By Stephanie Booth
This story originally appeared on LearnVest.
It’s hard not to resent Mondays. The day marks the end of the fun and freedom of the weekend—and that’s especially true during the summer, when ordinary Saturdays and Sundays have a carefree vacation vibe.
Even if you love your job, the angst of having to go back to the grind on Monday can leave you disorganized and spinning your wheels all day, explains Richard Citrin, Ph.D., MBA, an organizational and consulting psychologist and author of “The Resilience Advantage.” Then you have to spend the rest of the week playing catch up.
But while Monday is going to happen whether you like it or not, that lack of productivity doesn’t have to. The key is to adopt a few smart habits on Sunday so you set yourself up for a brighter, more efficient workweek without really cutting into your weekend R&R time. These tips will help you do just that.
Steal an Hour to Get Organized
Whipping out the calendar app on your phone or tablet while you’re poolside or enjoying a sports marathon on TV is probably not how you planned to spend Sunday. But trust us, it’ll pay off.
“Taking no more than an hour out from your Sunday to anticipate the week ahead and get organized will help you free up head space and reduce worry,” says Christine M. Allen, Ph.D., a psychologist, executive and coach. Check your calendar, email a note to a coworker or yourself and make a to-do list prioritizing tasks you expect to come in first thing in the a.m.
And if you really want a happier Sunday to set you up for Monday, try knocking out annoying chores earlier in the day rather than waiting until the last minute. You know the ones: doing that load of laundry, prepping for next week’s meals or laying out your work clothes so you aren’t tearing through your closet desperately looking for something decent to wear. Tackle them ahead of time, and you can coast through the rest of the weekend.
Fill Your Plate With Healthy Food
Do your feasting on Friday and Saturday, as an indulgent Sunday brunch or dinner can make Monday stress worse. Consuming rich, heavy food and alcohol on Sunday will sink you into a food coma that can leave you lethargic on Monday morning, explains Debra Nessel, RDN, CDE, a registered dietitian with Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California.
Aim for three balanced, delicious meals on Sunday, each containing lean protein and complex carbs to give you steady energy and lots of high-fiber fruits and vegetables to aid digestion and leave you feeling full. Remember to skip the cocktails or brew and fill your glass with plenty of water. Alcohol is dehydrating, and that brings on the mental fog and sluggishness that intensifies stress.
Add Meaning to the Day
No judgment if your preferred way of spending Sunday afternoon is sacked out on the couch binge-watching “Game of Thrones.” But making your Mondays brighter might come down to designating Sunday as the day you do something active that’s personally fulfilling—such as going on a nature hike or walking shelter dogs.
We all have things we have to get done over the weekend, but there’s something to be said for making time for activities that are consistent with your values and connect you to the people you love, says Allen. Scheduling a yoga session with friends or volunteering in your community, for example, lends meaning to the day and resets your mental and spiritual batteries, so you’ll go into Monday feeling accomplished and inspired.
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