It’s Monday again—unfortunately. Like most people, you’re probably dragging your feet, dreading the week ahead. The deadlines waiting at the office, the endless sea of household errands and annoying chores.
But you don’t have to feel that way. How would you like to start the week excited about all the things you’ll learn, the conversations you’ll have, and the little miracles that are waiting along the way? It’s just like the smiley face in this photo—a completely serendipitous discovery the photographer noticed while walking down the street on a miserable, snowy day. Joy is everywhere. You just have to look. Here’s how to find it today.
1. Start bright and early.
Our first instinct on Monday morning is to throw the alarm clock at the wall and go back to sleep. But waking up late will set yourself up for a hectic morning and a lousy day. You’ll skip breakfast, curse your way through traffic, scowl as your storm through the office.
Instead, get up an hour earlier on Monday. Have a leisurely cup of coffee while listening to your favorite music. Prepare your favorite breakfast—or, if you don’t feel like cooking, stock your pantry with something you love and serve it this morning as a special way to start the week.
2. Clear your path of stress.
The best way to avoid stress and panic is to organize your morning routine. Keep your car keys and wallet in one place so you don’t waste time looking for it. Place your kids’ school bags and your briefcase in the car the night before, so you don’t accidentally forget something in the morning rush. It’s also better to gas up on your way home from work, so you don’t have to go to the gas station at the height of Monday morning rush hour traffic.
3. Dress for a happy mood.
Wear your favorite, most flattering outfits on Mondays—it’ll give you a reason to look forward to going to work. Do this even if you’re a stay at home mom, or run a home business. No, you don’t have to wear a suit to look your best. Maybe you can spritz on your most expensive perfume (don’t say it’s for “special occasions”—declare that today is special, or will be very special!) or put on your favorite lipstick. Little things like that make you feel better about yourself, which will make you fel better about your day.
4. Procrastinate feeling blue.
Do you feel negative thoughts creeping into your head? “Stupid meeting… hate this job… wish I didn’t have to work in this company.” Or, “Great, time to vacuum. I’m the only one who ever cleans up in this house…” Maybe you’re panicking about a deadline, or worried about the bills.
If that happens, shake off the sense of discouragement. Or, if you really feel bad, put off your whining: “I’ll get depressed about my job after lunch. Right now, I think I’ll enjoy this cup of coffee.” Then, when it’s lunch time, “I’m too busy to wallow right now. Maybe I’ll ask Steve out for lunch. He’s always a riot, and I need a good laugh right now.” These delaying tactics will help you focus on what you enjoy or what you can actually change—and being productive and positive is the best antidote to negative feelings.
5. Make a Happy List.
What are your favorite simple pleasures? For example, what songs do you enjoy listening to? What’s your favorite food? What’s your hobby? Find ways to incorporate those pleasures into your Monday routine. Create a “feel good” playlist to listen to during your Monday commute. Treat yourself to a brownie after submitting your report. Before you go to sleep, visit a blog or website about your hobby, just to give you creative inspiration and connect you to people who share your passion.
One day, you can even sit down and make a list of “100 Things that make me Smile.” This can include a bubble bath, doing a random act of kindness for a stranger, petting your pet cat. When you’re really having a bad day, break out the list and look for something to do to break your mood right there and then.
6. Talk positive.
You’ve heard the line, “Think Positive.” But you know what’s more effective than that? “Talk positive.” Make affirmative statements and repeat them to yourself whenever you feel bad. Instead of saying, “I have to finish my report” say, “I am submitting a great report today.” After all, if you’re going to mutter under your breath, might as well mutter things that will boost your confidence and enthusiasm level.
7. Shake up your routine.
Promise yourself that you will learn something new every Monday morning. It’s actually easy! For example, check out the links in your favorite blog. Or do a random Google search on a topic. Maybe you can have lunch with a co-worker you don’t know very well, or try out a new recipe. It’s the best way to greet a brand new week. “There’s so much to learn, so much to do—and I’m excited about that!”