The Sunday Best: A Monday Restart
Year One, Volume Four
The Sunday Best is a paid-subscription only, but I’ve discovered that not everyone on that list is receiving it. So I am going to send this edition to everyone while I try to sort out the issue.
If you’re not a subscriber, I hope you enjoy it. If you are, I hope to fix the issue promptly.
This newsletter is about making the most of your Sunday so that you can make your week easier. But what do you do when a bad, stressful Monday tanks everything you planned?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into work refreshed and ready for the week only to step into a raging inferno. That kind of Monday burnout can ruin the whole week. So let’s talk about how to rise from the ashes of a bad day like a phoenix.
Rule One. Resist the Temptation to Eat or Drink Your Feelings
After a bad day, I’m always tempted to grab a donut on the way home or pour a cocktail while I make dinner. This short-term solution often makes me feel better temporarily, but it’s not healthy for my mind or my body.
When I feel the need to eat my feelings, I’ve started asking myself three questions: 1) am I hungry, 2) would I be eating this if today hadn’t been a flaming dumpster fire, and 3) is there something healthier I could eat?
The same logic can be applied to a cocktail. Instead of a vodka soda last week, I took a reader’s suggestion and had a soda water with citrus bitters. It gave me the sensation of drinking a cocktail without the alcohol. And with a bit of fresh lime, it’s truly delicious and feels slightly indulgent.
Rule Two. Don’t Take the Stress Home with You
When I lived in D.C., I would often walk home, processing my thoughts and worries in the mile-and-a-half it took me to get from my office to my apartment. Now, I try to process on my evening commute but, my drive is only 8-minutes and I’m just not that good at processing my feelings.
So when I get home, I go into my bedroom to change my clothes, wash my face, and work through the thoughts that have overcome my mind. If I need more time, I fold laundry or straighten up the bedroom.
I don’t settle in for the night until my mind is more relaxed. Sometimes it takes 20-minutes to get there. Sometimes I have to meditate in a closet with the lights off to focus a bit more. But I do whatever it takes to get my mind right before we sit down for dinner so that I don’t bring that stress into my home or back to my husband.
Rule Three. Prepare for the Next Day
I know this feels a little junior high, but when I’m preparing for the day, I like to choose my outfit the night before. It’s one less thing to think about in the morning, and it gives me a little peace of mind knowing that I can be ready in a timely manner.
It’s also important to wear an outfit that feels good when you’re trying to bounce back from a bad day. I often wear a dress for comfort, some flats, and jewelry that feels special. Or, if I’m feeling like I need more of a boost, I’ll put on a power suit.
In addition to picking out my clothes, I like to write down a to-do list or a list of thoughts. I don’t want my mind “doing the list” as I lie awake, and scribbling down a plan for the next day can put a stop to that.
Rule Four. Put Your Phone Away Before Bed
If my day has been absolute hell in a hand basket, I try to make some device-free time before bed. Maybe I read a magazine, watch an episode of Schitt’s Creek, clean up the kitchen, paint my toe nails, or just sit with my dogs for a minute. It’s a nice way to ease into bedtime.
Just set your alarm. Put the phone on the charger. And walk away 30- to 45-minutes before you’re ready to go to sleep. Your mind will thank you.
Rule Five. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To
By far the biggest thing you can do to rectify a bad day is to plan something fun or relaxing for the next weekend. Maybe it’s a homemade brunch with mimosas. Maybe you bought a new book or found a new bingeworthy show that you’re excited about. Or perhaps you plan to catch up over the phone or on Zoom with some friends.
Just find the thing that will give something to look forward to and plan it. Kyle and I are probably going ice skating this weekend. Well, Kyle will be ice skating, I will be doing my best impression of a newborn baby giraffe on ice.
So how do your fellow Thirtyish readers restart and push forward after a bad Monday? Here are 10 of their best tips for salvaging a bad week:
“Go to bed early. The extra sleep can do you good.” — Janine
“Save the tasks that can be put off for the next day. It’s easier to respond to something when your head is clear.” — Jaime B.
“Cry in the shower. Rinse it all away.” — B.L.
“Exercise! A Barre class always clears my mind.” — Kate S.
“Take a walk. Just the act of moving your body can help.” — Em
“If you need to restart mid-day, get a fresh cup of coffee and do a hard reset.” — Kay
“Do your Sunday night routine again. Good dinner, bath, skin care, sleep.” — Marissa
“Buy yourself fresh flowers. My favorite spot to get them is Trader Joe’s.” —KT
“Remind myself that yesterday is done and gone. A bad day doesn’t have to mean a bad week.” — SMB
“As a last resort, call in sick. If it’s that bad, even just showing up a little late that day can help.” — SN
I’m writing this on my lunch break, plotting how I’ll make it through this day. So if your day is equally manic, I wish you luck. Just remember that tomorrow hasn’t started yet, so you can still make it into whatever you want.