“Joy” isn’t typically a word that describes Monday mornings, but you can beat those Monday blues and turn your tedious drudgery into magnificent joy!
It is currently Monday morning, a time of the week so many people dread and grumble about. I’ve certainly been there more times than I’d like to admit! But today, I am sitting here with a big ol’ smile on my face, basking in the beauty of the morning with great expectations for the rest of the day. And the rest of the week. And, heck, the rest of the foreseeable future!
This morning, my sister passed her oral comps for her master’s nursing program and we jumped up and down and did a happy dance in the hallway. My nephew collapsed into a fit of giggles when my sister accidentally tore his pancake. My niece, nephew, and I sang Christmas carols together as I drove them to school (you should hear this 4-year-old boy belt out, “Gloooooooooria” – talk about enthusiasm!). I am two days away from seeing some of my dearest friends (who are really more like family) that I have been missing terribly for the last 6 months. My smiles are brimming with sunshine, praises are overflowing from my lips, and I have a noticeable spring in my step.
Sure, you could say joy just comes naturally to me (though I’m not so sure that’s true for anyone), or my circumstances just put me in a more joyful environment (I think those grounds are a little shaky, too). Maybe you could even give credit to the mug of coffee with salted caramel creamer that I enjoyed this morning (and that could definitely be a small part of my bounciness). But instead, I want to offer you a different explanation for the happiness bubbling over in my life on a typical Monday morning.
I am able to feel this happiness on an utterly ordinary morning because I have honed the skill of joy. I am nowhere near perfect, and I have terrible mornings here and there, but I have practiced and practiced the art of feeling great pleasure in the good times, the hard times, the ordinary, and the extraordinary.
And you can do the same thing! This exuberant delight can be yours, too. Push past the grumpiness, reach out and capture the joy that’s right in front of you! Here are some things that helped turned my mornings around.
Go to bed on time on Sunday night so that you can wake up rested and refreshed. Wake up a little earlier to take the rush out of your morning. Make your lunch the night before. Set out your clothes before you go to bed. Eat a good breakfast. Gather all of your things to have them ready to go. Look at your schedule ahead of time so you are prepped and ready for your day. Set yourself up for things to go as smoothly as possible on Monday morning!
Celebrate the little things.
It’s easy to be happy when you’ve just been promoted, gotten that new job, or bought your first house. New and shiny things are certainly reasons to celebrate, but don’t wait for big news like that to turn your morning around! Look for the little things – your favorite song playing on the radio, a sweet smile from your child, the brilliantly pink and orange sunrise streaked across the sky.
Downplay the little setbacks.
When you start going down that road of negativity, redirect yourself back to happiness. My nephew could have been heartbroken this morning that his pancake was torn in two (some other morning he might have been), instead, he brushed it off with laughter. When you can get past the little stuff without blowing it out of proportion – tripping (again!) over the toy in the living room, the spilled glass of milk, the last-minute request for help – you are setting yourself up for a whole day of joy.
Add happy into your morning.
My sister knows Monday mornings are hard, so she planned a special breakfast for this morning to start our day right. She also reads a chapter from a library book as we eat breakfast, which the kids absolutely love. I look forward to salted caramel creamer in my morning coffee while I read my Bible. My parents love starting their mornings with a few stretches, which they’ve done for as long as I can remember! Build joy into your life – stop waiting and start creating!
Choose your focus.
Don’t think I can’t relate to grumpy mornings! I am not a morning person and I could very easily flip the tone of this entire blog post. I could describe my morning in a way that would make it sound discontent, dull, and gloomy.
My dog woke me up before my alarm clock when the heater kicked on and made him nervous (it doesn’t take much), I couldn’t find the shirt I wanted to wear, it was cold outside while we waited on the playground for the morning bell to ring, and I hit every red light on the way to my nephew’s school. Both versions are entirely true, but that perspective shift changes everything.
You may never have a morning that goes 100% perfectly, but that doesn’t mean the negatives get to dictate your joy. Choose to see the good, and focus on the positives.
Music affects your mood in big ways, so take charge of that power and use it for good! I use the alarm on my iPhone to wake me up in the mornings and I set it to play my favorite praise song. Make a “Happy” playlist in iTunes with your favorite upbeat songs to turn your frown upside-down. One song can change the tone of your entire day. And don’t be afraid to break out some dance moves to go with them!
Take that perspective shift one step further. After you see the good, feel the joy that goodness brings to your life! Gratitude magnifies joy, so those little things become bigger and more and more impactful every single time you appreciate them. Fill your mind with thankful thoughts and take a few minutes to jot joy down in a gratitude journal!
Throw joy around like confetti.
The best part about joy is that it’s contagious! When my nephew giggled about his pancake, the rest of us started smiling and laughing all because of his reaction. It brightened all of our mornings! We smiled at other cars as they drove by, and many of those smiles were returned with genuine gladness (none of those tight-lipped forced smiles). Try it. Offer unsolicited compliments, hug your loved ones with gusto, smile at people like it’s going out of style, throw out, “Good morning”s and “It’s so nice to see you”s, go out of your way to be kind. Genuine joy spreads like wildfire.
The stronger your foundation of joy, the more stress it can fight, so keep working on it!
It takes practice to make joy your way of life, especially on Monday mornings, but once you do, it is one of the most rewarding things you can do to start your week off on the right foot!
What are you going to do to bring magnificent joy to your Monday mornings?