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A case of the Mondays

If that phrase sounds familiar, there is a chance you have watched Office Space, or have at least been exposed to a meme or two from the movie. If it resonates with you, there is also a chance you are familiar with the comic featuring Garfield the cat. I read a lot of comics when I was a kid and Garfield was a staple (along with Calvin and Hobbes and a host of others from the comics page of our local paper). But Garfield really struck a note with my younger self. I hated Mondays. I'm not sure when that first developed, but my guess is it had something to do with going to school. I did not enjoy going to school. I'm also not positive when that first developed, but I know by 2nd or 3rd grade I was already grumpy every Monday morning.

As an adult, I must admit I'm still not a fan of Monday mornings. I'm not sure exactly why, but I think there is a lingering resentment from years of seeing my life as a series of moments that were repetitive and full of tasks/jobs/schooling that I mostly didn't enjoy. Allow me another pop culture reference - the band Loverboy had a song titled "Working for the Weekend" that was a staple on FM radio when I was growing up. And much of my family and community was defined by this sentiment. Lower middle class families that worked hard, complained endlessly about their bosses and jobs, dreamed of someday retiring early and dragged themselves into each weekend. The collective angst on Monday morning was palpable.

Over the past few years, I have tried to address Monday mornings with a slightly different approach. In fact, my attempt to deal with a lifetime of disdain for the start of the work week begins the night before. A couple of years back, I started to examine what I dislike so much about the week ahead. I have to admit that I do enjoy my work as a professional and often look forward to seeing clients and spending time with coworkers. Up until the pandemic changed our social routines, my family got together with another family or two and watched Monday Night Football. And because of the nature of my work, I could determine my own schedule. I blocked off Monday mornings so I could be sure to have time with my two boys before sending them off to school. Like most children, they didn't like the weekend ending and school starting again. But having their dad make them breakfast, their favorite t-shirts and pants all clean, and an escort to school made it a little easier. And having something to look forward to after school helped shorten the day as the anticipation of playing with friends eased the burden of schoolwork.

You may not have the same flexibility to totally alter your schedule or dictate when you must be engaged in work. You can, however, start to practice mindfulness around your work routine and shift the focus onto the things you are looking forward to. It's possible to create a new routine around Monday evenings that help you and your family anticipate something special awaiting the end of the work day. A family game night, or a movie, or ordering food from your favorite restaurant are all activities that traditionally get pushed towards the end of a week. There is no rule that says you have to wait.

Most importantly, acknowledging your own anxieties around an issue and examining how you cope with those anxieties are the tenets of practicing mindfulness. Even if you don't make big changes, your awareness may provide more comfort than begrudgingly going about yet another week. We cannot stop the steady churn of time, but we can find ways to slow down and embrace our circumstances. We shouldn't always need the weekend to provide relief. In fact, each day can hold as much value as the next.

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