Make Your Monday Suck Less
Mondays are inevitable and they carry a bad rep. But they don’t have to be that way. As you head into the busy fall season, try these tips to start off your week for a healthier, and more mindful you.
Monday’s are bad enough, but the first Monday after a time change can be a real drag. We tend to stay up later on weekend nights and sleep in during the day, really messing up our circadian rhythms and making us a little less than pleasant when the alarm goes off on Monday morning.
It would be perfect if we could slowly ease into the morning craziness. You may not be able to avoid Monday, but there are things you can do to make it suck less. Here are a few ways to help make the weekend-to-weekday transition a more positive, healthy reality.
1. Make a Monday to-do list on Friday
I am a big fan of to-do lists. It’s the last thing I do every day. That’s right, the last thing. Take 10 minutes at the end of the day and list out what you need to do the next day. This is especially important on a Friday because everything is still fresh in your mind. Capture it now and you’ll be off to a running start on Monday morning. “If you start the week without this list, you’ll have to brainstorm on Monday morning about the lingering projects from last week, which could be tough when you’re sluggish. You’ll already be starting off a step behind,” says Samantha Ettus, a Los Angeles–based entrepreneur and the author of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction.
2. Create a Morning Ritual
What puts you in a good mood? You could do a few cat-like stretches before getting out of bed, make a really good cup of coffee or tea, meditate for 5 minutes, cuddle with your furbaby. My Amazon Echo wakes me with a happy good morning, then I have “mommy and me” time with my furbaby Stumpers. She’ll get on my chest, and I scratch and rub her face, chin, ears, and she purrs happily. It’s quick, usually 2-3 minutes, because she wants to be fed, but it’s a nice way to start the day. Don't forget to be grateful! I always thank my body for its excellent health while I’m getting ready, and I thank the day for all the magnificent things that are to happen. This definitely puts me in a more positive state of mind for the day. After I’m dressed, I make some tea and meditate. “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. What I like most about my morning ritual is how centered I feel, and more in control of my day.
3. Stick to a Sleep Routine
Research suggests that staying up late on the weekend can make it harder to fall and stay asleep during the week. And trying to catch up on your sleep on Sunday can lead to feeling even more tired on Monday. The best rule of thumb is to stick with a consistent sleep schedule all week long. Try to stay within an hour of your normal sleep and wake times and, if needed, take your nap between 1:00pm and 4:00pm and for no longer than 30 minutes.
4. Grab Some Natural Vitamin D
Perking up your morning might be as simple as getting a dose of natural light. Open your shades, tend a garden, or take a walk. Being out in nature, even for five minutes, can give you a happiness high, according to a 2018 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology. If you can’t get outside in the morning, change your indoor space to bring the light to you. Move your computer closer to a window.
5. Write a Reminder
Again, I’m a big fan of lists, and the good old-fashioned way of pen to paper. Nothing beats it. All too often we hit the “snooze” on electronic calendar or task list reminders ::raises hand:: Guilty! However, I know I’ll be rushed at times in the morning, who isn’t? And it helps to have a sticky note on my door reminding me that I need to grab the cupcakes out of the fridge, or did I remember to turn off the curling iron? Writing out your most crucial morning tasks and strategically placing reminders in an easy-to-reach location is a simple way of taking the chaos out of your morning.
6. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Yes, it’s true, eating a healthy and balanced breakfast is good for you, good for your health, good for your memory and concentration, and the list goes on. That doesn’t mean you have to eat as soon as you get up, but a good rule of thumb is to try and eat within the first hour, no longer than 2 hours. You can make grab and go no-cook oats. Prep 5 jars on Sunday for the week. Whip up a protein shake with fruit and some greens. Try oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts, or whole-wheat sourdough toast and avocado, with fruit and yogurt on the side. There are several healthy choices that can be fit into your morning routine.
7. Wear Something That Makes You Feel Good
This is my go-to when I need a mood lifter. You know how good you feel in your favorite power suit, or that blouse that looks perfect on you. And if you're not limited by a certain dress code, then wear what makes you feel good! Life's too short to wear boring clothes after all!! Helpful tip: pick out your outfit the night before along with the accessories so you avoid a wardrobe crisis Monday morning. And don’t forget to check it for wrinkles – does it need to be ironed, or can you hang it in the bathroom and allow the steam heat from a hot shower to reduce the wrinkles?
Monday - can't live without it!! Hopefully some of these tips will help lift that Monday morning fog and start your day chaos free!