Ever noticed how musicians give Mondays a bad wrap? The Boomtown Rats sing that they hate Mondays so much they want to “shoot the whole day down”. Not quite as extreme, but hardly positive, the Bangles describe Mondays as “manic” and lament that Sunday is over. The Easybeats are more forward thinking but admit that on Mondays they have “Friday on (their) mind”.
Many studies have found a “weekend effect” in which happiness, enjoyment and laughter all rise on Saturdays and Sundays, while stress, anger, worry and sadness decrease. One British study said that our unhappiest time of the week is 7.29am on Monday, and reported that as many as 7 out of 10 workers say they “dread returning to work” after the weekend. This certainly plays out when I see people in the lift on a Monday morning. When I ask people how they are many respond that they’re “not bad for a Monday” or say they “wish the weekend had another day”. Very few seem genuinely excited about the prospect of starting off a new week of work.
The problem with hating, dreading or even disliking Mondays is that these days make up almost 15% of our lives. Over an average lifespan we have 12 or more years of Mondays. In our limited lifespans this is much too valuable time to just endure. So how can we disprove the Boomtown Rats, the Bangles and the Easybeats and really enjoy Mondays?
In a recent talk I gave I offered 10 ideas to increase our level of Monday enjoyment.
- Front load your weekend. When we make our level of weekend activity greatest on Saturday and let this taper to a slower Sunday afternoon and evening we can arrive back at work feeling recharged.
- Get your 8 hours sleep on Sunday night. Too many of us fall into the trap of compromising on sleep. Sunday night sleep is especially important to help enable an energetic and positive start to the new week.
- Wake up to something positive. Try getting up a little earlier on Monday and do something positive: perhaps take the dog for a walk, go for a swim, read something inspiring or practise some meditation.
- List what you’re excited about for the week ahead. It’s easy to let the things we’re not looking forward play on our minds. Listing what we are excited about only takes a few minutes and gets us in a more positive frame of mind for the new week.
- Put on your happy socks. The clothes we wear affect our mood. Consider making Monday the day that you put on the brightest item you have in your wardrobe or something with a positive association. I often wear my “happy socks” on a Monday (google them, they’re a real thing).
- Bring your weekend self to work. On the weekend many of us feel lighter, more relaxed and more fully ourselves. Practice consciously bringing this lighter version of yourself into work on a Monday.
- More tortoise, less hare on Mondays. When we are like the hare and throw ourselves into things at frantic speed on a Monday morning we can feel spent by lunchtime. Taking a leaf out of the tortoise’s book and trying a slower, steadier Monday morning can make for a happier day which is just as productive.
- Watch your Monday language. Many years ago I used to say “not bad for a Monday” when someone asked how I was on at the start of the week. Changing my language to something like “great thanks, really looking forward to this week” has helped me approach Mondays in much more positively.
- Adopt a “happy Monday” ritual. Try incorporating a regular ritual into your Mondays which helps you to genuinely look forward to this day. For example, treat yourself to morning tea, have lunch with a friend or maybe go to a movie after work.
- Enjoy the weekend but don’t “live for the weekend”. I love my weekends, and I think enjoying our days off is a very good thing. The trouble comes when we long for weekends so much that we forget to enjoy the other 5 days, which can also be special if we approach them with the right mindset.
If you tend to be a bit gloomy on Mondays, try giving a couple of these suggestions a go next Monday and persevere with them to see what kind of difference they make to you. The prize is big – a much happier 12 years of your life, and a better version of yourself for the people around you.
In that talk I gave I asked attendees to come up with a positive Monday slogan. I especially liked these ones:
Monday – the chance to make your mark
Monday – it’s a clean slate, how are you going to use it?
Monday – an opportunity, not an obligation