From ‘Meh Monday’ to Motivated: Boosting Productivity to Kick-Start Your Week

I wasn’t feelin’ it – so I took a day off. Today, the world looks different. And amazing!

Like so many others, I spend my days talking to people, mostly on zoom, and ask what they’re experiencing in their corner of the world. On any given week, I’ll have a conversation with someone in Canada, Ireland, Australia, Ukraine, Philippines, and Israel – often also chatting with folks in Sri Lanka, Peru, Russia, or India. It’s amazing how accessible the globe is to us. But it also reveals the strain that so many people are grappling with, managing time zones at all hours day and night, grinding away at their work (jobs and startups in particular), and trying to rediscover work-home balance whose line has been blurred since COVID hit.

For over one year now, people have been making jokes about what day of the week it is. “Sunday? Could be! or it could possibly be Monday. Meh. Everyday is the same.”

Through my conversations, it’s become clear that there is a pervasive sense of emotional exhaustion that’s apparent both within and beyond my little circle. This recent article in USA Today is one of the best that I’ve read on mental health; it clearly highlights the different levels of well-being. “Burnout” is, perhaps, the most recognizable of the seven levels described. Cynicism and reduced effectiveness in your job are the telling signs. Emotional exhaustion straddles burnout and depression. This is best characterized by a perpetual sense of being overwhelmed. And that struck close to home. 

Aloneliness: Coping with the Opposite of Loneliness During the Pandemic

For those who are languishing, you’re not alone – there is a lot of that in this post-COVID era. You’re not feeling low but you’re not feeling fabulous either. Instead, you’re caught somewhere in between. Experts say to focus on small joys and to let others know how you’re feeling. Aloneliness is a term that’s new to me: it’s the opposite of being lonely. In this pandemic world, many of us haven’t left our homes and we’re with the same people all day, everyday. Without any alone time, we find ourselves craving solitude. With summer here for many of us around the globe, it’s a perfect opportunity to indulge yourself with long walks. Anxiety and depression are on the other end of the mental health spectrum and I’m not qualified to comment on either of these. If you’re experiencing either emotional state, please talk to a professional and get help. 

Lastly, of course, there is flourishing. You know; it’s that feeling when you wake up in the morning, thrilled to be alive, ticking off all the things you are grateful for, and then bouncing  through your day. Everything in your life is peachy-keen. Your relationships are marvelous. Exercise, healthy eating, and uninterrupted sleep are part of your daily regimen. You love your job and have established a firm boundary between working and non-working hours and maintain high levels of productivity – even if you’re working from your kitchen.

That used to be me. The choice of verb tense here was deliberate. Lately, there’s been a ton going on with our startup (normal startup stuff, nothing unusual by any means). Stress is building, of course, and there’s nothing unusual about that either. Couple that with insane work weeks for a year and a half without a break, little time with my family (immediate and extended), and then wow, flourishing seems like a goal that’s more unattainable than becoming a unicorn. It finally hit me – I’m emotionally exhausted.

From Emotional Exhaustion to Sacred Sundays: A Journey Back to Self-Care

So, I took Sunday off. We hiked, embracing “shinrin-yoku,” which is forest-bathing in Japanese. The smells, sights, and sounds were glorious. Even the Hudson River had a pretty blue tint to it versus it’s typical churned-up brown. As a family, we played cornhole (and threw the bean bags at each other to make the game more interesting). We had a cook-out with the music playing through the patio speakers – not too loudly, of course, as we respect our neighbors, but it definitely had a party vibe. The teens’ phones were down (okay, not entirely, but for the most part), and we talked about stuff. Together. Then we hung out as a family and watched Cruella, which is as divine as it is creative; not to mention the fantabulous fashion it offered. 

It was a glorious day. I ignored the incessant beeps and chirps on my phone from Slack, WhatsApp, text messaging, calls, and all of the other three zillion ways that I’m pinged. I felt liberated. And then I went to bad, happy – and I slept through the night – something I haven’t done in a long, long time. 

When I woke up this morning, it wasn’t another Meh Monday, it was a Maybe Monday. Maybe this is the week that our startup breaks through. Maybe this is the week that they’ll reopen the Canadian border so that I can see my family. Maybe this marks the beginning of a “Sacred Sundays” weekly ritual where I ignore my laptop and phone, reconnect with all those around me, and embrace all that life has to offer. Maybe, maybe so. 

I’m kicking emotional exhaustion to the curb, committing to a Sacred Sundays regime, and getting back to me, to who I am – not who I *was.* Whatever this week holds for me, I’m ready. BRING. IT. ON.

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