As I wake up to a rainy, cold Monday morning, I notice the time, think about my agenda, and prepare to face the day. Yet, I also notice that I am excited for what today will bring. Thinking about all the “stuff” that needs to get done doesn’t overwhelm me. In fact, I feel energized and motivated.
What’s my problem? Well, I didn’t slip Bailey’s into my coffee this morning, or win the lottery last night. No, I am fortunate enough to find enjoyment in my day-to-day routine, a routine which includes meditation, physical activity, and positive self-statements. The best part is that setting aside as little as five minutes per day for myself and my well-being can make all the difference in how I approach the day, which, of course, influences how my day approaches me.
I remember someone saying to me, “We attract what we project.” Though I regretfully do not remember the author of this brilliant notion, I use it quite often with clients, and for my personal reference. Whether prepping the day we wish to have, or engaging in interaction with others, we truly do receive what we put out.
Wise quotes, meditation, and affirmations certainly do not protect us from bad days or negative experiences; however, they do help us gain resilience to bounce back from drained energy or attacks on our perceived selves. In fact, these mindful and healthy practices actually improve the initial perception of self we hold to be true, creating a filter for what comes our way.
Perception can be defined, metaphorically, as the lens through which we see ourselves and the world. When we wear the metaphorical glasses with negative or dark lenses, we interpret our experiences with negative bias. Likewise, wearing positive lenses allows a brighter interpretation.
Have you ever stopped to explore why we dread Mondays and live for Fridays? We often see Monday through a negative lens of pressure, timelines, and energy-draining work for the next several consecutive days. Conversely, we see Fridays as the gateway to the weekend — a time where we have fun, relax, or get some things done around the house.
It’s no wonder that Mondays are the enemy. Our perception has skewed its meaning. It is just a day, after all. In and of itself, Monday has no positive or negative meaning. We make the meaning for ourselves.
Nevertheless, humans respond to two basic things: pain and pleasure. Dreading the day, and reluctance to get out of bed represent avoidance from what we define as painful. Waking up 30 minutes before the alarm, due to excitement and stimulation, is our drive toward pleasure.
Not everyone has the benefit of a job they love, or even like. Many are so overwhelmed with stress and responsibility, their primary goal is simply to get by. However, there are a few ways in which we can all make Mondays a little better.
Remember how we save the excitement and relaxation for the weekend? Treat yourself to one exciting or relaxing experience on Mondays. No matter how small, this one experience can shift your perception, or lens through which we interpret the week.
Next, incorporate meditation and positive affirmation into your daily routine. As overwhelming as it may sound, you seriously only need about five to 10 minutes to start this daily practice. As you get more comfortable with the routine, and experience its value, you may find yourself setting aside more time. There are many guided meditations out there for those feeling like you don’t know where to start. Tara Brach (2014), an expert in blending Western psychology with Buddhist meditation, has some great free guided meditations for beginning your daily practice.
Another recommendation for making the most of your day is to engage in some sort of physical activity at least three to five times per week. Whether yoga, running, biking, or a trip to the gym, the benefits to a healthy weekly exercise routine will significantly increase your physical and emotional well-being (Craft & Perna, 2004).
One final suggestion for the mundane Mondays, or any day, is to take lunch outside of the office. Whether you energize through isolation and quiet or socializing with friends, taking the time away from the hustle and bustle of the office allows us to reset, and provides something to look forward to.
When Monday becomes a day that holds something we look forward to, the stigma begins to lessen. Let’s do ourselves a favor and give permission to find enjoyment in Mondays.
Brach, T. (2014, January 1). Guided Meditations (audio). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://www.tarabrach.com/audioarchives-guided-meditations.html
Craft, L., & Perna, F. (2004). The Benefits Of Exercise For The Clinically Depressed. The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 6(3), 104-111.