Rethinking Monday morning

What do Garfield, The Boomtown Rats*, and I have in common?

We don’t like Mondays. (I’m unclear on The Boomtown Rats’ feelings on lasagna.)

During le covid, I started having Sunday Scaries for the first time since I started my job four years ago. I finally realized (OK, my therapist told me) that it was because every workweek looked the same. I wasn’t dreading work, I was dreading sitting inside for five days straight, mostly connecting with other people only via Slack and Zoom. This made Sunday night, and therefore Monday morning, feel AWFUL. It also didn’t help that I was cramming so much into my weekends that by the time Monday rolled around, I felt totally depleted.

The solution: Start Monday morning with something I actually like doing.

Something had to change, obviously. And what I decided was that I wanted to start my week with things I actually like, before rolling up to Zoomwork at 9 a.m. on Monday. As restrictions have lifted and businesses have reopened, I’ve been back at my favorite barre workout most mornings. In the Before Times, I was a morning person, but for most of quar I have struggling to open my eyes before 8 a.m., let alone get out of bed. Signing up for a workout–and knowing I’d have to pay a late cancel fee if I didn’t show–forced me out of bed before 7. After a few days of this, I was waking up early without an alarm. Consequently, I’ve also been able to get to bed earlier at night.

For Monday specifically, I decided to introduce an additional incentive to get up and out the door, in the form of a new life rule. My existing life rules include “When someone or something disappoints me, I eat burrata. That way, my worst-case scenario is always burrata,” and “When everything feels meaningless, I do something kind for someone else.” The new one: If I get up and work out on Monday morning, I get to stop for a latte and King David breakfast tacos at Stumptown afterward. Now, I know I get to start every Monday morning with at least two things I love, which makes it a LOT easier to wake up.

Want to rethink your own Monday mornings? Here are some things that have worked for me:

  • Find a workout you actually enjoy doing. Barre is the one exercise where I’m not staring at the clock the whole time waiting for class to end. I hate literally every other workout. And I’m going to run a marathon this year. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Make Monday the day you enjoy your favorite breakfast. My favorite breakfast is on hiatus thanks to COVID, but I can have my second favorite (or my third, if I’m in the mood for something different). Breakfast is my favorite meal and not having to make it for myself is a lovely treat to start the week.
  • Take your time getting home. If you leave the apartment for one of the above reasons or something else you like, don’t rush to get back afterward. Take a meandering route, or if you’re really strapped for time, the same route, only slower. Stop and take pictures of flowers. Notice fun-colored doors. Think about what song would be playing in the movie version of your life. Do an Instagram story.
  • Set some boundaries. I think most of us have experienced boundaries being eroded during the pandemic. I recently decided that wasn’t OK with me and made a new rule that I only check work email between the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, unless I’ve been specifically informed that I need to be on call for a project. This is made the line between work and life a lot clearer, and made me less resentful.

*I’m aware that the title of this song is a quote from one of the few female school shooters and may not have any relationship to The Boomtown Rats’ personal views on Mondays.

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