Today could be the last Monday you dread. Yesterday just may have been the last Sunday that gave you that sinking Sunday feeling most of us are all too familiar with. Sound impossible? It’s not. It shouldn’t be. You deserve better than feeling that way every Sunday or Monday for the next decade, or two, or three. In fact, if you can promise me (virtually) that you’ll try each of the five tweaks to your day I prescribe below, I can promise you that you’ll start feeling exponentially better about Mondays each time it arrives There was a long period in my life that I didn’t just get a case of the Mondays, I was getting big cases of The Sundays as well. What are the symptoms of these days? Raise your hand if any of this sounds familiar:
- Anxiety that kicks in at some point of the day or evening on Sunday as reminders of the impending work day trickle in…
- When someone asks you how you’re doing (on a Sunday) you reply with something like: “Great, except that it’s almost Monday” or “Wish tomorrow wasn’t Monday” or your own version of a conversation about why you aren’t happy the following day is Monday.
- Sleeplessness as you lay in bed thinking of the Monday to come.
- Headaches/stomachaches on Monday morning (or for some, Sunday night).
- Trying to extend the weekend as long as possible – even if it means a few too many glasses of of [insert your favorite alcoholic beverage here] to soften the Sunday-night blow. (This one can be a double whammy because it often leaves you with a hangover, making your Monday even less appealing when your alarm clock beckons you to face the day.
The truth is, even if you’re working for yourself, doing something that is rooted in passion and purpose you can get those feelings. In fact, when you work for yourself, it can be even more difficult to come to terms with them, because you feel like being your own boss should have put an end to your workday dread. Trust me, even if you’re driven by passion and purpose you can find yourself lacking enthusiasm and a desire to return to work after the weekend. After all, what drives us can also drive us crazy. Let me assure you, entrepreneurs can develop a disdain for Mondays just as much as anyone else.What drives us can also drive us crazy: Learn to love your Mondays again, here's how: Click To Tweet
It was just a couple of years ago that I was one of those entrepreneurs – and I was feeling those blues every Sunday and Monday. Then one day I finally decided I was over it. I was over dreading the start of the work week, over feeling mentally and physically stressed about it, and over missing out on that “YES!” feeling I saw other people in my life experiencing when the week began. I’ll spare you the details, but long story short, I made it my mission to figure out how to make my Mondays something I looked forward to, without having to completely overhaul my life in an unrealistic way. Like a scientist or detective, I experimented and researched and talked to people who rocked their Mondays on a regular basis, and eventually I found a combination that worked for me, and also for the clients who were learning the strategies as part of their work with me.
And now my friends, I’m going to break them down for you. I invite and urge you to read through them with an open mind, from a mindset that is less fixed, and more rooted in growth, able to see the opportunities that comes with change.
Tweaks to Your Routine for a Happier, More Awesome Monday
Sunday To Do List Ritual
Do you know what can instantly make your Monday less productive, more frantic and less pleasurable from the get go and have a ripple effect on the rest of your day? Failing to plan your day the night before, leaving you to fumble around grasping at tasks and to-do list items in no particular or planned order on what should be a day when you are feeling at your most motivated, refreshed and kick-butt level.
Some of us avoid creating our to-do lists on Sundays because we feel like it’s going to somehow seep into our relaxed weekend state of mind and ruin our weekend buzz. But I’m betting your weekend buzz is already dampened and you aren’t doing them at this point. Try it my way. Try this list thing on Sundays. Not only will it make your Monday run more smoothly, but you’ll probably sleep better on Sunday because there aren’t any thoughts or plans dangling in your head needing a home – they’ve been taken from head to paper (or Trello, or iPhone or however else you plan your day).
But your list is only a portion of the equation. I want you to make this list making a bit of a ritual,do things that mark it as “list making time” a time that is enjoyable and relaxing. Here’s how:
- Make it fun, make it special, make it relaxing, make it something you look forward to.
- Do it over wine, talk it into your cell phone from a bubble bath, I personally sit on our terrace, and I give myself plenty of time to design my following Monday in a way that fits together like a puzzle.
- When you get to items that stress you out our overwhelm you due to their enormity, don’t ignore them (those are the items that will later keep you up at night if not acknowledged). Instead, write down on your list the next right step you need to take on Monday (or another day that week) to get them solved. See? I’m not asking you to solve all of your work projects or dilemmas on Sunday night – I’m not even asking you to address them on Sunday – I’m just asking you to take them all out of your mind and get them somewhere you can revisit at a scheduled time in the future.
- When your list making time is over, “mark it as done” and make a clean break from it, physically and mentally. Leave your list somewhere safe and saved and enjoy a much more chilled out Sunday with a brain that has “released” – it’s the mental equivalent of retiring to a cozy, well-made bed with nice crisp sheets!
Create a Winning Morning Routine. Here’s mine:
Monday mornings – and any morning – will run more smoothly and leave you feeling less anxious if you make them less spontaneous and more routine. The old me would have groaned when I heard this, because I thought that would make me feel stifled. Far from it. A lack of routine in my morning was actually making me feel totally frazzled and I fell behind, which fed into my downward Monday spiral. Eventually I decided to give this routine thing a try, and it changed and improved my days and my moods.
I’ve included a peek into my own routine below and I encourage you to make a realistic routine for yourself, one that includes a morning that addresses the following areas in your life: Mental, Physical and Spiritual. Please note I did not say professional and you can’t count “work tasks” in the mental column for this exercise. Don’t have time to get all three in? Try to get up fifteen minutes earlier, try to squeeze it in at least a few days as week, or do small tasks in each category instead of long activities. A prayer, a brisk morning walk and a few minutes spent writing in your journal or reading an inspiring article can have the power to make you much more successful in the long run than you’ll be if you skip your morning routine.
Things I like to include in my morning:
- RPM – Rise, Pee, Meditate – I used to try to fit my morning meditation in “sometime” before noon but that often meant I skipped it all together. Then a friend and meditation expert told me about Deepak Chopra’s RPM prescription for meditation success (“Rise Pee Meditate) and I immediately adopted it into my mornings. Let me also tell you, like many of you I also used to roll my eyes at the idea of me, meditating. But I started slowly and before I knew it I was transforming professionally and personally from the inside out. I am not kidding. Like anything that makes you feel good and perform better than you have been, once you start and give it a fair shake, I’m betting you won’t want to quit. Give meditation a try for at least a week. Really. Here are a few easy ways to start:
- Chopra Center Meditation: A mixture of Oprah and Deepak leading you in an inspiring and guided introduction followed by your own time to silently meditate with calming music in the background. The entire activity will be under 20 minutes and is worth every second of it. My current favorite 21 Day Meditation on this site is Manifesting True Success. It’s a must for those of you who really want to become calm, clear and focused when it comes to your work and, well, true success!
- BexLife Guided Meditations: Rebekah Borucki is an author as well as a yoga and meditation guide, and when I discovered her meditation videos on YouTube (Googling how to deal with work stress using meditation) I was hooked after one view. She’s real, she’s honest and she’s real good at guiding you through your meditations.
- OMG I Can Meditate – Called the easiest and most enjoyable way to meditate, it was a great recommendation from recent interviewee Melanie Notkin.
- Getting into the Vortex – More guided meditations referred to us by author and entrepreneur Melanie Notkin.
- Get Grateful on Paper – What we focus on expands. What we put out comes back to us. And if nothing else i’d rather spend 5 minutes every day anchoring into all the awesome things going on in my life than dwelling on the things that have not yet been realized or worked out
- Get Moving – I don’t always hit my goals, but I still make a goal and aim high to work-out in the morning 4-5 days a week. This doesn’t always mean an intense run or cardio routine but it does mean I get moving. I do what my body will allow and I do it to feel strong mentally and physically, to kick up my energy level for the rest of the day. I also do it because “good decisions lead to good decisions”, and the days I begin taking care of my body seem to be the ones I’m taking care of business all day long.
- Get Your Brain Positively Engaged and Exercising – Before I throw myself into emails which basically mark the moment I’m off to the races for the work day, I try to engage my mind in something inspiring. Because we’re being honest here, some days I do peek at email first, but I try not to engage. Instead, I engage my brain into reading something – even a short article – about something that will positively stimulate it and inspire me. This could be an article from one of my favorite websites, a chapter or even a few pages in an engaging book, or I’ll do some visualization and affirmations. I feel like these moments are exercising my brain just like my AM workouts take care of my body. They kickstart my day and I promise you they lead to better thinking and working as it marches on. Hint: Plan your mental reading in advance. Pin articles online in a digital library for yourself. If you’re not already reading a book you love get one or two on your nightstand. Save magazinea and newspaper articles that stir something in you when you read their titles. Then allow yourself the pleasure and opportunity to read them. Stop depriving yourself of this brain exercise and thinking it’s a good business move. It’s now part of your morning routine!
Create a Monday Music or Podcast Mix, Turn it On The Moment You Get Up
This tweak is fun and easy for you to add to your current routine and yet it’s still going to pack a big punch in terms of lowering stress thus making you more productive…so make it a priority to start activate in your A.M. ASAP!
Music soothes the savage beast and a good tune (or for some, an inspiring or interesting podcast) can calm down or pump up the distracted or demoralized soul. Spend some time this week creating your own music mix for the coming week that will move you into a better mindset – what makes you feel good? I’m not asking what will look cool on your Spotify playlist or what mix your friends will all enjoy as well, I want you to think about yourself and what tunes will help peel you out of bed and leave you pulsing with positive energy. Don’t be shy, be shameless: My Monday mix is filled with Broadway show tunes, hip hop and ‘90’s country hits. Sometimes there is even a Christmas carol thrown in – what can I say, they make me feel good! Whatever works baby!
When does your mix kick in? Play music technician in your home this week and set up different places you can get in your zone with music. This could mean programming your alarm clock to wake you up with it, this could mean bringing your iPhone speaker into the bathroom while you get ready for your day, it could mean playing it during carpool and on your way to work or you can stream it while you’re working at your desk. Need some motivational music – from country to hip hop – that’s already curated to get yourself some ideas? Check out the Tin Shingle column, Monday Motivation Mix!
Schedule at Least One Pleasurable Activity Every Monday
Before you sigh at the idea of Monday and pleasurable being in the same sentence, let me quote the lovely Latham Thomas who recently said, “Work hard, play hard, rest hard”, and if there’s a good and healthy model of what balanced success I’d recommend you look up to, it’s Latham.
So what does this mean you’ll need to make happen next Monday? It could be a class or course that interests you, a breakfast or dinner with friends, a movie date, watching your favorite Netflix series, even a break from family/kids/phones/everything for thirty minutes (or hey, if you can only do fifteen take that fifteen). Make Monday the day you pick out new flowers for your home or office. Maybe you fit in Skype and wine (or tea) sessions with friends. I highly recommend it for those who don’t have time to physically get out and see their friends. It’s amazing what a glass of a wine and a giggle can do for the soul. Everyone has a different pleasure point so figure out what turns on your spirit, what brings you joy, happiness and a feeling of being refreshed, and go do that. Every Monday. Get creative – it doesn’t have to be the same thing every time, it doesn’t have to be for hours on end, but it does have to happen every Monday.
Let me stop you before you start…Start what? The excuses. I get it: you have no extra time, you are laden with children, your to do list has a to do list, you don’t have time for yourself. Well you just have to try to make the time, even a little bit of it. We put our time and action into making things happen that we value. Do you value awesome Mondays and thus productive Mondays? Then make an effort to make this tweak happen!
You wouldn’t neglect your car and avoid oil changes because you’re “too busy”, because your car would break down and you’d be in a pretty tough bind. Guess what? You’re even more important than your car. Investing time in yourself and your own self-care is not only a necessity for physical, mental and professional well being, it’s a game-changer in terms of happiness levels, productivity, creativity, relationships…I could go on for hours about it. And investing in yourself on a Monday in particular will shift how you feel about them in the short term, and more importantly, will shift how you and your subconscious feel about your life in the long term.
End Your Day with Acknowledgements & Affirmations
Spoiler alert: I can promise you now that I’m going to be asking you to end your days this way for years to come – and not just Mondays, every day. When is the last time you told yourself that you loved yourself? How about the last time you channeled happy thoughts or compassion into your own being and soul? Does it feel strange to even talk about that to you? If so, I’m guessing there is a bit of an affirmational drought within you and a desperate need for you to start talking to yourself – the right way. Now in my perfect world, I’d love for you to do the following two things out loud (yes, Stuart Smalley truly was onto something) but if you can’t do it out loud or feel silly about it at this point, start practicing this new tweak of your daily routine in your head. Bonus points if you do it in the mirror.
#1 – Acknowledge & Anchor Into the Things You Did Well That Day
I want you to take a few moments at the end of each day, and acknowledge – I like to call it anchoring into – your accomplishments of the day, big and small. Here are a few examples of what that can look like:
- I’m proud of you for going to that new networking event/yoga class/Masters course even though it was intimidating and made you nervous, and for doing that my friend, you are awesome!
- Sabina you rocked that webinar at work today and really shared your expertise with the entrepreneurs who attended.
- I’m proud that you worked so hard to create authentic content today.
- You finally organized your sales outreach chart for the next quarter and that is something I’m very proud of.
- Sabina you are awesome: You got up today and chose to smile, work out and get on with the day even though you didn’t feel up to it. And look how great it ended up – high fives you!
- I love how you took the time to connect with your mom on the phone and tell her about how your weekend went – that meant a lot to both of you.
- It’s also important that each day includes affirmations. I find that including them at the beginning and at the end of the day is the prescription that works best for me. In fact, you can access some pretty powerful affirmations every weekday morning – some of the same game-changing phrases I repeat to myself in real life – in my Morning Mantra emails. (Not signed up? Get on the list for free here – your Mondays and mornings will thank you). Affirmations are the things you know, believe and affirm to be true about your life, they are the thoughts and intentions that you’re choosing to dwell on and put energy into, that you want to expand.
These can be very simple or very spiritually deep, choose affirmations that resonate with you and where you are in your life at the moment, or create your own. Here are some I use:
- I am worthy to receive.
- I believe in myself and all I have to offer the world.
- I am healthy, I am happy, I am strong.
- I am bold and brave.
- I am grateful for all that I have and all who support me.
- Today will be awesome. (This one is best delivered out loud, while high fiving a friend or partner or a raised fist to the air)
- I am free to create the life I desire.
- I accept myself unconditionally.
- I am present and aware.
- I am calm and at peace.
- The possibilities in my life are infinite.
- All I need for great success is already within me.
- I am open to receive.
- I am enough.
So there you have it – your challenge for the next week, or if you want to look at it another way, your path to a happier, healthier and all around more awesome Sunday and Monday next week.
The choice is yours: How will next Monday look? Will you rock out or do we recoil on this day in one week? I know what I’ll be doing, and I want you to come join me! I’m also hoping as I laid out your tweaks – your challenges – you began to sense that these shifts in how you spend your Monday aren’t only here to make one day better, they’re habits and routines that will progressively make your life better as well. That said, let’s start small, let’s with Mondays!
Have any daily habits that you make part of your routine to improve your mood and productivity share them in the comments below!