Another workweek packed with deadlines, meetings and long to-do lists can trigger Monday stress. This is characterized by dread, anxiety and other negative emotions. The good news is that, with a little planning, you can turn Monday stress into Monday success.
Recurring stress impacts your productivity and performance in the office. It may also adversely affect your health, resulting in fatigue, mood disorders and even physical pain, says the Mayo Clinic.
According to the Association for Psychological Science, Monday is actually the ideal day to set new professional goals because people tend to be more motivated at the start of each week. Let’s look at how to take advantage of what researchers call the “fresh start effect.”
Here are nine ways to head off Monday stress and keep a positive frame of mind.
1. Declutter Your Workspace
Having a messy physical environment at work could increase Monday stress levels. Clearing away papers and creating a to-do list for the following week on Friday afternoons helps ensure that you’re greeted with a clean space and organized task list when you return to the office.
2. Unplug on Weekends
If you play catch-up with your work on Saturdays and Sundays, you may experience more Monday stress because you’ve allowed your job to creep into your downtime. Instead, set clear boundaries between work and personal time, leaving work at work and spending your weekend doing activities you love.
3. Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Early to Work
Going to bed an hour earlier on Sunday nights can help you feel more rested on Mondays. Try waking up half an hour earlier to enjoy a healthy breakfast or morning walk before heading to work. Or carve out time to sip coffee or read at your desk, giving your body time to adjust to being back in your work environment.
4. Shift Your Mood With Music
A 2015 study published in Psychology of Music revealed that certain tunes reduce biological markers of stress, including increased heart rate, high blood pressure and erratic cortisol levels. Create a playlist of upbeat music that makes you happy and listen to it while getting ready and commuting to and from work.
5. Schedule Regular Breaks Each Day
Does your job require long periods of intense concentration? Taking short breaks throughout the workday can provide a breather for your mind and your body. A brisk walk can help refocus your energy.
6. Practice a Few Minutes of Mindful Meditation
DeStress Monday offers tips to help you manage stress all week, such as practicing five or 10 minutes of mindful meditation during your lunch break. Deep, controlled breathing opens the diaphragm so that your body’s natural relaxation response is triggered, which relieves stress, according to Harvard Health Publications.
7. Move Your Body
Regular physical exercise lowers blood pressure, reducing stress while improving overall health. As the Mayo Clinic notes, movement boosts your body’s endorphin production. Setting aside a few hours each week for cardiovascular workouts can foster a more positive mood all week long.
8. Develop the Magic Touch
Not only does massage feel good, but it can also reduce anxiety and relieve muscle tension, according to the Mayo Clinic. A quick daily mini-massage of your temples and forehead can alleviate stress and boost energy.
9. Treat Yourself to Something Enjoyable
U.S. News suggests that scheduling something fun on Mondays, such as a manicure, dinner with friends or a family game night, can ease Monday stress by helping your brain associate that day with something pleasurable.
By adopting healthy, positive changes in your routine, you can transform Mondays into a chance to hit the reset button, so you can start your week fresh and ready to tackle whatever life has in store.