Each Friday afternoon we go home full of the joys of the weekend until finally, that rare and elusive Monday we like POPS UP. In contrast after the weekend we drag ourselves into work full of the Monday morning blues. Just once, I would like to wake up, turn on the news, and hear… ‘Monday has been canceled, go back to sleep. Let’s face it, the toughest activity of a week starts right from Monday morning…it’s called “Waking Up”. Then you have to drag yourself from bed and do the Monday morning ritual of running around because you’re probably running late. Then you sit through the Monday morning rush hour sweating if your car has no air conditioning for as long as fate deems fit before finally reaching your office. Then again sit through for at least 8 long hours before going back to join the evening rush hour. Imagine having Mondays as a holiday. Wouldn’t that be the best thing ever right? No it won’t. It would only be replaced by Tuesday then the cycle begins all over again.
Many people argue that God gave us Mondays to punish us for the things we did over the weekend. To some extent I’m inclined to agree with them but I believe every day is a gift …and it’s kind of rude to return gifts so we’re stuck with Mondays. But if you feel this way too like 7 billion other people and myself, here are some quick steps to guide you through that much dreaded day of the week to make it feel less like a curse.
- Set an alarm for Mondays: There are lots of tricks we can use to make our alarms less horrific and annoying but, ideally, we shouldn’t need shrieking or loud thunderous alarms depicting war drums for the battle fought between the Zhao and Zhi states in ancient China in the third century to wake us up. Something softer will do. Even pleasant alarm clocks are not required at all to wake us up on time, bright and refreshed and here’s why. The truth is that your body hates your alarm clock. It’s jarring. It’s stressful. And it ruins all that hard work. It defeats the purpose of gradually waking up. So, to avoid being interrupted, your body does something amazing: It starts increasing PER [the protein that regulates our sleep-wake cycle] and stress hormones earlier in the night. Your body gets a head start so the waking process isn’t cut short (lifehacker.com). It’s so accurate that your eyelids open minutes or maybe even seconds before the alarm goes off. If you’re not waking up before your alarm clock, you’re probably not getting enough sleep which implies one thing. You are part of the 6 billion of us who fail to accept the weekend is over. The only solution is that you have to be the bigger person and get over that feeling (trust me it’s really hard). Just get to bed early on Sunday nights so you don’t pay for it with your entire Monday running around chasing your tail because you’re running late then stressing yourself in the process which then makes you vent out and curse poor Monday.
- Meditate and do a little exercise: Both meditation and physical exercise are activities that may reduce our vulnerability to stress and increase our quality of life. I’m a Christian so reading the Word of God is the best mediation I can recommend to you. It brings you closer to God and frees you of all burdens. Biblically speaking, it makes the yoke much lighter on a Monday morning. Physical exercise, on the other hand, brings us in better shape, increases our bodily strength and improves our physical and mental well-being, which might improve our general functional ability. Meditation cannot replace physical exercise. One does not get stronger or in better physical shape by meditating. Meditation and motion is even mutually enriching to make you energized and fit for your Monday mornings and toss in some breakfast for a perfect boost.
- Focus on what is good and adjust your attitude: Your problem with Mondays may not be one that can be solved with any outside intervention. It may just take a change of heart on your end. If you look on your day as solely a day to restart a vicious cycle to execute a series of chores aka work, then you will continue to dread Mondays. You might not even realize that you have a negative attitude towards work. Start to be more aware of your thoughts, words, and actions. You have to think of work as just another part of your life that has both its ups and downs like any other part. Identify times when you say no without good reason, believe you can’t do something, doubt your abilities, or feel angry about a task given to you. Think about what would happen if you forced yourself to look at the situation in the opposite way – saying yes, believing you can do something, feeling confident in your abilities, or feeling happy to do a task. Don’t just look at what you need to do that you hate. Look at what you enjoy doing, and focus on that. The first step to executing this is by reciting this mantra “I DO NOT HATE MY JOB (OR SCHOOL IF YOU ARE A STUDENT).” Then you can start tweaking your mindset and subsequently your actions.
- Have positive expectations for the day: Nothing can be more soul-crushing than that feeling where you seem to be around in circles chasing your own tail. One of the best ways to overcome these feelings of negativity for a Monday and the idea that the day is annoying is to sit down and make some realistic (yet challenging) goals. What do you hope to achieve by the end of the day? Don’t just think about the goals on a small scale either. Talk to a colleague about what achieving these goals mean to you as your contributions to making a difference because nothing beats the feeling of boredom and stresses of a Monday than knowing you’re of worth to others. Review your progress at the end of the day and celebrate whether it’s a simple dinner with your family or a post-work drink, always have a little reward at the end of the day on Mondays.
The worst part of my Mondays is hearing you complain about Mondays. “Oh! Yeah I have to go to work or school on Mondays” and yes everyone hates Mondays. But I look at it a little differently. I don’t have to work, I GET to work. I don’t have to school, I GET to school. I am blessed to have a job while many don’t have one. On the other hand only 48% of students worldwide get to make it into tertiary schools while it drops down steeply to 5% in Ghana. So to you the students, you’re equally blessed to even be in school in the first place.
Don’t freak out because it’s Monday ever again, be thankful and take the day head on. In the words of Elbert Hubbard “A man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them.” So use them this Monday with purpose and glee and remember that life is too short to hate one day out of every week. It’s time to turn your Mondays around.