Do you think that the ancient Egyptians hated Mondays? Were they sitting around the fire with their families dreading the coming week building the pyramids and feeling under-appreciated and underpaid? Look, I don’t know and neither do you. What I can surmise is this hating Mondays thing is fairly new. When the hell did this take over our every thought starting at about 5pm EST on Sunday nights?
If you’re anything like me you have felt the sinking feeling of the Sunday Scaries. Staring down the barrel of a week filled with deadlines that were actually already missed last week…a boss who is getting squeezed from the top…an industry on the decline. Then there’s me, biting my nails thinking this just might be the week that they finally figure out that my 12 year old self is really running the show around here and my title is better offered to the intern who can do a much better job than I can. The intern comes off as so mature…
So instead of basking in the remaining hours of the weekend (my freedom) I would start the playlist in my head that said nasty-ass things to me like, “you aren’t good enough to handle this job, “no one really likes you that much and they are laughing at you right now” and my personal favorite, “you’re ugly”. Yes, clearly I must have thought that my bosses were so vapid that they were going to fire me any minute for not looking like a fashion model.
The Scaries were not the fault of my employer or the company. And, news flash, its rarely their fault you don’t like your job but we can save that for another essay. The Scaries were from my wonderful brain that was conspiring against me. Yes, it does that. Our brains are wired for danger, for running from predators in the savannah. And today, the stress we might feel from an overbearing boss, feels like danger to our million year old nervous system. In order to override this negativity bias, we must do a few things to rise above the fight, flight or freeze feelings that we get when we feel stressed.
See, before, when we didn’t have the evolved higher cognition that we do today, we could get stressed from the predator and then once we dealt with the moment by either running or fighting or playing dead, we went back to hunting, gathering, grazing, whatever era of human-ness you want to dream up about this scenario. Our nervous system would not stay in the stressful state, we would equalize and go back to normal. Not anymore. NOW we stay in the stress because our thoughts can keep us in the loop, keep the playlist going and keep us analyzing different triggers and outcomes and keep us in endless limiting thinking loops. Yay evolution!
Yes, yay! Because as much as we can think ourselves crazy with negative and limiting thoughts. The opposite is also true. And with a little daily practice, this can become your new normal.
Here are 3 easy ways I am able to override my own negativity bias that just might help you eradicate the Sunday Scaries for good, and MAKE MONDAY GREAT AGAIN!
- Accept that stress is inevitable and normal. It’s often our judgment on stress that keeps us looped. We think we shouldn’t feel stress… and now I am an idiot, I am ashamed to be feeling this way AGAIN, what’s wrong with me. We all feel it. None of us are immune. Our success is in how we handle it. Do you want to be successful? DO YOU? When I feel a trigger or stress I simply say “I feel stress right now, and I accept and love myself.” See, no judgement! (this takes practice, nothing happens overnight).
- Ask your stress a question. Now this sounds downright nuts, but stay with me. When you feel the Scaries coming on, start getting curious. When your brain is set to curiosity and not negative reactivity, you start creating and using new resourceful pathways that can help you see your stress for what it really is. This questioning can create a little space between you and what might be activating you. List a few solid reasons you are feeling the stress. Double points if you can list more than 3 reasons because it’s often not really the first reason. The first reason is usually a bullshit reason like “well I didn’t get ahead on that project like I wanted to”. That might be part of it. It’s not all of it. Promise.
- Create rituals. Look, I know you have heard this before, probably like 300 Sundays ago you told yourself that this Sunday you were going to finally create that self-care ritual so you didn’t get the Scaries. But you haven’t done it yet. And let me guess, you probably had like 10 things on the list. No eating after 7, no TV in the bedroom, remove your phone from the bedroom, Sunday night bath, tea, CBD, workout, read, play with the kid(s), talk to my husband, journal, meditate, meal prep. I wouldn’t do ANY of that either because if I made a list that long and didn’t do it all, that would mean that I failed. So pick one, I will even let you pick two, but pick something to give you an anchor. Something that makes you feel joy. For me, it’s journalling and meditation. I freaking love journaling (this started as a journal entry!). And during these 2 things, I am thinking thoughts of JOY, empowering thoughts. Anti-stress thoughts. Thoughts are POWERFUL.
Thoughts create our reality. Our thoughts alone can make Monday great again!