As I was swimming this morning, in a lane all by myself, I was wondering about the pre-Monday blues.
Why do so many of us get this Sunday evening surge of anxiety?
I get it and I don't even have a j-j-Job to go to. Which could be part of the reason. Who knows! But I've had it in a j-j-Job, working as my own boss, or being a vacationing slacker. The Monday Thing appears to have no favorites.
And in preparation for Monday, I always have to get my wits about me, as in: have a super mellow Sunday afternoon-eve to prepare for my week ahead. In some ways it feels like my emotional core is saying "Don't move. Stay very still, almost comotose and don't go anywhere, don't speak to anyone new because I have to get very, very mellow in order to deal with the week ahead. Oy. Shhhh!"
And then there's a far-away cry from some other inner being that has her eyes closed and fists pressed closely to her chest and is screaming bloody murder: "Oh no another Monday. Oh noooo!"
(I just thought of "Mr. Bill" from old SNLs)
In short, I wonder what kind of message I'm sending myself when I go: "Oh shit we gotta hunker down Sunday! Another week incoming. Get out the bath salts and hard hat."
I mean jeepers, Monday is just another day. Right? Yeah, I didn't buy it either.
So. Why does Monday have to be that tense first day of another week in which we count down the hours until Friday, at which point we hurdle ourselves into two frenzied days of socializing and family time and a little sleeping in and sports and naps and chores and yard work and errands and then...
.... It's 4pm Sunday. Do you know where your serenity is?
I have nothing new to say here except: Four day work weeks, for one. However, staying on topic...
Let's do some accepting here. Part of this Monday windup might be the reality of time--and our cycles. Our lives happen to be made up of a cycle of weeks. The common question is: "What are you up to this week?" We plan around our weeks, and yes, sometimes months when we're super busy which most of us are. But we start first with weeks.
So what if weeks rule as the predominant daily-life cycle of time. Are we getting closer to explaining this phenom?
Let's say we pace ourselves around a cycle of weeks, and it's a form of calendrical breathing. Innnnn (Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursdsay) Ouuuuut (Friday Saturday Sunday).
And the fact that anyone wants to be quiet and mellow and store up for the week ahead makes sense.
But this morning, for whatever reason, I was asking myself about the way I sometime sleep restlessly on Sunday nights. Could I spin Sunday anticipation as the excitement and adrenaline spiking over the surprises that could come out of the next cycle of seven days? Mhmm.
Of course, sometimes Monday is a simple return to a challenging period of time, and that's that. And challenges do pass with a series of weeks and Sundays and Mondays. And all we can do in the meantime is be super gentle and compassionate towards ourselves and whisper a lot of sweet nothings in our ears. And eat something delicious Sunday night with our favorite people.
And go for a walk. Or watch a favorite old comfort-food movie. With said food.
Sunday evening walks with someone you really, really like will really, really help.
Quick Monday lessons: Once I had a job where I just attacked Mondays. Got up hungry, pumping my arms all the way to work, going Grrrr, I'll show that Monday who's boss. I was practically salivating in a swirl of papers and running down the hallways to meetings.
I showed that Monday! I stayed at work late, got so much done I could almost take it easy the rest of the week.
But then: I was toast the rest of the week. I started out too fast (if you've ever done that in a sports event or race you know how sucky and even embarrassing it is). I finally learned to ease into the week. Pace myself.
Now, I make Monday an "easy" day. No heroics. Just show up and gently do my best. No big accomplishments allowed. If I wake up and get out of bed and show up somewhere for something, that's enough.
And on Sunday I'll do something like go for a trail run with friends and try to find someone to have dinner with and go for a walk and be super gentle and easy with myself--reminding myself over and over: Monday is an easy day. Easy, you just have to breathe. Easy.
And now, to honor the gentle beauty of Mondays, read this beautiful story. With pictures. And meaning and humor.
My niece, Taya, and her dad, on a family vacation in Scottsdale. It must have been a Monday!