Mondays have a bad rep. Most people would say that Monday mornings are their least favorite part of the week. In fact, one survey found that a whopping 80% of people feel more anxious on Sunday nights because they start dreading the following day.
It can indeed be tough to go back to reality after spending the weekend relaxing and doing what you truly enjoy. However, there are ways to make Monday mornings more bearable and even boost your sense of well-being for the day and week to come. Here are a few Monday morning habits mental health experts would urge you to adopt.
Being active for just 30 minutes a day is enough to get the feel-good chemicals in your brain working, reduce anxiety, and improve cognitive function.
Research suggests there are particular benefits to working out in the morning. Getting physical right after you wake up can help shift your biological clock and make you less sleepy and more alert. Morning exercise has also been found to help with memory function. Lastly, there is evidence that people tend to feel more motivated to work out on Mondays because they see them as a fresh start. As you see, there are plenty of good reasons to make Monday morning workouts a habit.
Making your bed in the morning is a surprisingly effective way to feel productive and ready to take on the week. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and Columbia University professor advises treating it as the first task in your ‘to do’ list of the day.
Accomplishing something so early in the morning will give you a sense of pride and efficiency and will encourage you to do another task and another. That sense of accomplishment and momentum is exactly what you need to start off the week the right way.
Mental health professionals often recommend starting a gratitude practice of some kind. This can help us gain control over our thoughts and guide them in a positive direction. It may be especially helpful on Mondays when anxiety levels tend to be higher.
We know Mondays are busy days, but just jotting down three things you’re grateful for, no matter how small, can make a difference. Research shows that gratitude can be a great stress reliever. If you feel journaling isn’t for you, don’t worry, there are many ways to express gratitude. Check out our previous article 5 Practical and Easy Ways to Express Gratitude.
As tempting as it is, try to avoid reaching for your phone and checking your emails first thing in the morning. It might give you a false sense of productivity, but in reality, checking your emails, text messages, and social media when you wake up has been shown to harm mental health and make you feel more stressed than before.
Give your mind some quiet time in the morning, before you let the world in. It can be helpful to set a designated period of time (like 15 minutes) during which you will not reach for your phone or any other screens.
Implementing new habits into your routine isn’t always easy. While this is technically a Sunday night habit, planning ahead is a powerful tool to make sure you stick to your goals. If you decided to tackle Monday morning with a workout, for example, set your exercise clothes out on Sunday night. Or place your gratitude journal somewhere where you will see it.
The most important thing is to go easy on yourself. Some Monday mornings are bound to feel chaotic or annoying. Adopt one habit, and check how you’re feeling after practicing it for a few weeks. The important thing is you’re making the situation a little better, one step at a time.
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