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Mondays. Whether your work week begins on an actual Monday or whatever day of the week your work “Monday” is, shifting our mindset to look forward to this day plays a significant role in the overall quality of our everyday lives. Originating from the Middle English word monedai, from Old English mōndæg, contraction of mōnandæg “Monday,” literally “day of the moon”, some explain this defintion to mean it is the day of the week for stepping into our true potential, intuition and emotions. Because of its ethmology, it certainly would not be a bad idea to be conscious about the tone we set as we begin our work week as it will play a role in how the rest of the week unfolds. However, if we look even deeper into the Latin origins, the day simply means, the day after Sunday.
With all of that said, (I do love digging into word dissection :)), from the mid-twentieth to current twenty-first century cultures, Monday has widely been accepted in a negative light. Admittedly, when you are having to go or do something you do not want to do, the day that such mandatory expectations are required is a day we may not want to celebrate, but here is where our free-will and determination to design the life we want to live comes into play.
Today I would like to share with you 10, acutally 11 ways for making Monday a day you genuinely look forward to each week. Yes, it is possible. Let’s take a look at the list.
0. Stop letting the culture tell you how to feel about Monday
Repeatedly, our culture tells us through memes, through media headlines, through film and television that Monday is to be dreaded. So much so, to dance out the door to work or school with enthusiasm is something others may scoff at, and we might not want to revel in too loudly for fear of upsetting someone with our glee. Enough. This is our life. Not one day is guaranteed; therefore, making the most of each one is to know how to live well.
Our mind believes what we expose it to repeatedly as truth even if said ‘truth’ is untrue. To shift what it believes is a conscious and plausible choice at that, as well as a healthy choice especially when we are shifting from a negative perspective to a positive one.
Certainly, there have been jobs that when Monday rolled around we were not looking forward to going (I worked as a student-janitor during my pre-college, just graduated from high-school days, not fun, but the crew made it all the more bearable); however, our job as individuals is to build a life in which we enjoy the work and the life we wake up to each day – and that includes Monday. Master your mind, and you change your world.
1. Be clear about what the week ahead has in store
Sunday evening or Friday before you leave the office, look at the work week ahead of you and make sure, number one – it is feasible; and number two, prepare yourself so there are not surprises. Not only are you looking at your work obligations but your life obligations from personal health, beauty, fitness, etc. – appointments, to the amount of time for travel each appointment will require. Make sure you give yourself enough time to do so without a rush, and if that has not been given, call to adjust in order to preventatively reduce any stress that may be incurred.
2. Keep similar sleep patterns during the weekend as you do the work week
When we experience just one sleepless night in which we are awake for hours and wake up having only had a couple of hours of Zzzzzs, or wake up in the middle of the night only to not be able to go back to sleep, we are reminded that an adequate amount of sleep makes a tremendous difference in our patience, clarity of mind to make the best decisions and ability to remain calm when hiccups arise throughout our day with strangers, colleagues or our friends and family.
The closer we can parallel our weekend sleep hours with our work hours, the better. As someone who goes to bed early and wakes up early, enjoying the early hours of the morning, I look forward to my early Saturday and Sundays. If I need to sleep in a bit more, I let myself, but it is rare and not for long as my body has become acclimated to begina ble to acquire the amount of sleep it needs. I am refreshed and I want to start the day, even if I go at a much slower pace. Let your body tell you what it needs. Respect what it asks for, and do not apologize for letting your body rest once you get into a regular sleep pattern that works even if it goes against those you are spending the weekend with. You may just make it easier for someone else who wants to do the same thing.
3. Schedule something you cannot wait to experience
This week my Monday continues on with the kitchen renovations which means I am extremely excited for this Monday to begin. However, I understand that I do not want such an event to be occurring every Monday, but the idea is to schedule work tasks, activities, get-togethers, etc. that you look forward to on a Monday. The complete opposite of point #1 – guard your schedule carefully and fuel yourself well as much as you can for a strong and enjoyable week. This includes adding regular fun and exciting events to the start of the week.
4. Put the previous week to bed (on Friday preferrably)
Before you leave the office, answer all necessary emails so that they are not weighing on your mind. If you need to, turn on an automated email response should anyone try to contact you over the weekend letting them know you will respond by the end of the day on Monday or first thing Tuesday giving yourself a bubble of breathing room. It is better to under-promise than over-promise. Leave your desk organized, your desktop on your computer as well, and walk away knowing that when you return on Monday, you have a fresh start to a new week waiting to begin.
5. Read, watch, do something Sunday evening/afternoon that lifts you up
Make sure you have a leisurely or inspiring book or article to read Sunday evening as you wind down from the weekend. Or perhaps watch a documentary or a film that gives you hope and calm. Try not to watch anything that increases your blood pressure (there will be enough of that when the work week begins whether within your job or by watching/reading the news), or even better, spend the Sunday afternoon/evening with people you love or who’s company you enjoy.
6. Don’t over-schedule your work day on Monday
Granted, you will have to adhere to your normal work expectations, but for example, I have intentionally never scheduled regular office hours for my students on a Monday, and especially not a Monday morning. I don’t even need to know what the weekend will be like to know I will not want to be dealing with unknowns the moment I walk in the building. This is called preventative scheduling, or more generally, healthy boundaries. Allowing yourself to know what to expect so you can prepare for it will help you ease into the work week with your best foot forward – fully prepared, your emotional energy has not been taxed right out of the gate, and you will set the tone for a week that has great potential to be wonderful.
The ultimate goal is to work in a field that excites us. I genuinely look forward to my work days when I am my own boss. For example, today I cannot wait to step back into my office and get to work on producing the new podcast episode, spend some time writing more entries for my manuscript, and generally just tend to every day blog business. Choose a career that gives you purpose, taps into your talents and while you will be working (unlike what the saying purports – never work a day in your life if you pursue a job you love), you are certainly going to have more days of enjoyment than not.
7. Schedule a rewarding and invigorating workout for Monday
Our physical body and our mental body can become fatigued as the week draws on, so schedule your most rewarding and perhaps taxing workout for Monday. Whether it is in the morning (preferred if your schedule allows) or afternoon/evening, stick to it and you will be glad you did as the work week churns into full gear and schedules may have to unwantingly change. As well, you will have a wonderful, unaided night of deep sleep. A win-win.
One exercise option I revel in during the warmer months is paddling with Norman (see below). We make sure to go for a walk first – all three of us (Oscar too) – and then Norman is more than willing to hop on the board with me as I get an arm and ab workout in. As this involves two activities, it takes more time than a usual walk, so tending to it early in the week often is the most successful way to incorporate it into my schedule frequently.
8. Wrap the weekend up well, and for at least one other person also
As you design your evening and/or Sunday night rituals, consider how you can offer appreciation or affection or acknowledgment to someone in your world. Knowing you are loved by someone – a friend, a family member, a romantic partner – is a priceless comfort. And while we may feel confident and loved after the weekend we have just had, simply remembering to extend a sincere outreach to someone else is never a bad idea.
9. Turn off the tech entirely or significantly during the weekend
Whether you enjoy the technology you hold in your hand on a regular basis or see it as a burden, become resolute in turning it off or primarily putting it out of reach for most of your weekend. Not only will this set boundaries with others at work or in loose acquaintance, but this will build trust that you will respond when the week begins, but for a healthy life balance, you will be spending your weekend recharging either on your own or spending in-real-life time with those closest to you.
10. Tidy up the house/apartment before going to bed Sunday night
Whether you clean the house on Friday (or have it cleaned) or tidy up over the weekend, at the bare minimum do so Sunday afternoon/evening so that you can wake up to a clean living space where items are where you expect them to be and your day begins smoothly and without confusion.
Each of us will find specific, unique ways to strengthen the potential for a wonderful start to our work week. So long as we are consciously paying attention to what fuels us, what uplifts us and rejuvenates us, and then consicously apply it regularly to our lives without apology, we will begin to see the quality of our everyday lives, and even our Mondays increase. Wishing you a wonderful week.
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