One of our mantras here at TFD is to strive to become the type of person who actually looks forward to Mondays. But we also live in the real world. And the real world is chock full of messages that life is to be lived on the weekends, and weekdays — especially Mondays — are little more than a necessary evil. Then there’s the camp that believes in the saying “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s also a dangerous lie — all work is going to feel like work, at least some of the time. And no matter how much you love your job, we exist in a capitalist, work-driven society that means, yeah, sometimes Mondays are just going to suck.
However, it is more than possible to make Mondays better, even if you don’t have your dream job. There are several little rituals basically anyone can implement to actually start liking Mondays — and countless other ways that may take a bit more effort, but the difference they make is extremely worth it. Below are some of my favorite ways to start making Mondays more bearable.
Extremely simple ways to make Mondays better:
1. Have a Monday morning ritual.
This could be something as simple as grabbing an iced coffee from your favorite cafe, tidying up your workspace so it’s clean and ready for the week ahead, or taking a walk around the block before you settle in for the day’s work. Having just one “fun” ritual makes this morning something you can regularly look forward to (a theme you’ll notice throughout this list, to be sure).
2. Use Mondays as an opportunity to “set the tone” for your week.
I’m hardly a fitness evangelist, but I will say that there is no better feeling than leaving a pilates class feeling strong and accomplished. The more I show up for myself, the more confident I feel in pretty much every aspect of my life. I’ve started purposely scheduling exercise classes for Monday evenings for two reasons: 1) it’s much easier to exercise the rest of the week if I’ve already gotten into the swing of it on Monday, and 2) the Monday classes are somehow never as full, making them a more pleasant experience. (One of the reasons I like ClassPass is that it charges you if you cancel within the 12-hour window before a class, which I find both annoying and extra motivating. If I’m signed up for a Monday class through that platform, I know I’m definitely going to make it.) It doesn’t have to be exercise-based, but use Mondays to schedule some healthy habit that you know you want to do more regularly, like cooking at home or reading on your lunch break!
3. Prep your commute listening/reading materials on Sunday night.
A disproportionately annoying situation: you rush to the subway station to make your train just in time, put on your headphones, and go to hit play on your favorite podcast — only to realize that the auto-download feature has failed you once again, and it hasn’t actually been downloaded, and the wifi in the station isn’t working. You resign yourself to the only downloaded Spotify playlist you have on your phone, which you’ve only listened to about 200 times at this point, or else sit on the train in silence. This may irk me more than most people, but it sucks to have the privilege of a public-transit commute and then forget the thing that was going to help you make the most of it (leaving my Kindle at home also sucks). I’ve started to avoid this by making sure I have the next day’s entertainment downloaded and ready to go the night before. This does mean I pretty much never listen to podcast episodes the day they are released — if that’s something you care about, maybe set a reminder to check that your items are downloaded first thing when you wake up.
4. Make Monday your treat-yourself-lunch day.
While making lunch ahead of time is one of the best ways to plan ahead and resist impulse spending during busy workdays, scheduling in “treats” is a great way to feel less deprived. I love getting a falafel bowl from Cava, but I certainly don’t want to spend $12 on lunch every single day, so I limit myself to once per week. I highly recommend having your own weekly lunch treat on Mondays, because it gives you something to really look forward to — Fridays are already good, they don’t need a special lunch on top of it. Also, it feels good to plan lunch-out spending ahead of time so as to eliminate any guilt you may normally feel spending on something that’s so not a “necessity” (lunch is, of course, a necessity — making lunch cost $12 is not).
5. Schedule a break in your day to plan something fun.
It goes without saying that we should all be taking regular breaks to get up from our desks for a bit and get our blood flowing (sitting is the new smoking!). I also encourage you to put something on your to-do list that’s purely for your own pleasure on Mondays (to do during your break time, of course). For instance, half the fun of going on vacation is getting to plan it. Schedule a break during your Monday just to scour TripAdvisor and Reddit for restaurant and hotel recommendations for the next big trip you want to take.
6. Make your regular social plans for Monday nights.
This is something we’ve talked about a lot here at TFD: there is no reason not to live your life on weeknights in addition to weekends. I regularly have my best friend over to cook dinner and watch reality TV on Mondays, and it’s become one of my favorite nights of the week. You can choose to make a standing social event on Monday nights, like scheduling your book club or meeting your partner for a long walk, or simply be intentional when it comes to any sort of social planning. Your friends will likely be more onboard with scheduling events for Mondays than you’d think!
7. Dress up just a little.
It may sound a bit shallow, but dressing up just a tad more always makes me feel ready to tackle anything the day has to throw at me. Of course, when I say “dressing up,” I might personally just mean wearing my “nice” jeans with wedge sandals and a nice top rather than resorting to my regular jeans and flats. For you, dressing up a bit more may simply mean wearing lipstick or putting your hair up in a cute braid — something you may not do every day, but that always makes you feel like the best, most confident version of yourself.
Next-level ways to start liking Mondays:
1. Keep the same sleep schedule over the weekend.
This certainly doesn’t qualify as “effortless” — I certainly know how difficult it is to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable hour on the weekends. If you’re a particularly busy person, sleeping in on Saturdays often feels like your only opportunity to get “real” sleep. But “social jet lag” — i.e. shifting your regular sleeping schedule back a few hours on the weekend — is associated with increased fatigue, depression, and even the risk of heart disease. It may not be easy, but adjusting your schedule so you get to sleep and wake up at the same time on weekends as you do on weekdays, it may be hugely beneficial when it comes to feeling “normal” and ready for the day on Monday mornings.
2. Don’t schedule prep-heavy meetings first thing Monday morning.
Obviously, a lot of us can’t control when we’re going to have our biggest meetings during the week. But if you can, definitely try to avoid scheduling your big, prep-heavy meetings for Monday mornings. A weekly progress check-in is one thing, but a strategy-centric meeting that includes tons of prep beforehand? Definitely save it for later in the afternoon, if not later in the week. That way, you’re not scrambling around Sunday night to make sure you’ve got everything prepped for 8 AM.
3. Deep clean your home on Sunday.
Nothing is more annoying than coming home from a long day (which Mondays can often feel like) and being greeted by every single chore you decided to ignore over the weekend. If you do your weekly deep-cleaning on Sunday, you’re guaranteed to always come home to a peaceful, relaxed environment (or, as relaxed as possible depending on your family/pets situation).
Do you have any other tips for kicking Monday’s ass? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
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