Ever get the Sunday Scaries? That pit in your stomach when you realize the weekend is over and you have to go back to work on Monday? Or that feeling of dread when you examine the to-dos for the week ahead and aren’t sure how you are possibly going to get everything done?
A lot of people look for monday motivation to start the week off strong. And they aren’t alone. “It’s a big transition from a warm, cozy bed to the reality of our new day,” said Elizabeth Hinkle, LMFT and Talkspace therapist. “Mondays can be an extra challenging time with yet another transition from the weekend of free time to the structure of the work week.” She finds it can be helpful for people to establish a Monday morning routine to manage the stress of these transitions and the impact on anxiety and mood. Instead of falling victim to our culture of busyness, morning routines can help our minds and bodies adjust to what we need to do and prepare ourselves for the day ahead.
Below are five tips and journal prompts to help you establish a motivational Monday morning routine to get your week started off on the right foot:
1. Do What Works Best for You
There’s a ton of advice out there about how to create a motivation morning routine. From drinking warm lemon water and going to the gym to meditating and writing in a gratitude journal —it can be hard to know where to start. How am I supposed to make time for all of this? What happens if I miss a day? Is it bad that I am not a journaler?
According to Hinkle, the key to creating a motivational Monday morning routine that sticks is knowing what works best for you. So, for example, if you are not typically a “morning person,” don’t beat yourself up that you aren’t popping out of bed at 5am to hit the gym. Perhaps some gentle stretching or breathing exercises that you can do from the comfort of your bed is a more supportive way to start the day.
“The facts are, we all have different times of day when we’re at our best,” said Hinkle. “It’s important to refrain from judging ourselves about when our peak moments are; more importantly, know what works best for you.”
Monday Motivation Journal Prompt: When do you typically feel at your best and how can your motivational morning routine support that?
2. Stay Flexible
It can feel frustrating when you oversleep or run out of time for your typical morning rituals that start your day off on the right foot. Like…when I scroll too long on Instagram and run out of time to make my smoothie in the morning. This often sends me into a funk for the day. I have to remember to be kind to myself and stay flexible during the ebbs and flows of life, no matter how big or small they are.
Hinkle is a fan of flexible thinking and believes that having back-up plans can help motivational morning routines from becoming an obligation or another stressor in the day. “Ideally your routine leaves ample time for human error and times you’re not always moving as quickly,” explained Hinkle. She suggests hanging a list of the Monday morning rituals that are most important to you someplace obvious — the bathroom mirror, for example — and doing those first. Creating reminders on your calendar or using a robot assistant can be helpful, too.
Monday Motivation Journal Prompt: What the #1, non-negotiable element of your morning routine?
3. Prioritize Your Needs
Everyone has different needs when it comes to their morning routine. Figure out what’s not currently working for you and design your motivational morning routine around how to support your specific needs. Ask yourself:
- Are you feeling too rushed in the mornings?
- Do you wake up feeling tired?
- Do you have a lot of anxiety in the morning?
Your needs may also vary over time or change based on other factors such as the change from one season to the next. For example, Hinkle encourages her clients to incorporate more light and time outside in their routines during the winter months, when possible, since it tends to be a darker, more isolated time of year. Hinkle also finds some form of physical activity to be beneficial. It could take the form of a short walk, some yoga/stretching, or a quick routine on the mat at home. She adds that your “main goal is to start the day feeling less stressed and overwhelmed.”
Monday Motivation Journal Prompt: What is your underlying motivation for establishing a morning routine?
4. Start Small
Especially if you are new to motivational morning routines, it can be tempting to try to squeeze in a lot of new rituals at once. Try to remember to start small, even if this means simply going to bed 15 minutes earlier so you can wake up not feeling rushed in the morning.
“Changing everything at once typically doesn’t work!” said Hinkle. She recommends starting with one slight change such as not pressing snooze on your alarm, setting aside 10 minutes to have coffee with a loved one, or dancing to your favorite song before you leave for work. Morning routines don’t need to be elaborate or time-consuming to be effective.
Monday Motivation Journal Prompt: What is one small change you can make that will enhance your morning?
5. Practice Self-Compassion
Be patient with yourself through the process of changing habits and establishing a new morning routine. These things take time and missing a meditation here or there doesn’t make you less of a good person. Every morning is the chance to see the world through new eyes. You may be full of energy some days, and not others. It is all ok. Learning to dance to the rhythm of your own natural energy cycles can be the greatest gift you give to yourself.
Monday Motivation Journal Prompt: When you are feeling down, what helps you to boost your mood?
We are an increasingly busy culture that values productivity above all else. By slowing down in the morning and creating a routine that you look forward to every day, you are helping set yourself up for your version of success. Whether that’s feeling grounded, motivated, or closer to loved ones, motivational Monday morning routines may be just the medicine you need to get rid of those pesky Sunday Scaries and start the week off feeling your best.