- What I’m Reading: Never Rescue A Rogue by Virginia Heath
- What I’m Listening To: First Aid Kit‘s new album Palomino
- What I’m Watching: Binge watching seasons 6 and 7 of Alone with my 18-year-old
Ah, Monday, my old friend. Back again. Why is it that the first day of a new work week (whatever day of the week that is!) fails to fill us with excitement and optimism? Well, an uncountable number of reasons tied to oppressive systems (rest is resistance, y’all); the Great Resignation has shown us that how we structure our time at work needs to change and flex, and is, though it may look different for different roles and different sectors, with some feeling (and able to feel) those changes more than others.
Moving and changing systems, and the philosophy that underpins them, is significant work. Our own well-being can’t wait for these changes to come — as we advocate for a kinder, more collaborative, more inclusive world, including our work worlds, we need to make sure we are caring for what we have control over, too: our own personal environment.
So on this Monday, I invite you to take some time for yourself, and for your own reflection. You’ll benefit, and so will your co-workers, the projects you work on today, and those you serve. Some ideas:
- The move back to standard time from daylight saving time can be hard for many, because it is darker so much earlier in the evening. But the switch also comes with more morning light. When was the last time you watched the sun rise? Why not spend 5 or 10 minutes tomorrow morning around 7am feeling the early morning sun on your face? Research shows when we expose our bodies to early morning light, it can help us feel more energized during the day and sleep better, too.
- Maybe you could fit in a walk before work? Whether you listen to your favorite podcast or the sounds of sounds of your neighborhood waking up around you, take some time to move your body at the speed you want and settle into the day.
- Cherish your morning cup of coffee. Your rituals are important. Don’t rush. Maybe now is the time to do something special just for you on the first morning of your work week. (Not only does my 16-year-old get a ride to school with my husband on Monday mornings, they stop and get breakfast sandwiches from the coffee shop. Because if the first day of the work week is brutal, the first day of the week at high school is probably worse.)
- Reach out to a friend you haven’t chatted with for a while. Maybe that’s picking up the phone, or sending a text, or walking to a different floor or department and saying hi face to face. Connect with the people who make you feel good and remind you of what you enjoy.
- In fact, make space in the day for those things you enjoy! The work will always be there. Your to-do list will never be done. The things you finished last time will come back again for round 2 (or 2 million). Let’s find even 10 minutes in the day to do something you do just for you, even if it is, for now, taking baby steps to make that time happen.
- If you lead a team, or a department, or a whole city, ask yourself what you can do today to help the people who work with you feel heard and supported on whatever day is the start of their workweek. Having run a 7-day-a-week department for decades, even something as simple as the City Manager’s office acknowledging Monday isn’t the first day of everyone’s work week can make a difference — especially when that acknowledgement is present in policies related to employee well-being. Maybe your Monday task will be to read Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report for more ideas!
Don’t attack today. Ease into it. Celebrate the little things. A cared for you can better care for those around you, and a cared for all of us can truly make amazing stuff happen.