If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that Mondays can be a real drag, especially during the summer. Who really wants to get back to business after a lazy summer weekend? Many of us catch up with family and friends, indulge in our favorite comfort foods, stay up late and wake up later on the weekends, all of which can upset cortisol and melatonin balance and send our circadian rhythms into a frenzy. By Monday, when it’s time to reign our attention back in to make big decisions we’re an irritable, anxious mess and actually at risk of worsening our health.
As your stress levels rise, so does the action in a part of your brain called your amygdala. In a recent clinical study, researchers found time sensitive clues that indicate the risk of heart attack was significantly higher on Mondays than control days. A Harvard University study found that “levels of a substance called PAI-1, which makes blood clot more easily, peaks around 6:30 a.m., then slowly drops over the next 12 hours” which can increase also increase the risk of stroke.
With a little dose of mindfulness and a dash of planning you can stop that cycle now and achieve a complete Monday makeover to last you all summer.
Tip #1: Start every week on Friday.
There’s nothing better than turning off your computer on a Friday afternoon. After all, you’ve worked hard all week and it’s time for a break. But don’t lock the door until you’ve written out your plan for the next week. Start by plotting your meetings, Zoom calls, projects and your most important obligations first and commit them on the calendar. Next, take a few minutes to brainstorm any creative projects you may be involved in while those ideas are still fresh. A few minutes worth of brainstorming will help eliminate them getting drowned out by weekend events. Last, draft your Monday emails and set them on schedule to be sent at your preferred time on Monday. Most email programs like Google and Microsoft Outlook make this easy. With everything you need to accomplish now in place you’ll be less likely to scramble for brainpower and more likely to be focused and productive on Monday morning.
Tip #2: Stay on schedule.
For a long time it was thought that a little extra ‘sleeping in’ on weekends could help us refill our tanks from sleep lost during the week. Not anymore. New research has shown that sleep debt can’t be repaid. Staying up late on weekends can create an irregular sleep schedule which can in turn lead to more difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep which worsens sleep deprivation over time. Sleep deprivation has been tied to obesity due to the shifts in leptin and ghrelin, the hunger and satiety hormones. Lack of sleep has also been attributed to worsening cognitive function, poor focus and difficulty making complex decisions. Sticking with a consistent sleep schedule during the week and the weekend can help you feel more refreshed on Monday mornings.
Tip #3: Pack the proteins.
Having a nutrient rich, satisfying breakfast on Monday mornings is the best way to set yourself up for week long success. The right plant based, protein rich foods can provide the essential amino acids that your brain needs to function at its best. Protein rich foods along with fiber will provide your body with the energy that you need to fuel your Monday and will help curb any afternoon cravings. Some of the best plant proteins include: lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, almonds, spirulina, quinoa, mycoprotein, chia seeds, hemp seeds, kale, tofu, tempeh, edamame and blackbeans.
Just as a good day starts the night before, a good Monday starts with a Friday plan!
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