Monday morning doesn’t have to be filled with trepidation, anxiety and bucket loads of coffee. Just a few simple steps on Sunday can transform the week’s start into the energy-boosting beginning you need to tackle the next five days like a boss.
We sat down with Shaleena Anand, a mindfulness and meditation coach and founder of the WIIDLO mentoring service, for her thoughts. Get involved and Sunday fear/ Monday blues will be a thing of your past.
1. Learn to breathe properly
It might sound obvious, but breathing is the best way to de-stress and prepare yourself for a week of meetings and battling that inbox. “It’s so simple, yet we so often forget to take time to stop, step back and breathe deeply. The human body can live for three weeks without food, three days without water but not a second without oxygen – proving just how important breath is,” says Shaleena. “Just a few minutes of deep breathing every two hours can significantly reduce stress.” Start every Sunday and see how long you can keep it up throughout the week.
2. Start a journal
Time to dig out that Christmas gift notepad. “Write down a list of things you feel grateful for. Scribble notes of what you want to achieve next week, month, year or even lifetime. It might seem crazy, but putting these things down on paper will make them more real and get you excited for the week ahead,” recommends Shaleena.
3. Prepare your meals in advance
Find yourself always reaching for that takeaway panini and chocolate bar on a Monday come midday? You’re not alone. No matter how busy your weekend is, take time on Sunday to prepare meals for the next five days. “Meal prepping with help you look and feel good, as well as being a great way to save extra cash,” notes Shaleena. “Ultimately what your feed your body affects your mood. Choose energy-releasing foods and ensure you are getting the right vitamins – this is essential to lowering stress levels.”
4. Go to bed earlier on Sunday night
Turn off Netflix and crawl under the duvet earlier on Sunday nights. “If you have to leave your house for work at 7am, try waking up at 5am a few days per week. Go for a run, do some meditation, make a big breakfast, read a book,” suggests Shaleena. “Enjoy this personal time, so by the time you leave for work, you’ve already included some positive experiences in your day.”
5. Get your blood pumping with exercise
It’s tempting to just cuddle up on the sofa with a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon, but it actually might be worth tugging those trainers on instead. Start the new week feeling revitalised by going for a walk every Sunday. Just a regular 10-minute walk can help relieve anxiety and depression, according to a study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
“Taking a walk in nature allows your body to release good endorphins and results in you having more energy than before you exercised,” notes Shaleena.
6. Transform your workspace
“We often associate our place of work with stress and anxiety, which means we anchor those feelings on the room we work in and the people we work around,” Shaleena says. “Bring in tools to brighten up your workplace. Change your laptop background to a beautiful sunset or a personal picture. Print it out and keep it in your pocket. Use a photo you have taken to strengthen the neurological association between yourself and that place. There are lots of exercises you can do to create the association of freedom in your mind before the grind of Monday-to-Friday kicks in again.”
7. Practise meditation
“Meditation has been practised for thousands of years and is a proven way to reduce stress and promote happiness,” says Shaleena. Happy people are 31 per cent more productive and three times more creative than their unhappy counterparts, according to a study by the American Psychological Association. “There are plenty of options – you can take part in meditation classes or sign up for online guided meditation sessions. Simple acts such as remembering everything you are grateful for when you wake up in the morning can make a big difference. Do this every time you feel stress building up inside. It’s hard to feel stress or anger while feeling grateful.”