Remember Sunday nights – packing your school bag? I dreaded them. I disliked school so much, I often wanted to do a runner on Monday mornings. By Thursday I was wishing for Friday to come, but by Saturday I was already panicking about Sunday night.
School was a long time ago, but I still get the Sunday night blues. It’s not because I hate my job – in fact the opposite, it’s more the everyday pressures that build up. For two days, the weekend is mine to escape the reality of what faces me come Monday. Our dread is caused by thinking ahead instead of staying in the moment. The same reason why we are happy on a Friday, even though we are at work – we know that the next day is Saturday, so we can cope better.
I noticed myself doing the same when I had a week away in the summer. By Wednesday, I was already counting the hours I had left, before heading to the airport. I was completely missing being in the moment, because I was future-tripping days ahead. I began writing lists in my head as I went to sleep, and woke-up feeling overwhelmed with what was waiting for me on my return.
I know I am not the only one who does this, and today (on the way to work) I wondered why it’s true for so many of us? Why Fridays are the best day of the week, and Mondays are the worst. I don’t think it can be a coincidence that anxiety, panic attacks and obsessive thinking is on the increase. Work- life balance is non-existent. Many of my colleagues say that instead of feeling refreshed on a Monday, they feel drained.
Two things that have really helped me are to stop being a people-pleaser and to change my mindset. The first being to not over-commit. I stopped saying yes to people, places and things. When I couldn’t make something, I felt incredibly guilty which just fed my low self-esteem. Instead I commit to a few things that I know I can do, and in turn enjoy them far more than trying to do everything, and wanting to leave before I’ve even arrived. The other tool I have developed is to rewire my thoughts; to prioritise and know what is in my control and what is not. Some things are within your power to change immediately, but other things will need more work and more time.
Much of it though, has been about self-acceptance and not comparing myself to others. Some people have to juggle a heap more than I do, and others have less. It is not a competition and stress and anxiety are individual to us all. These days I try to look at Monday’s as a day of potential. It is a day where I can plan the week ahead and get excited about the opportunities, relationships and connections that may come my way. It’s also less about what I can gain, and more about what I can offer to others. It’s not always easy to think like this, but it’s honestly worth 5 minutes of your time on a Sunday night or Monday morning.
So, how many of you smile because it’s Monday? If you do, how and what is different? What have you put in place to make your life more manageable? I’d love to hear from you personally.