The start of a new week can feel overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be. Here we look at how you can embrace Mondays, and take back control of the days ahead
CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Happiful
We’ve all been there, right? You’ve enjoyed a relaxing weekend and are cosying up in bed, ready for sleep… then it hits you. It’s Monday tomorrow. Your to-do list for the week pops into your head and you start to feel stressed about everything that needs to get done.
Cue a sleepless night, and you feeling exhausted when your alarm rings.
Even if you love your job, Mondays can feel hard. In fact, a study carried out by consultancy Mercer found that workers are more likely to take time off, or be ill, at the start of the week, with 35% of all sick days falling on a Monday.
So, how can we reframe our thinking around Mondays and break the cycle? Life coach Jessica Goodchild says it’s time for us to recognise what our ‘story’ about Mondays is, and change it.
“Being aware of how you’re thinking can highlight the issue and help you to put a plan in place to help solve it,” says Jessica. “Ask yourself who can help. What do you need in order to tackle it? How can you prepare? If you don’t enjoy your work, what can you do to change that?
“Changing the story can empower you to take control and, most of all, take action. What new story do you need to tell yourself to make Monday’s meaning more comfortable?”
Try journaling with these questions and, when you’re ready, add in the following actions to help reinforce your new, positive story about Mondays.
Planning your week may sound simple, but it can have a powerful effect in reducing stress. If you work Monday to Friday, try writing your to-do list for the following week on Friday, before you finish. This can help you to set boundaries and leave work at work.
Jessica says planning ahead can help you to be more proactive when Monday comes around. “If Sunday evenings give you anxiety, get yourself ready for Monday morning by planning your clothes, lunch, bag etc. before you go to sleep. Go to bed at a reasonable time – feeling fresh and prepared will make Mondays more manageable.”
Jessica also recommends journaling about something you’re grateful for, to help the brain focus on the positives. “Doing this on a Sunday evening, before bed, will help get your mindset focused in a positive way before Monday has even arrived.”
Enjoy moments of pause
If your Mondays feel like a whirlwind, they are bound to make you feel anxious. Try to plan in pockets of calm. This could be enjoying a slower morning than usual, having a mindful cup of tea before diving into your inbox, or even doing some meditation during your lunch break.
Give your body a chance to decompress throughout the day, too. Head out for a walk or a gym class in the evening, to help release any built-up tension.
Schedule something to look forward to
Make Monday a day you truly look forward to by scheduling in something fun. “The brain loves a reward, and will happily move towards it,” says Jessica. “Plan something that will make you feel good – a call with a friend, a date, a yoga class – something that is nourishing or nurturing, to reward you for making it through the day in once piece.”
Do something kind for someone else
A sure-fire way to stop us becoming overwhelmed is to put the focus firmly on someone else. Try to make Monday a day for showing kindness towards others. Why not bring in cakes for your colleagues, or start your day by telling someone how much they mean to you?
Small acts of kindness like these have a ripple effect, and can make Mondays more enjoyable for everyone.