If you’re anything at all like me, at least once a week you’ll feel a sudden surge of great intentions. ‘This is the week I’m going to get my life together’, I’ll vow to my long-suffering housemates as I determine to become the kind of student that my 2016 Pinterest fooled me into thinking I’d be.
Despite my Insta feed being flooded with various versions of the ‘clean-girl’, ‘Monday-motivation’, and ‘balanced’ lifestyle aesthetics, sometimes I think there’s just too much advice. Frankly, it’s impossible to remember if I’m meant to drink my chia and lemon water before or after my 5:30 pm self-worth journal session.
So whether that Fresher’s feeling has worn off and you’re finally grappling with the lack of imposed routine, or you’ve had to begrudgingly accept that uni work actually counts towards your final degree, I’m here to cut through the clutter with the top tricks and tips for making the most of a Monday morning and starting the week as you mean to go on.
Unfortunately, there’s no real way of sugarcoating this one. We’re well into Autumn now and it’s become increasingly likely that you’re up before the sun. Not even the impending clock changes really take the edge off that one. If you’re still refusing to turn on the heating it feels like being under the covers might be the warmest part of your day.
Three words: Get. Over. It.
On Sunday night put your alarm on full volume and abandon that baby in the furthest corner of your room. One more thing: during that sedated stumble across your room, whack those bedroom lights on. Yes, in the moment it feels like hell, and your retinas might be burning from the inside, but either way you’re certainly out of bed.
Deep breath, you’ll be okay. Everything gets easier from here.
You’re awake now, no going back. So, in the words of my idol, Olivia Newton-John, “let’s get physical.”
A run, a full-blown leg-day workout, ten simple star jumps: the form of exercise does not matter. You could even whack on some cheesy tunes and dance like you’re in 42s and have left your dignity at the door. Just five minutes of concentrated exercise in the morning has a number of proven benefits – improved mood, higher energy, increased alertness, and concentration.
Seems scary? Luckily there are so many great apps and YouTube videos designed to help motivate you. Personally, I’d recommend the 30 Days Pilates challenge app (free of course), but Yoga with Adriene is always a winner – because who can say no to a downwards dog?
Listen to the radio, read a passage from a book or a page of a newspaper (Mancunion anyone?). Do anything that captures your attention and connects you to the rest of the world.
If like me you want to start the week feeling smug, the go-to is always BBC Radio 4. My genuine knowledge of current events might be embarrassingly limited but at least I can pretend to hold my own against the Politics and International Relations students.
Alternatively, you can never go wrong with a podcast. There’s even a great article on our website with astrology-based suggestions if you’re in need of something new.
In a similar vein, every main character needs a backing track. When you’re trying to harness energy and alacrity, silence is stifling, certainly not golden.
Switch on Spotify and get those tunes blasting. 2010’s Throwbacks, Top 100 Musical Tracks, 1950s Love songs. Cheesy? Sing-a-long? Genuinely quite tasteful? It doesn’t matter.
My single stipulation is this – sad, self-pitying ballads are banned until at least 5 pm.
This is the hill I am prepared to die on. Morning shower supremacy. If you’re not already a disciple, fear not, you don’t have to sacrifice your Sunday evening bathe, shave and whatnot. But listen: we can do both.
Grab that loofah and get to work. Scrub away a weekend that’s left you worse for wear and remerge fresh-faced and fighting fit. I want you reborn, almost virginal in your cleanliness.
A shower gets the blood pumping, flowing to your brain, and shaking you into action. (Also, no one wants to be known as the sweaty seminar kid).
Moment of honesty… I’m sometimes guilty of substituting breakfast for a very strong coffee – and it’s not something I’m proud of. Best advice: have something in your fridge that you’re really looking forward to eating. Smoothie? Eggs? Toast? Protein Shake? Chocolate cake? Whatever floats your boat.
Eating something delicious for breakfast serves a three-fold purpose: Not only will it provide momentary Monday joy and give you the energy to put all your good intentions into practice, but it also guarantees you won’t be that one person in the lecture whose stomach is moaning louder than their housemates ex-gf.
I understand that the morning ride on the 142 might be fundamental to the Fallowfield experience, and I’m probably undertaking a Herculean task attempting to change that, but I’m still going to try.
The bus route on a Monday morning is a misery. It’s no surprise people dread the start of the week when their day begins with a painfully slow, dreary journey with only bleak, grey, zombie-faced peers for company.
I’m not suggesting you sacrifice that well-deserved seat that comes from boarding the bus pre-OP stop. Instead, consider riding most of the way there and getting off a few stops before uni. After all, ten minutes of walking is still beneficial and much more palatable than 40 minutes.
Give it a go once and I guarantee you’ll be surprised how much difference it makes. A 9 am lecture is a lot more bearable if both your brain and body have been engaged already, and if you time it right you could even treat yourself to something from Lidl’s bakery section.
You know those Instagram girlies I mentioned earlier, the people who seem perpetually put together? Want to know their secret? PREPARATION.
You wouldn’t catch them scrambling around in the morning, one shoe on, frantically brushing their teeth, rehousing the contents of their wardrobe to the floor because they just cannot find their keys anywhere (definitely not a personal anecdote).
Monday Mornings are shaped by your Sunday Night. And the good news – it takes less than ten minutes.
Treat yo’(future) self and get your life in order. Labs tomorrow? Check your coat is clean. Know you need a certain textbook? Locate it and place it front and centre on your desk. Laptop – charging. Keys – located. Meals – Prepped. Hotel – Trivago.
It truly doesn’t take long, you can keep Netflix streaming in the background and, unlike any part of a night out after 2:30 am, the repercussions are actually rewarding. The motto I live by? Fake it till you make it. Wake up secure that you’re semi-sorted and head into your day determined to trick everyone else into thinking you’ve got the rest of your life just as secure.
Whether you start to incorporate just one or two of these into your routine or fully submerge yourself in my unsolicited, non-scientific (but very well-meaning) advice, I wish you all the best as you transform your Monday mood and mindset.
See you on the walk to uni!