Dislike Mondays? Try these 13 tips to hit your work week as fresh as a daisy.
MONDAYITIS isn’t a myth. It’s a common ailment that causes stress, lowers mood and reduces productivity. Looming over the start of the working week, it can also spoil our Sundays. The thought of getting back onto the work treadmill seeps into the time that should be spent at our leisure – but only if we let it. Instead, use those precious weekend days to replenish your energy stocks and put you on track for a productive week.
1. Start on Friday
Spend a few minutes creating a weekend plan that creates a pleasurable sense of anticipation. Enjoy the freedom from deadlines – make it a loose list of a few intentions, rather than rigid goals, so the weekend is structured around relaxation.
2. Break your routine
A change really is as good as a holiday, so mentally separate the weekend from the week by changing some routines. If you habitually grab a piece of toast and head out the door, use Saturday to make breakfast a special start to the day. Include healthy proteins and whole grains (but an occasional croissant won’t hurt!). Then take that energy into the coming days.
If your weekday routine is a quick morning shower, luxuriate in a self-indulgent soak on the weekend instead. No bath? Treat yourself to an extra-long shower. Wash that week right out of your hair, scrub yourself top-to-toe with an exfoliating mitt and finish off with an invigorating, cool splash.
3. Put housework on hold
Nothing is more certain to give you the Monday grumps than spending the weekend on housework. Minimise weekend chore time by doing mini-bursts of housework during the week. If necessary, get jobs done on Saturday morning and then let the house take care of itself. Put strategies in place so that the whole family shares the housework load.
4. Disconnect to connect
Technology has become an essential part of modern life, but be aware of how it can drain your peace of mind and your precious free time. Cut back on ‘connected’ time for at least a block of several hours during the weekend. Freedom from ringtones, tweets, beeps and blinking lights, just for a short period, is a breath of fresh air when you spend the week chained to a screen and keyboard.
Cutting loose from a time-sapping technology fixation makes more opportunities for having fun with the most important people in your life. A shared project, games, excursions, picnics and chats will do more for your Monday self than poring over your computer.
5. Push play
It’s hard to turn off and forget about the coming work week through willpower alone, so enlist help. Joining in on childish fun releases stress and negative emotions – it’s impossible to feel pessimistic when you’re laughing. Watching kids play is one of the most mood-boosting things you can do. Their unconstrained glee is catchy, so hang out with kids – your own or someone else’s – at least once over the weekend.
Call in the dogs – they know all there is to know about playing. The family canine may feel a little neglected when you have lots on your plate during the week (cats don’t seem to care), so lavish attention on your furry friend on the weekend. There are physical and psychological benefits to relaxing with animals that last beyond the time you actually spend with them.
6. Be more cat
Evidence is emerging that napping is beneficial for alertness and energy levels, and helps counter the sleep deprivation suffered by one in six Australians. Dr David Hillman, director of the Sleep Health Foundation, advises restricting naps to 20 minutes to avoid sleeping too deeply and feeling groggy when you wake.
7. Iron out the kinks
Weekends are often the only time available for workouts. In addition to vigorous cardio exercise – or instead of it – include a session of stretch-based movement such as yoga to target those muscles that have tensed up during the busy working week.
8. Get lost in a book
If you find yourself dwelling on negative work-related thoughts, reaching for a book is an excellent tactic. Losing yourself in a story is a great way to distance yourself from the stresses of the working week, and can help you relax faster than other pastimes such as listening to music, taking a walk or pouring yourself a cup of tea.
9. Hold the hangover
There are theories that Mondayitis is really the result of over-indulging in food and alcohol over the weekend. The symptoms closely mimic those of a hangover – lethargy, apathy, fatigue, even nausea and headaches. It’s easy to think of junk food and booze as rewards for your working week, but an overdose sets up a vicious cycle: waste Monday, work harder to catch up, over-indulge at the weekend as a reward for a hard week, waste Monday… and around we go. Eat and drink well, but do it wisely.
10. Get outside
Work days spent in artificial lighting and controlled temperatures among artifical materials and noise need an antidote. There’s no denying nature’s therapeutic effects, and outside time should top your list for a serenity-boosting weekend.
I was intrigued by a recent article on the growing Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’. Now being promoted in Australia, it’s more than a mere walk in the park. Accompanied by a guide (there are several accredited ones in Australia), it’s a slow nature wander, absorbing sounds and smells, stopping to listen to the silence and sometimes finishing with a tea ceremony – the perfect idea for a special weekend detox.
11. Do nothing
How long since you consciously sat in stillness and silence and did absolutely nothing? There’s a negative stigma attached to idleness. But freeing your headspace makes room for new ideas, boosts emotional well-being and leaves you clear-headed. Instead of leaping out of bed, spend 10 minutes lying in a state of total stillness.
12. Have a serene Sunday
In your weekend plan, schedule a quiet Sunday rather than packing it with activity and commitments. Use the day to rest and prepare for the week, mentally and physically. Get work and school outfits ready, lay out breakfast and have an early night. Try getting up half an hour earlier on Monday morning to ease your way into the week.
13. Don’t buy into it
Moaning about Mondays is a popular global pastime. There’s an avalanche of jokey office signs and stickers giving momentum to the idea that Monday is worse than any other work day. Ask yourself if you want to nurture this negativity in your life. You may prefer to focus on something positive about your job – a task you enjoy, friendships with your co-workers, and the things the income allows you to do.