I would love to say that I start every single day with a huge smile and a heavily contented heart. I should say that anyway, my life is pretty much perfect. But for some reason, and I know it’s a cliche, Mondays find a way to get me down. On that dreaded day of the week I find I wake-up with feelings of regret that the weekend went by so fast, did I make enough of the time? I also feel anxiety over all that I have to accomplish that week. Finally, I feel exhausted both at the mere thought of all I have to do, and by the jam-packed weekend of activities and outings I just enjoyed.
And that is all before my head leaves the pillow…
Here are my three simple and effective tips to combat the Monday Blues. For the best results employ them immediately and in this order. Don’t let the blues form a firm grasp of your mind.
I would love say that we all have time to have two meditation sessions a day, but we don’t. That is not an excuse for avoiding mindfulness activities all together though, as the benefits of doing so are seemingly endless. If you can’t spare the 20 minutes to properly meditate, try one of these simpler techniques to bring your mind into focus, to relax, and to center yourself before you battle the big bad Monday blues. Sit up in bed and repeat a simple calming mantra of your choice in your head. Breath in one sentence, and out another. I like the mantra “I choose to be happy, I have a grateful heart.” But there is no limit to the variation on this theme you can have, You can also make it specific to that day’s challenges.
If 5 minutes is too much time to spare still, here is an even shorter technique. Simply call to mind three things you have to be thankful for. Focus your mind on these, and allow a smile to cross your face. Now hop out of bed and move on to task 2!
Make a To-Do List
We feel overwhelmed on Mondays because we have a never ending pile of tasks crashing around in our minds. We doubt we will ever be able to accomplish it all, and this fills us with feelings of failure before we even start. So the first step is to drag all of those tasks out of our minds where they are banging around and destroying our confidence, and out onto a piece of paper or notes app, where they can start to be dealt with. Make two to-do lists, start with an overall list of everything you have to do this week. Don’t stress if you think the list is incomplete, the point is to take everything out that is bothering your mind right now, the list can be added to throughout the week as new tasks come to mind. Then break that list down into what you can do today, prioritise them with those that are most urgent at top.
Here is a little trick to get your productivity fired up. Put at the very top of today’s list three simple and easy tasks you can bang out in under 5 minutes. It makes the whole list more approachable. Then once you have completed those three you feel a rise in your self-esteem and more faith that you will make it through this week alive after all. Sometimes I have gone so far as to write down tasks that I usually do without even thinking, just to help make myself feel accomplished, like make the bed, or walk the dogs. Look at the lists you have created, take a deep sigh of relief and move on to task 3 to get the energy you need to complete them all!
I know this may seem counter-intuitive, but even when you feel down in the dumps, depleted of all energy, exercise will actually make you feel more energized. I could bore you with the science behind it all, as a veterinarian I researched the effects of exercise in depth, and dog’s bodies work almost identically to our own. But instead I will let you take my word for it and explain in simple terms. Exercise raises your basal metabolic rate, which means your body works faster and more effectively. Not just right after you exercise, but all day long. This is why I start everyday with some form of exercise, even if its as simple as a walk or yoga. You don’t have to join the crowds at the gym to have the same mental and physical health benefits exercise can provide.
Hopefully your Monday Blues have been beaten back, and you feel refreshed and ready to brave your day!
Main photo by Harold Lloyd.