It happens every week, Sunday afternoons roll around and I start feeling the pressure of the impending new week beginning with the Monday morning rush and all that it brings: school lunches, kid’s backpacks and rushing out the door by 7:30am. Then there is work to be reassessed and prioritized as well as whatever piled up over the weekend in the inbox to be gone through. Obligations and appointments planned for the upcoming week also seem to pile on the mental pressure with exercising, kid’s activities, medical appointments, volunteer commitments and maybe even lunch dates on the schedule. Along with all our personal and family obligations, the beginning of the week also brings with it a flood of new digital information, world news, blog posts, tweets and more to catch up on.
The beginning of the week can feel far from simple.
What can be done to start the week a little slower, more simply, with less rush and increased peace and clarity? Below are some ways that I have found significantly reduces my stress level as I start a new week.
-Plan and prepare. There’s nothing worse than starting a day with a lot to accomplish and no plan to get it done. Not having some type of plan or schedule usually means the day will run you, with feelings of being out of control of your time and energy. Take some time on Saturday or Sunday morning to sit down and look at your upcoming week. Plan when you need to wake up to be ready to leave on time, do you or your spouse need to leave work early one day to pick up a child for an appointment? Maybe you are having friends over on Friday for dinner, what’s on the menu? Doing some planning can ease a lot of the stress of the upcoming week, simply because you know how you are going to get things done, and how it will fit in your schedule.
-Don’t over-schedule. If you have found that you over-scheduled your week, make space. Don’t be afraid to move a lunch date with a friend, re-schedule a dentist appointment or talk to your manager about extending the deadline on a project. Forego the movie night you had planned and order in and play a simple board game instead. Sometimes you may need to cancel things on your schedule just so you can ‘catch your breath’, if the week before felt chaotic, or the week after will be a doozy. Sometimes you won’t be able to help it and a busy week will be inevitable, but most weeks you will be able to control through your own scheduling and preparation.
-Make Mondays slow. I don’t schedule any extra-curricular activities, medical appointments; lunch dates or work meetings on Mondays, to allow for as slow a start to the week as possible. I also plan for simple meals, like oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and fish and veggies for dinner. Knowing that my Monday will be low-key and simple almost feels like an extension of the weekend, but with a slow easing back into the weekly routine of work and kid’s going to school.
-Take five, or ten. Wake five to ten minutes earlier than you normally would and allow yourself some time to stretch, drink a glass of water and greet the day quietly for a few minutes. Easing your body and mind into the day instead of jumping out of bed does wonders in setting the atmosphere in the morning as one of ease and quiet control.
Starting the week with a simpler, more peaceful mood instead of rushing into it like a whirlwind can set the tone for the upcoming days. It can mean the difference between feeling like you are out-of-control of your time and activities, and feeling like you are intentionally living each day to it’s fullest potential. Start your week simply and find increased mental energy and inner peace.