Monday always seems to come just a little too quickly, doesn’t it?
We have all been there. Some of us get there at least once every week. When Monday morning rolls around – or even Sunday night – we start to worry about the week ahead. Maybe we dread going back to work because we don’t get along with our coworkers or we don’t feel fulfilled. Sometimes it can feel like we’re just spinning our wheels. Feelings like these make for a difficult start for the week and have a way of draining our motivation before we even get started.
What if there were some ways to help counter these Monday morning blues? What are some of the things that people can use to get their week off to the best start possible? Here are somethings that I find helpful to get my week heading in the right direction.
Give Yourself an Onramp
Sometimes I just need a little more time in the mornings. I always feel rushed, or anxious, or that I’m constantly forgetting something; this is the story of my life. It might also feel counterintuitive. You might be thinking that the last thing you want to do when you already feel sapped of your motivation is to get up early. But getting up earlier than usual does a couple of important things. It’s not just about giving yourself more time.
Think of it like a merging lane on a highway. Sometimes, these lanes are just too short and it makes it really difficult to get up to speed and find an opening in the traffic that’s whizzing by. When those lanes are longer, I find myself relaxing a little more. I can take my time and match the speed of the traffic I’m trying to join. A longer morning routine does the same thing. Our bodies have an accelerator too and it can be a shock to our system when we have to mash on the gas pedal to try to get up to Monday morning speed. Coming up to speed in a more gradual way is healthier and lets us join the flow of traffic with a lower level of anxiety.
Use Your Time Unproductively
It’s not just about getting up early though. If I get up thirty minutes earlier just so I can surf Facebook or watch thirty minutes of infomercials, it doesn’t get me any further ahead. It’s also not about getting up thirty minutes earlier to add thirty minutes of productivity to my day. One of the reasons this lack of motivation feels so bad to us is that we often find our identities in the jobs we have and what we can produce. In that scenario, when I don’t feel like I can produce it can feel like I’m losing a little bit of myself – that I’m just not as valuable.
Let me be clear: you’re value runs far deeper than what you produce each day.
This extra time is valuable because it gives me an opportunity to spend time with you. There is a great book by Michael Crawford called The World Outside Your Head and, among other things, he uses it to talk about how everything around us clamors for our attention. In doing so, it limits the amount of time that we have to really spend in silence or reflection and, for centuries, this was vital to well being.
If you can, carve out some of this time to do something that may feel completely unproductive. We’ve blogged about some ideas related to mindfulness here in the past; those are all great options. If you’re a writer, it might mean starting a gratitude journal in which you take 15 minutes to write about 2–3 things that you have been grateful for recently. Even something as simple as spending five extra minutes relaxing in the shower can be helpful as it can help relax some of the tension in your body.
Yes – this gets complicated with kids and spouses and roommates. But carving time out for yourself is so important.
In general, being generous is a healthy way to live. I’m talking about way more than simply buying someone a coffee or making a donation to a food bank. Although those things are good too, generosity is a mindset that can permeate our lives, right down to the way we think.
It often starts with being generous towards ourselves. It’s easy for me to be self-critical or to think the worst about myself. But what would it be like to be a little more generous with how we think about the efforts we make? There is no instruction book for life. Every experience I encounter is brand new. No one has been me before, with my skills and my challenges. I am improvising and succeeding at hundreds of things a day but it’s so easy for me to focus on the things that aren’t going well. Things like mindfulness and gratitude can help to start a process of noticing the good things. Surrounding myself with encouraging people can help too. Maybe this is something that you can do too!
What many people find is that their generosity towards themselves often translates into generosity towards other people. When I accept that I’m doing the best I can and that my motives are generally good, I can start to see that same thing being true of other people too. Even if they don’t agree with something, a generosity-minded person is able to give others more space and then work harder to understand their perspective before making harsh judgements. When I see the world through a more generous lens, it suddenly seems less adversarial and less anxiety-provoking. It feels like something I want to be a part of.
And I’d love for you to join me. Have a great week!