unlikely as it may seem, it’s possible to accept — even love — Mondays. All it takes is a simple mindset shift.
As you’re getting ready for the day, make a mental list of all the things you’re grateful for. How many can you think of? Try to list off as many things as possible. The more specific, the better — there are so many little joys that are easy to forget about (the nice flowers in your yard or the smell of freshly-brewed coffee).
Make an effort to adjust your thinking patterns, too. We tend to think things like I have to go to school or I have to get groceries. Thoughts like these will only bring you down. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, put a positive spin on your complaints.
Replace “I have to” with “I get to” whenever negative thoughts rear their ugly head. Instead of “I have to go to work,” think “I get to go to work and earn money.” Instead of “I have to clean the house,” think “I get to clean and live in a nice, tidy environment.” It’s a subtle shift, but powerful nonetheless. Making this a habit can completely transform your outlook.
Set yourself up for success
The blaring alarm is only the beginning. The real stress sets in when you’re scrambling to get dressed, searching for your keys, and grabbing a small breakfast on your way out the door. From then on, the tone of your day is marked by chaos and disorder.
Give your Monday-morning self a break! Spend Sunday nights preparing for what’s to come. Pack your work bag, fix your lunch, and lay your clothes out for the next day. It’s a simple (and obvious) strategy, but so few people abide by it. Why subject yourself to panic when you can prevent it with 15 minutes of preparation? When you set yourself up for success the night before, Monday mornings will be a lot more pleasant. Who knows — you might even look forward to starting your day.
Ignore your boss
Yes, you read that correctly. Allow yourself some space! If you find yourself responding to work emails and taking work calls on your weekends, it’s time to establish some boundaries.
When work follows you into the weekend, you aren’t giving yourself the break you need. Limit your work talk to the weekdays. What if your phone rings on a Saturday? What if your inbox starts to fill up by Sunday afternoon? Let your phone ring. Leave your emails unopened. The weekends are your time to use as you please. If you work irregular hours, the same applies to you. Uphold your boundaries on any of your days off, no matter when in the week they fall.
Though boundaries will do wonders for beating the Monday blues, don’t disappear high and dry. True inaccessibility is unrealistic — time-sensitive issues can arise, after all. Instead of cutting off all contact, find ways to let your boss and coworkers know that you aren’t available. Set up an automatic email responder or change your voicemail message. If anyone contacts you on your days off, they’ll be informed that you won’t answer until the workweek begins.
Don’t sleep in
It’s all too appealing to sleep until noon on off days. Here’s the bad news — you’re just hurting yourself in the long run. Yes, you might feel relaxed at the time, but what you’re really doing is ruining your sleep schedule.
We’re creatures of habit. Sleep is no different. When you wake up at the same time every day, your body adjusts its natural rhythms to adapt. If you’re waking up at 6:30 a.m. each morning, your internal clock will eventually wake you up at 6:30 a.m. on its own. When your sleep is irregular for a couple of days, though, it’s much harder to establish a pattern.
Should you wake up in the wee hours of the morning? Not necessarily. Just try to wake up earlier than you’d like. If you tend to sleep in until 10:30 a.m., force yourself to get up by 9 a.m. If you tend to get up at 9 a.m., try to get up by 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m.
The key isn’t waking up at the crack of dawn — it’s simply pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. When your Monday morning alarm rings, you’ll have an easier time rolling out of bed and getting a jump on your day.
Still feel glum no matter what you try? Lace-up your shoes and get outside. When all else fails, exercise will give you the shot of endorphins you need to power through the day.
Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Wake up an hour early and go for a run, go for a walk around the block, or do some basic stretches. Don’t get down on yourself if what you’re doing is minimal. Movement of any kind is better than nothing.
Maintain a mobile mindset throughout the rest of your day, too. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to that new cafe down the street. Take a standing break once every hour. Soon enough, Mondays won’t feel so bad after all.