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Whether you're a career woman or a stay-at-home mom, you no doubt look forward to the weekend as a mini vacation away from the daily grind. You might even get a chance to have a grown-ups-only dinner on Saturday night! No matter what your weekend holds, it always seems that Monday morning arrives too quickly, and getting motivated for the week is harder than ever before. These eight simple strategies will help you wake up energized, instead of miserable.
1. Start your to-do list Sunday night. Instead of starting the week feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do, get a jump-start by accomplishing a few tasks the night before, such as replying to a handful of e-mails, preparing a meeting agenda, or making your grocery list. Using Sunday evening to get oriented and organized will help you feel in control all week long.
2. Plan a low-key activity for Sunday night. If you're the type of person who dreads Sunday night as much as Monday morning, then starting your to-do list early is probably the wrong move for you. Instead, plan a relaxing activity to extend the weekend and take your mind off tomorrow's woes. A family game, a movie with your spouse, or even an early dinner at home with friends may be just the special treat you need. Sunday is still the weekend, after all!
3. Clean your desk on Friday afternoon. The last few hours of the Friday workday are frequently unproductive. Take advantage of that down-time to straighten up your space. Put priority items in a neat pile. File away and throw away as much as possible. Update your to-do list. Check your calendar for Monday and get out the items you'll need now. Your clean workspace will feel refreshing come Monday morning, and you'll be able to focus and get to work quickly.
4. Start the day with exercise. Whether it's 100 jumping jacks in your living room or a 30-minute jog in the park, exercise is a sure way to beat the Monday blues. Studies have shown that exercise leads to the production of serotonin, one of the chemicals in your brain that prevents depression. In addition to heart-healthy benefits, 30-minutes of cardio is just enough to open those sweat pores, so your skin will have a healthy glow, too. How blue can you really feel if your skin is glowing?
5. Eat a healthy breakfast. Wolfing down a doughnut, or worse, having no breakfast at all, will leave you feeling cranky and sluggish. A nutritious meal, such as a vegetable omelet, oatmeal with raisins, cottage cheese topped with berries, or a protein-enriched fruit smoothie will help you stay energized all morning long.
6. Wear the right clothes. Make a point to wear your favorite outfit on Mondays. Wearing something that makes you feel attractive and comfortable will do wonders for your mood, no matter what day of the week it is. For a little daring flair, accessorize an old standby with a scarf, funky pair of earrings, or unique necklace. Pick out your outfit the night before to make sure it's wrinkle- and stain-free and you'll save time (and agony) during your morning rush.
7. Make a lunch or dinner date. Knowing you're meeting a friend later in the day will help you feel more excited in the morning. If money is an issue, bring a bag lunch and meet in a public space or even in your office. Consider scheduling a get-together every Monday. If you don't have time for lunch, take a 3 p.m. coffee break with a coworker for a quick fix.
8. Make green tea Your afternoon snack. There's something about the ritual of drinking a warm cup of tea that's soothing all by itself. Studies have shown that green tea is loaded with the antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and other health conditions. But if green tea doesn't do it for you, select any herbal tea that makes you happy. Peppermint, lemon -- as long as it doesn't have caffeine, you're in for a relaxing treat on what, by now, should be your favorite day of the week.
Originally published on LHJ.com, March 2005.