Perhaps no other day of the week is as maligned as Monday. A 2016 survey by Spotify found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of us lack motivation on the first day of the workweek. The survey found that we use coffee, music, workouts and other coping mechanisms to get through the day.
But Monday gets a bad rap. It’s the first day of the workweek—a day to make things happen. So, don’t spend another Sunday night dreading what’s coming. Take action to help yourself love Mondays again.
Mind Your Words
Stop buying into the narrative that Mondays are so bad, says Ben Brooks, New York City-based career coach and founder of career management technology Pilot, Inc. “There’s a bit of a collective conscience that Mondays suck,” he says. Verbalizing that or posting it on social media, reinforces that attitude, so knock it off, he says. “Mondays don’t suck. Their life sucks, or their job sucks. Monday is just a day on a calendar.”
Griping comes at a cost, so change your language and start focusing on Monday’s positive aspects. You’re starting a new week at your job, which means you’re employed. You likely have choices you can make to improve the situation, Brooks says. Allow yourself to think about what would make you happy to come to work on Monday and consider working on those changes. It may also be a good idea to take a social media break to make yourself happier.
Name The Issue
If you chronically dread Mondays, explore where those feelings come from, says Nicole Lewis-Keeber, a psychotherapist and coach based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve robbed half on my Sunday or more in the corporate world or as an entrepreneur already worrying about what’s going to happen for the week,” she says.
Lewis-Keeber recommends looking at the reasons why you’re dreading Monday. Is there a project that’s troubling you? Are you struggling in your job or having issues with an individual? Once you name the source of your bad feelings about heading back to work at the end of the weekend, you can begin to reframe it or take action to resolve it.
Set yourself up for a great start to the week by planning something over the weekend to make it feel like you got in “some good fun and R&R,” says Christine M. Allen, president of Insight Business Works in Syracuse, New York. You’ll go into the week feeling satisfied. Plan your lunch and “try to get to work a little early. Ironically, this also helps you to go into work with a calm mind and body and sets you up for a good day,” Allen says.
Take some of the worry out of Monday by creating a plan, Lewis-Keeber advises. Whether you do it Friday before you leave work, Sunday night, or whatever time works for you, take a few minutes to prepare your to-do list or calendar so you know what you need to get done on Monday. This gives you a measure of control instead of walking into a situation and asking, “Okay, what’s going to happen to me?” she says.
Integrating rituals and other activities you enjoy into your Monday can also help you build positive associations with Monday, says Leah Weiss, Palo Alto, California-based consultant and author of How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind. Weiss teaches courses on compassionate leadership at Stanford University’s graduate business school. If you like to exercise, find a Monday morning class you enjoy to start the day. “Commute in a way that may be slightly less efficient, but has more pleasure associated with it. Go for a walk or schedule a lunch or coffee date with someone whose company [you] enjoy,” she says.
Building friendships at work can also help you be happier overall when the workweek starts. Research from Gallup shows that having a best friend at work is a strong indicator of employee engagement. For example, according to the research organization, women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%). The organization’s latest “State of the American Workplace” report found that just two in 10 employees strongly agree that they have a best friend at work.
“Social connection is our number-one driver of happiness and positive emotions at home and work. The number one thing that I would say once we’ve asked the question is, ‘Do I have people that I really like at work? How can I get more of them? If I don’t have them, how can I [find] them?'” advises Eric Karpinski, the Happiness Coach, based in San Diego, California.
Start your day with an act of kindness or charity. Even something as small as buying coffee for the next person in line or letting someone else have the parking spot you were going to take can help set the tone for your day. “When we do something good for someone else, we get the benefit in our brain of those good neurotransmitters and endorphins,” Allen says.
Do Some Goal Work
Whether you set a small goal to have a success by the end of the day or set aside time on Mondays to help move you toward your bigger goals, integrating a motivating factor into your workday can help you develop more positive feelings about it, the experts agreed. Karpinski recommends using Gallup’s book Strengthsfinder 2.0 to help you identify your key strengths and then incorporate more of them into your work, he says.
“Then figure out which of those five really make you come alive when you’re doing them. Then figure out how do you integrate that into the work that you do every day? How do you do more of the things that you’re good at and that energize you?” he says. That will help you be happier at work every day and restore your faith in Mondays again.