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How To Feel Like a Billion Bucks on a Monday Morning

(I was originally going to say a “million bucks” but what with inflation and all, a million is just too measly these days. The billions are where it’s at.)

Mondays are the worst, and people in white lab coats have proven it. Researchers have identified what’s known as Blue Monday Phenomenon (that feeling you get every Monday when you want to stab yourself in the face), which stands in stark contrast to the Weekend Effect (when you come alive again every Friday afternoon up until your last Sunday margarita).

How to learn to like, if not love, Mondays:

#1: HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO ON A MONDAY EVENING. It’s hard to hate your life Monday when you’re eagerly anticipating something delightful at 6pm.

    • Go eat oysters at that so-hip-it-hurts bar
    • Plan a Monday Night Movie Marathon
    • Meet up with friends like clockwork every Monday for happy hour
    • Complete the modules of that online course, one Monday at a time
    • Organize a vintage wine tasting event
    • Design a date night with yourself (bubble bath? Meditation? Scrapbooking extravaganza?)

Whatever floats your boat… have something on the horizon that gives you a lift at 11am when you’re losing your will to live. What can you look forward to next Monday evening?


#2: PLAN TO BE HAPPY. Skidding into a Monday morning exhausted, slightly hungover (that third Sunday margarita be damned), ill-prepared for the 9am status update meeting, with a bite of leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast… how could Monday ever stand a chance to be anything other than a flaming hot dumpster fire?

    • Take 10 – 20 minutes (yes, even during sacred weekend time) to pre-plan your Monday: review meeting agendas so you don’t show up like a bump on a log with nothing to contribute… jot down questions to ask at the 3pm vendor meeting… brush up on client notes… organize your calendar… feel like you are in control of the day before it takes control of you.
    • Get 30 extra minutes of sleep on Sunday night. This point is so boring, I know, but researchers have shown that short-term sleep extension leads to improved response time and daytime functioning.
    • Skipping breakfast is okay if you’re in college, but if you’re out of the dorm it’s time to eat like an adult. Cohort studies looked at the relationship between breakfast cereal consumption and overall mortality, and “total mortality was inversely associated with whole-grain breakfast cereal intake.” Eating Cheerios can save your life! (Fruity Pebbles, not so much.)

What plan do you need to put into place to set next Monday up for success?


#3: DESIGN A BETTER DAY. Don’t underestimate the power of pea-sized things, friend. What if you did three of these seemingly simple things on a Monday? How might they contribute to a better start to the week for you?

    • Skip the snooze button and JUST GET ON WITH IT ALREADY
    • Start the day with 5 minutes of stretching
    • Have a special breakfast (swap your run-of-the-mill oatmeal for avocado on toast… or something even more fun like chilaquiles)
    • Get gussied up (because confidence soars when you feel like you look good, so plug in that curling iron… put on decent duds… wear that special occasion necklace… yes, even if you’re working from home)
    • Go for a quick walk at lunch (better yet: eat your lunch outside)
    • Watch your favorite re-runs as a break (surely you can fit in a 21-minute Seinfeld episode?)
    • Play a practical joke on a colleague
    • Get it on with your special someone
    • Make a reservation for a fabulous dinner on the near-term horizon (to have something special to look forward to)
    • Get something annoying done (this sounds terrible but we all know what kind of high we get when we cross something irritating off our to-do list, like making that dentist appointment or dropping off the dry cleaning)
    • Nerds Ropes!Arrange for a silly or slightly sinful snack (I am all over Nerds Ropes these days and they make Monday afternoons undeniably better)
    • Make a decadent caffeinated drink in the afternoon (or have one delivered and wait in eager anticipation for your Fancy-Ass Frappuccino to arrive)
    • Take 20 minutes to do something fun (Jenga, anyone?) &/or creative (haiku, anyone?) &/or ridiculous (haiku while playing Jenga, anyone?)
    • Squeeze in a 20-minute nap (because if you can’t beat the day, you might as well sleep it away)

How can you spice up your next Monday with the little things… that add up?


#4: AVOID IT. Oh, how much of a bad influence am I? BIGTIME BAD. Why not jerry-rig your week so you take Mondays off for PTO on the regular? Taking off Mondays is SO much smarter than taking off Fridays. If you can’t take the day off, at least try to make the day a lighter load. I work all day but don’t take client appointments on Mondays, and it makes my life 750x better to know I have an ease-into-the-week kind of day on the calendar. How can you clear bits and pieces of your calendar on Mondays? Can you block off a few Mondays for PTO over the next quarter?


#5: LEVERAGE THE FRESH-START EFFECT. I referred to the phenomenon known as the fresh-start effect here, remember? Mondays are our fantastic chance to press the reset button every seven days. I used to run health clubs and there was a reason Mondays were the jam-pack-iest day of the week… because we’re wired to screw up and then get back on our wagon of choice on Mondays. What wagon do you need to get back on, and how can you make Monday your gleaming opportunity to eat better/ exercise/ stop gossiping/ stop smoking/ start meditating/ stop staying up past midnight/ whatever?


#6: LIKE IT OR LEAVE IT. (Your job, not your life.) Please note that I didn’t say “love it or leave it.” Loving work is lovely! But for many of us, it’s a win just to like the work and not hate it with all the hatred in our hearts. We chatted before here about when work is killing you, how it permeates all the facets of your life and makes you one hell of a sonofabitch to be around — so you know in your bones that Mondays aren’t going to get any better if you’re in a dead-end job. If your job is dead-end, end it before you end up dead. Do you need to summon up the courage to make a career change, and if so, when is a good date to initiate that change by?


Oh happy days!#7: COUNT YOUR MONDAYS. This one is a personal favorite (of course it is, coming from the woman who has dedicated her life to quantifying the 4,000 Mondays we’ve been allotted). One of the best ways I have found to enjoy a Monday is to identify that it’s one of a dwindling number. Knowing, for example, that I have 1,901 Mondays left in my life (fingers crossed it’s more, not less) makes me appreciate every day I’m on the planet. When I lose touch with this memento mori exercise, my level of appreciation dips and I veer into the Taking It For Granted lane.

This feels like the right moment for a Steve Jobs quote:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Let’s start saying “Happy Monday” without it being oxymoronic. Let’s greet every Monday with open arms. It might never be as fun as a Friday night, but it’s one hell of a reminder that we get to appreciate being alive — and eat another bowl of Cheerios — for yet another day.

Jodi Wellman

P.S.: I really think we should connect on Instagram!

P.P.S.: Oh and just in case you missed it… I’d love you forever if you took 16 minutes out of your life to watch my TEDx talk!

 

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