Too many memes on Instagram exist to remind you that Monday morning is the worst part of the week (just in case you couldn’t have figured that out for yourself). No matter how much you love your job, making the transition from the carefree weekend to the responsibilities of the workplace is mentally taxing. The term “Sunday Scaries” didn’t come out of nowhere, after all.
As someone who has anxiety, that Sunday-to-Monday shift used to hit me hard every single week. Without fail, it began around 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, keeping me up for hours into the night, and then jolting awake ahead of my alarm drenched in sweat. (There were plenty of occasions when I tried to remedy the situation with a few glasses of pinot noir, which only made things worse.) I’d spend the whole morning feeling anxious and overwhelmed—even before I even sat down at my computer—which meant I was already starting my week off in a bad place for my mental health.
Last year, I decided I couldn’t keep going with this sort of toxic pattern, so I crafted a Monday morning routine for myself that helps me get through that weekend-to-weekday transition on solid footing—or as I like to call it, #MentalHealthMonday. The routine is far from elaborate (I’m not one of those people who meditates for two hours or practices witchcraft in my living room, though, #respect). Rather, it’s a series of small, manageable (and mostly free!) steps that help me to feel my best at a time that would otherwise put me at my worst. My morning culminates in the most important step of all—a 45-minute session with my therapist—and by the time I walk into my office (blasting Lizzo music into my AirPods, another critical element of my self-care routine) I’m ready to tackle whatever Monday’s got in store for me.
The term “self-care” gets thrown around a lot, and has recently wound up with a bad reputation for being selfish or superfluous. But for me, these three hours of self-care are critical for my mental health. Watch the video above to see what my #MentalHealthMonday routine entails, and consider finding one of your own (it will likely be totally different than mine!) to kick those Sunday Scaries to the curb every single week.
If you want to integrate more self-care into your life, this checklist can help. And no matter what your self-care routine looks like (or how much Lizzo is involved), it should always start with this step.