We have all at one time or another experienced the Monday Blues. We hide under the covers and hope that no one will find us. Awaiting us at work is a daunting To Do list. We are already exhausted from the weekend, and now we are facing another deluge of assignments, projects, and deadlines.
In one study, scientists found people show biological signs of stress when they start anticipating the work week. We are convinced that regular spiritual practice is the best antidote to dealing with and then overcoming Monday Blues. Here are 10 ways to begin, starting the weekend before.
1. Reverse your habitual weekend strategy by using the time to build up your energy supply.
Many of us play hard over the weekend, filling up every moment with activities with family and friends. Instead, be especially kind to your battered and tattered body, mind, and soul on Saturday and Sunday. Self-care is an important aspect of the spiritual practice of nurturing. Eat healthy food, get some extra sleep, and exercise with the single intention of re-energizing yourself.
2. Give up expectations about the day.
Fr. Edward Hays thinks that expectations are "as dangerous as package bombs or land mines. They are so lethal because very often they cannot be realized, thus setting us up for deflation or even despair." We do not know what Monday will bring us: it is a mystery unfolding and we are not in control. Banish your expectations and accept the "not-knowing" dimension of working.
3. Give up the idea that you are missing something.
"You are suffering from the belief that there's something missing from your life," writes Byron Katie. "In reality, you always have what you need." Hand-in-hand with expectations goes entitlement and its opposite, the feeling of lack. Get your week off to the best start by just accepting that what you have is all you need to do what you have to do.
4. Accept that work is a mess.
In his book Awake at Work, Buddhist Michael Carroll notes that we can never have a perfect relationship with our work: "Treating work's messiness as if it were a mistake or a liability only creates further unnecessary distress and resentment. By developing the attitude that work is a mess, we can learn to relax and be curious about the surprises and interruptions." So engage with messiness, seeing both the advantages and disadvantages of things not being organized and predictable. Then you will be able to handle whatever happens creatively and with good humor.
5. Accept that boredom is part and parcel of all jobs.
The stress of long working hours, deadlines, and the pressures of productivity conspire to bring us down. Often we turn to boring activities as a place to hide out from all the tension, doing the same old things over and over again. The spiritual practice of embracing repetition and using the familiar as a route to confidence on the job is a better approach. It may even revive your passion to be creative and do something new.
6. Try an attitude of gratitude and swoon with thanks for all you have.
Whenever you feel the blues coming on, stop to count the blessings that your work makes possible. Be thankful that you have a job when so many are unemployed or underemployed.
7. Pay attention to whatever you are doing.
As you go about your duties at work, exercise the greatest care in everything you say, do, and think. When you know you have given your work this extra dose of attention, you will feel happier at the end of the day.
8. Look for the awesome.
"Observe the wonders as they appear around you," says the Sufi poet Rumi. "Don't claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent."
Consider your workplace as a kingdom of surprises, and be on the lookout for wonders in all shapes and sizes. Awe is an antidote to the blues.
9. Look twice at everything and you might be gifted with a vision.
Native Americans say that if you wish to appreciate your life, you must look at everything twice. If you believe that not only is God everywhere but you can spot the Divine presence every moment of your day, you will never see things the same way again. And when you look twice, you might even be granted a vision.
10. Be open to the grace of God.
In your relationship with the Divine, you find the promise of a new life and many chances to start over again. Each week is a gift. Begin it with a blessing:
"May a benevolent vision take hold of me and move me.
May a deep and full vision come over me.
and bust open around me.
May a luminous vision inform me, enfold me."
— David Abram in The Open Gate