Mondays always seem to take us by surprise, despite the fact that there will be one every week in the foreseeable future. If only “having a case of the Mondays” was an excuse to skip work and class, or if society adopted a four-day weekend, thus eliminating “thank god it’s Friday” AND “manic Mondays” from our lives.
A poster of a kitten swinging from a tree branch with “Hang in there!” written under it in a fun font, while adorable, isn’t going to be enough to get you through the Monday blues. Try these five easy ways to carry you through even the roughest of Mondays, right past hump day, and into the groove of your week.
Pick a positive affirmation for your day/week
While the fortune cookies that come with Chinese takeout may seem generic (and the lucky numbers never win the Mega Millions), the advice they offer is a great example of a positive state of mind with which to begin your week. “A goal is just a dream with a deadline,” “Decide what you want and go for it,” and simply “You are a talented individual” are the little boosts you need to push yourself out of weekend mode and put up with the crap Monday often dishes.
Feeling overwhelmed with studying for a crucial exam? “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Center yourself and create an outline of what information needs memorization and understanding, as well as how much time you should allot to that information, and stick to it. Don’t forget to check off each item as you complete it as a way to pat yourself on the back.
Is your boss breathing down your neck about an upcoming meeting? “Your happiness is intertwined with your outlook on life.” If you have the mentality that no matter how much you prepare you will fail, or you’ll never be recognized no matter how hard of a worker you are, you will end up living those untruths. Instead, every time you feel discouraged, tell yourself, “I’m a kick ass employee, and I can take on whatever is coming.” A motivational song – “Eye of the Tiger” and the “Rocky” theme are go-tos – to play a snippet of into your earbuds can reinforce your positive attitude.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with the whole week’s workload
It’s easy to list in your head all the work that needs to be done before you check out for the weekend, then feel completely powerless to the weight of these tasks and collapse like Atlas under the globe.
A Day Runner survey found that 65 percent of people describe themselves as “very” or “insanely” busy. If that were true, wouldn’t most of us be in white padded rooms by now? A University of Michigan study in 2001 found that work productivity decreases by 20 to 40 percent every time you multitask or switch back and forth from task to task. And this was before Facebook and Twitter were invented! Can you imagine how much time we lose trying to do a bit from each of a week’s worth of tasks in one day?
You can come out on the other side of even the craziest of busy weeks if you structure your time and energy early – say, the Friday prior — before you begin your work week on Monday. Temp agency Accountemps found that sales representatives were most productive when they assigned themselves three tasks a day, and they benefitted from the sense of accomplishment brought on by crossing each task off as completed. Following this method, you can track your progress and explain it easily to others, such as a manager or partners in a group project.
Plan ahead for some “me” time
After a long Monday, the last thing you want is to commute home during rush hour, make yourself or your partner dinner, complete any household tasks like walking your dog or doing the dishes, and have just enough time to collapse into bed, knowing tomorrow will be the same shit on a different day.
In 2009, Forbes reported that women, more so than men, have higher levels of stress, often from feelings of responsibility for those around them or in an effort to prove themselves in a world where they are often oppressed. Paying attention to your needs is an important part of stress management, and like any other task on a busy Monday, should be preplanned and focused. That could mean an hour to surf the Web before getting to bed at a reasonable hour, a half hour set aside at a specific time to watch your favorite show, or just 15 minutes every few hours to get up, stretch your legs, turn off your brain, and have a energy-revitalizing snack.
Give yourself a present
Early 90s crime drama “Twin Peaks” has a piece of advice tucked in one episode that if everyone followed, would certainly prevent many arguments, bad moods and lame Mondays: “I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present,” Special Agent Dale Cooper tells the town sheriff. “Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.”
This by no means advocates or endorses your shoe or nail polish addiction. Most of us don’t have the money to devote to a birthday or other holiday-level present every day, but these aren’t the kind of presents Cooper means. A present could be taking 10 minutes to text a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with to say hello. A present could be eating your lunch outside on a sunny day as opposed to at your desk or in a cafeteria with poor florescent lighting. Or a present could be splurging on a café-made coffee or juice on Mondays as a way to start your day off sweet.
Don’t let your work follow you home
If you follow a 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. workday with thoughts every hour or so about an upcoming assignment or the tasks that need accomplishing tomorrow, when do you actually stop working? If you do most of your homework in your dorm room or apartment, how do you separate when you work and when you relax?
Setting boundaries for your work is very important, whether it’s not allowing yourself to pull an all-nighter for an assignment you could have planned ahead to complete on deadline, or not responding to work emails after you leave the office and during the weekend.
People who carry their job on their mind 24/7 not only risk becoming workaholics, they inevitably end up pushing away their friends and loved ones as well as their personal lives for a career, which no mater how satisfying or well-paying, cannot love you back. If you are lucky enough to have a job that pays the bills AND validates your self-worth, you should never take your work for granted. But don’t take yourself for granted in order to go above and beyond professionally. There will always be another Monday.
How do you survive Mondays? Leave us a comment and share!
Written by Lauren Slavin