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How to have a good Monday

“Morning! How are you?” says one colleague to another on a Monday morning. “Meh, it’s Monday so how do you think?” is the reply. Not the most positive attitude to start the day with. People really seem to hate Mondays and their negativity can get passed on to everyone around them making it a miserable day in the office. Are you a Monday hater? Does knowing it’s a Monday make it even harder to get out of bed? Have you ever wondered why?

There is research into whether it is actually the day of Monday or simply the circumstances around Mondays, that bother people but this isn’t that type of article. I’ve written this as a short guide on how to enjoy Mondays by making some small changes. You can’t change the fact that it is Monday, but you can make them more enjoyable and maybe that will help improve your colleague’s Mondays too.

Let’s start with weekends.

Weekends tend to equal fun and freedom. The freedom to party, go exploring, catch-up on sleep and generally cram as much non-work related activity in as possible. Sure, our weeknights might include the odd cinema trip, a fun Zumba class or a regular hobby, but there is always going to be the next day at work lurking and the feeling that you can’t really let go like you can on a Friday or Saturday night. This is wise because you don’t want to turn up bleary-eyed, hungover or sleepy to work – it will affect your performance, but it can mean we put way too much emphasis on weekends being the only days we can have fun and let go. On weekdays we cook, make lunches, go to the gym and do chores but at weekends we might eat at pubs and restaurants, hang out with non-work people and avoid chores. Obviously there are exceptions like tip-runs or decorating which are much easier to do at weekends but on the whole, is your weekend/weekday fun ratio totally unbalanced and biased towards the weekend?

Unfortunately, the Monday blues can eat into our weekend, with meal prep Sundays, shops closing early and a sense that we should try and be healthy for the rest of the week, we can easily spend of all Sunday thinking about work the next day. Some restaurants don’t open on Sundays and the attractions and shops closing early can scream “go home and prepare for work” which you might very well do. Meal prepping your week of lunches is very helpful but spending two hours doing something to do with work isn’t very enjoyable. So what can you do? Plan actual fun for during the week. Go to a restaurant on a weekday when it’s quiet and cook at weekends. Plan games nights and go to pub quizzes during the week. Don’t meal prep until Wednesday and buy lunch on Monday and Tuesday. Balance out your fun ratio over the whole week and eat those healthy meal-prepped lunches at the weekend instead.

Which brings me to another point - why do we all start diets on a Monday? Whatever the reasons for dieting, it’s usually associated with restricting yourself from things you love or doing exercises that take precedence over your fun activities. Until you start enjoying your healthier living (usually associated with seeing visible results) it’s hard to motivate yourself to stick to anything but starting on a Monday will only get you to Friday before you undo all your hard work by splurging all weekend. As mentioned already, weekends are associated with fun and if your diet isn’t fun, you’re probably not going to stick to it on Saturday and Sunday. On top of that it’s easy to ‘reward’ yourself for doing well for a week by indulging at the weekend but that reward just undoes your hard work too. So what is the option here? Start your diet on a Friday when you don’t have food plans that are outside of your control. Plan a fun weekend that doesn’t revolve around excessive eating and drinking and come Monday you will really feel like you have achieved something worth sticking to.

Are you also someone who enjoys catching up with sleep at the weekends? If you’re in a position to, extra sleep can feel like you are recovering your sleep deprivation but studies are showing that although you feel rested, you can still be suffering from a lack of sleep on Monday morning that can affect your temperament and concentration.

Planning your weekend and weekends around a consistent bedtime and wake-up time (with some exceptions for special occasions) will mean you avoid trying to catch up on the sleep you’re usually missing each week. It can take a while (weeks even) to get in a good sleep pattern that includes weekends but the benefits will come and when you have better temperament and concentration you might make better decisions and choices in other areas of your life.

These changes will help in some ways but if you’re unhappy in your job there will still be feelings of dread come Monday morning. Getting a new job isn’t easy or quick but there are some things you can do to help Mondays go better and to look forward to them more.

Identify some reasons for why you hate your job. If it’s because of a particular person, try to schedule Mondays as a day you don’t interreact with them. Organise Monday lunchtime to do something fun like a pub lunch with your nicer colleagues. Organise your favourite tasks for the beginning of the week. Make Mondays an easier day for your workload so you have more free time to handle crisis’ when they occur. Remember that it’s your job, not the day, that is making you unhappy and that you would still feel the same way if your first day back was a Tuesday or Sunday. It’s not easy but try to be mindful of the good things about your job. Do you help people achieve a mundane task by selling them something? That’s still helping them. You are getting paid (however little) which is something to be grateful for. There will always be someone who can’t work for whatever reasons, who would give anything to have a job, even if they hate it. Think about the skills you have and how you have improved in your time there. They are worth a lot to your future. Changing your mindset to the positive (even if it takes a while) can change your appreciation of a situation and make you rethink your stance.

If someone asks you how you are on a Monday morning, don’t complain about it being a Monday, say something nice to them, either about the day ahead or the weekend just gone. If you really struggle, just say that you hope they have a nice day! Making someone smile first thing on a Monday morning will do wonders for your own mood as well as everyone around you. Bad Mondays seem inevitable, like we might as well resign ourselves to them being a rubbish day but that is just a concept we tell ourselves - they really aren’t any different to the rest of the week. Make some small changes though and it will make a big difference to how you feel.

About the author

Rebekah Frost

A champion problem solver; whether it’s a board game or a tricky computer conundrum, Bekah's attention to detail is second to none. Her interesting and varied work experience across different sectors means she always has a story to tell, a love of people and a way to fix any issue.