If you’ve read any of the Harry Potter books or watched the movie, you’ll be familiar with Dementors. For those of you who aren’t, they’re the prison guards in the Wizarding World first introduced in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, the second book in the series written by JK Rowling. Dementors are foul creatures. They float in silence, their dark cloaks concealing their appearance, which makes them even more terrifying. They make your blood run cold, so you feel their presence first before you hear or see them. And they feed on happiness, leaving whoever comes into contact with them with feelings of despair.
As I sit, enjoying a laid-back Sunday afternoon, the thought of Monday pops into my head. And there’s my Dementor right there. I’m sure you can relate. For many of us, Mondays have a way of sucking the joy out of a good weekend unlike anything else. Judging by the hundreds of articles dedicated to beating the Monday Blues and #MondayMotivation posts on social media, we need all the help we can get! Over the years, I’ve tried a few methods to manage the feelings of anxiety I have around Mondays and have finally settled on these five that work for me. Try them out. They might help you chase away – or at least tame – your Dementor too.
- The Tupperware Principle: carry something from the weekend into the rest of the week
I always find that listening to music or watching something funny or inspirational does wonders for my mood. Maybe you have a favourite song you like (here’s mine)? Or one that takes you right back to that fantastic concert or a great movie you watched on the weekend. Perhaps you saw a video that made you laugh. When you’re facing the prospect of facing a long to-do list, listening to a playlist you’ve compiled on the way to work can put you in a better mindset by the time you get to the office. Meeting with a friend during your lunch break is also a great way to create something to look forward to. The idea is to inject an element of light-hearted fun into a day that’s quite intense.
- It’s only X hours out of the whole week
Mondays look scary because we approach the day expecting it will be a long and challenging day. By instead looking at it hour-by-hour, we make it less intimidating. It becomes easier to appreciate the progress made in getting things done. Sometimes, a reluctance to return to work at the start of the week is connected to the feeling you’re not making headway on the projects you’re working on. In this case, working with a coach can help you uncover and overcome the blockages that are making it difficult for you to achieve your goals. An NLP tool such as the Walt Disney Strategy is useful here.
- Turn the drama down a notch
Often the worst part of Mondays is how overwhelming they can be. They’re the chosen day for scheduling planning and status meetings – which makes perfect sense because they set up the rest of the week. If you’re in a position to do so, consider moving meetings that are not critical to later in the week and spread them out a bit, this could be a great help in having a calmer start to your week. You could also ask yourself if your attendance at every meeting is necessary, and if it isn’t, choose not to go or attend every once in a while. A tool I like using to help me make these decisions is the Eisenhower Matrix. It isn’t only useful for managing the madness of Mondays; it’s great for general time management too.
- Good preparation counts
There’s nothing worse than starting off the week feeling tired or unprepared. Do your best to get ready for Monday by getting enough sleep the night before. Use Sunday to relax as much as possible. Take a technology break and give your smartphone a rest – don’t look at your emails, ignore social media. Spending time with your family can also help to provide you with some much-needed perspective when you’re dreading going to work the next day.
- Bring your “A” game and celebrate!
If Monday is such an important day why not give it the respect it deserves? That suit you reserve for interviews? Wear it on a Monday when you’re feeling particularly challenged. I’m not suggesting you turn up for work dressed like you’re headed to the Oscars, but facing the day looking your best – in whatever way “best” is defined in your industry – might just give you the confidence boost you need. Most of us also tend to push the activities we enjoy doing towards the end of the week, usually because we feel we’ve earned them. But what better day is there than a Monday to reward ourselves? Why not re-energise at the end of the day with a spa treatment, playing your favourite sport, going out for dinner, or going to the movies? Again, it just gives you something to look forward to on a day you don’t often associate with enjoyment.
And there you have it – my methods for banishing the Monday blues. I will not say they always work, but more often than not, they help me kick off my week with a more positive outlook.
Have a good Monday!