“If Mondays were shoes, they would be crocs.” We get it, Mondays can be tough.
As the weekend comes to a jarring end and the crushing reality of impending alarms and workloads enters our consciousness on Sunday evening, it’s easy to allow a general feeling of dread to take over as we crawl into bed, wishing 3 day weekends were a thing. Hell, it’s even been estimated that we spend an average of 12 minutes just complaining that it’s Monday again, and studies have found that most workers don’t smile until about 11:16 am on Mondays.
Personally, I’ve never been a morning person. Instead I’m someone who thrives at night, constantly buried in a book, swiping through articles or typing furiously on my laptop at 1 AM from bed. When morning rolls around, I usually find myself groaning into my pillow as I violently flail my hand towards my alarm in a blind attempt to shut off that insufferable noise, mentally promising myself “just 5 more minutes”. Even worse is when I cross paths with that rare breed of human who somehow taps into a borderline insane, bubbling energy source beginning at 5 AM each day while I wince and narrow my eyes in quiet protest of their natural aptitude for mornings, desperately clinging to my cup of coffee.
Of course, being someone who leads a largely freelance professional lifestyle, it’s become increasingly important for me to be pro-active and motivated come morning time, especially on Mondays. And as much as we love to hate on Mondays, there is no denying that the way you begin your week can often set the tone for the days to follow. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best hacks to survive – better yet, thrive – come Monday.
1. Resist the Snooze Button
This may seem obvious, but most of us ignore this advice anyways. If you’re like me (I often shut off my alarm while still mostly asleep, so I don’t even know I’m doing it) you might need to put your alarm out of arm’s reach. If you have to physically get upright to shut it off, you’re accomplishing the hardest step by removing yourself from the warm embrace of your bed. With this out of the way, you’re much less likely to get back into bed and fall back asleep.
Plus, as much as I hate to admit this, most of us can agree that we typically feel worse as we try to wake up after giving in to that “5 more minutes” internal plea. And yes, there is actual evidence to support the psychological benefits of getting up the first time your alarm goes off as it interrupts your REM cycle, meaning that repeated intrusions only ensure your body’s natural rhythm is off. Think of your alarm as a formal commitment; if you break that commitment or push it back, you are more likely to apply that same behaviour pattern to other demands and commitments throughout your day. Instead, start your day off on the right note.
2. Get to the Root of Your Beef with Mondays
Do you have the Monday blues every week? If so, take the time to look internally and determine where that negativity is coming from. Is it directly correlated to your job? Is it a co-worker or manager? Is it your specific schedule format on Mondays?
Whatever the case, actively clarifying what the root cause of that dread and negativity each week will allow you to face it head on, and ideally disarm it (or at least determine what steps you can take to move in a more positive direction). Each week, determine something simple you can do to inflict positive change on that dynamic (no matter how small). This allows you to take charge of the situation, instead of feeling like a constant victim of the Monday blues.
3. Plan Ahead
If you neglect unpleasant, nagging tasks on Friday with the countdown to the weekend in mind, only to then be faced with those tasks (and likely an added time constraint) on Monday, you are setting yourself up for a really tough day. Instead, try to work through your toughest remaining tasks on Friday, to allow yourself a relatively clean slate to work with at the start of each week. Knowing that you don’t have a crushing, procrastinated workload looming over you as soon as you step into the office, should help to drastically reduce any Monday-specific anxiety.
Also take the time on Sunday morning to make a mental note of what you’re going to wear and pack your bag (or lunch) before you go to bed. The more steps you take care of the night before, the more smoothly you can expect your morning to go.
4. Focus on the Positive
Don’t just write out your to-do lists; take some time on Monday mornings to write down a quick list of things you are excited for that week. It could be plans with friends, an event of some sort, or something as simple as reading a new chapter of your book or a new episode of your favourite TV show — whatever comes to mind, write it down in a journal and allow yourself the chance to actively acknowledge and internalize that positivity as you start your week.
5. Respect Your Work/Life Balance
We are a generation of people who are always plugged-in and connected, which means we have unrelenting access to our professional lives even while we are at home. While it may be tempting to check work emails, texts or voicemails over the weekend as we hear the resounding ‘ping’ of incoming alerts, breaking up our personal time with reminders of what’s waiting for us on Monday might only add to our assumed dread as the weekend ends. It can also create mounting feelings of resentment if we feel that work constantly cuts into or takes over our personal time.
If you can, try to genuinely separate yourself from work over the weekends and allow yourself time to rewind and reset, to approach the next week with a clear mind and fresh eyes.
6. Organize Your Workload
I am admittedly OCD and have an undying penchant for organized lists and productivity tools. This makes me a pretty task-oriented person, meaning that I treat my planner like my bible. Of course, there is a method to this madness, and organizing your to-do list can actually make a massive difference for your subsequent productivity. And yes, writing things down actually makes a difference, as this helps to formalize your daily work-related goals and requirements. For my tried and true organizational hacks to help you organize your Monday workload, click here.
7. Tackle a Morning Workout
Admittedly, this isn’t always for the faint of heart, but few things work to jump-start your morning ritual (especially on a Monday) like an early workout followed by a cup of coffee. There are a few benefits to this; not only does it provide a natural energy and endorphin boost, but critical hormone levels are elevated in the morning, it will naturally boost your metabolic rate and it will ensure you can’t skip the workout later.
To make this a consistent staple in your routine, find a workout regime you truly enjoy and can actively get behind. For some of us that will be strength training, for others it may be cardio or a structured class. Whatever it is, find what works for you and make it a habit. For me, my AM workout of choice is kickboxing. There’s no way Monday can kick my ass if I’m busy kicking Bob’s ass for an hour, literally.