By Neil Shurley

4 ways to help yourself cope with Monday

Maybe you’re the person who jumps out of bed on Monday morning bright-eyed and eager to take on the week. If so, congratulations! You’re crushing it! Hooray for you!

That’s not me.

I suspect most people are more like me in this area. I don’t exactly dread going to work on Monday morning, but I’m not rushing to start my commute, either. It’s a balancing act, and one that I have to face fifty-two times a year. So it makes sense to try to shift the balance even a little bit toward the positive side.

Here are four things I recommend to help make Monday morning less stressful.

1) Personalize your work space.

Work is never going to be home (unless, of course, you work at home). But at the very least you can make your work area a place you like. Altering the space physically may not be possible, but you should be able to tweak it enough to make it yours. Having a place you feel comfortable working in can make an enormous difference in how you approach each day.

Putting up family photos goes almost without saying, but also consider bringing in a favorite mug or even a small, unobtrusive action figure to sit on your computer (I have Doctor Who on mine – you’ll have to guess which Doctor). Also, change it up every once in a while. Swap out one photo for another, bring in a fresh flower, dig out an accessory from the bottom of your jewelry box and wear it one Monday morning. Maybe it will surprise and delight a coworker as well as yourself.

I was also inspired by this passage in an article at The Intentional Workplace:

“Your basketball trophies may not meet my criteria for decoration but if they are meaningful to you – that’s what counts.  Everything in your workspace (and what’s missing) tells the story of you to others.  The little touches that you add should be the things that remind you of what’s good in your life.”

The article also gives some solid ideas about lighting, organization and other ways to make small changes that can make a big difference.

2) Have something to look forward to.

It doesn’t have to be big or important or even meaningful. But having an Arbitrary Stupid Goal can help give you motivation to go ahead and get out of bed. Austin Kleon talks about this in a blog post on his site. In it, he quotes Julia Louis-Dreyfus:

“Here’s something that my mom said to me and I think it’s very true in terms of happiness: You have to always have something to look forward to. It can be a very minor thing, and it can be a major thing. But you always have to have something you’re looking forward to next. “

These are good suggestions for you to consider for your overall outlook on life, but let’s start small. On Sunday night try to invent an Arbitrary Stupid Goal to get you motivated for Monday. Maybe it’s remembering that you have something on your desk that you can throw away as soon as you get in. Maybe it’s allowing yourself to walk outside for 5 minutes at coffee break time. Another idea is to join a club that meets on Mondays, or find a hobby that you can indulge on Mondays. Ryan Marciniak plays ultimate Frisbee on Mondays, helping make it a day he now looks forward to.

3) Make someone else’s day.

What’s even better that treating yourself? Treating someone else. Bring in donuts on Monday morning. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line. Compliment a cashier. Write a note to someone who’s been helpful to you just to thank them for sharing their time and expertise. Hold a door open.

For more ideas, check out 10 tiny things you can do for others to make the world a little bit more awesome, right here on Happier. But more than that, just open yourself up to the idea. Chances are if you get up on Monday with the intention of brightening someone else’s day, the opportunities will present themselves in abundance.

4) Remember: you don’t have to be in a good mood all the time.

You know what? Sometimes Mondays earn their bad reputation. It’s going to be a drag and there’s no way around it. And you know what? That’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for being in a bad mood. It may even be good for you.

After admitting that it’s unrealistic to be in a good mood all the time, Darius Foroux says, “I aim for being in a good mood 95% of the time. Also, you can be in a good mood and go through difficulty. Life is tough. So it’s better to be in a good mood to make it easier.”

Years ago, I worked with someone who would order me to ‘Smile!” whenever she saw that I was in a bad mood. Let’s just say that never worked as motivation for me. But there is some truth to the idea that forcing yourself to smile can improve your mood. So if you can manage it, follow the orders of my old coworker (who I dearly loved, by the way).

And if all else fails next Monday morning, you can always try kitten therapy.

Next up: 25 simple pleasures you can appreciate right this second

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