Natural Energy Boost: How to Survive Monday After a Long Weekend
We’ve all felt the Monday blues. You dread going in to work again and starting the routine all over again. The day drags on and on. It feels like you just can’t be productive enough. You aren’t aware enough, or fast enough, and your job performance suffers. What a slog! Mondays are the worst.
But why is that? Well, as it turns out, there is science behind the Monday blues. It’s not just all in your mind. The good news? You can utilize a variety of natural energy boosts to help get you going and kick those Monday blues all the way out the end of the week.
Make your every day feel better, more productive, and less like you should wear black on Monday because the weekend died.
Mean Ol’ Monday
Why exactly does Monday seem so much worse than other days?
Sure, it’s the icebreaker, the first day back on after your much-needed time off. You’ve had a couple of days away from work, now you have to get back into the mindset. But is there more to it than that?
Science says that there is, and much of it has to do with our weekend habits—as well as the week preceding those habits.
It all begins with sleeping in on the weekends. We get so used to doing with less sleep than we really need that it adds up over time. Many of us think to make up for it on the weekends, but what happens is that you don’t feel any more rested and ready on Monday. In fact, you often feel worse.
Mr. Sandman Is On Vacation
To start with, studies show that we’re not really making up for our sleep deficits at all. What is really happening is that we’re getting more used to the deleterious effects of lacking sleep. That is to say, we’re getting worse at noticing the negative effects it has on our performance throughout the day and week.
Rather than adjusting to less sleep and doing just fine, as many of us tell ourselves, we’re just becoming more accustomed to the less functional level and it becomes our new baseline. This isn’t a good thing!
Breaking Bad Habits
So you get shorted on sleep during the week, but you’re looking forward to the weekend when you can finally sleep in. You’ll make up for it then and everything will balance out, right? Except that it turns out that’s not the way it works at all. In fact, the habit of sleeping in a lot on your days off is probably hurting you without you even knowing it.
Scientists say that the culprit here is inconsistency. Sleeping in overmuch on the weekends can actually disturb your body’s internal clock and the rhythm set by the week. The result is that you feel more fatigued on Monday.
This is similar to jet lag, if less pronounced, but since it’s more frequent, over time this habit can really leave you feeling drained.
While many of us are trying to pay off a “sleep debt” accrued during the week by catching up on those days off, we end up just going further and further into “debt.”
Pressure and Productivity
The result of these bad habits and the accumulating fatigue is that you sleep in on the weekends and yet still feel fatigued on Monday. You’ve only managed to disrupt your natural circadian rhythms enough to give yourself a miniature case of jet lag and blind yourself to the effects of poor sleep habits.
Meanwhile, the pressure of a new work week is weighing on you, making most people feel their worst on Mondays.
How do you fix these problems? How do you kick the Monday blues to the curb? Some people try increasing their caffeine intake or using unhealthy energy drinks, but these often only mask the symptoms at best. The best way to beat the Monday misery is to change your habits, scientists say.
There are a lot of cheap, natural ways to do so, but which of these provides your body with energy?
The answer: All of them. Check out our advice gathered from these scientific studies to help boost your energy levels naturally.
Aim for Consistency
The best thing you can do is to aim for consistency in your sleep schedule. The body works best when it has a routine you can stick to for sleep. Sometimes, this may not be possible. If you find that you just can’t wake up at the same time every day on the weekends, or you don’t feel rested enough, try getting in some cat naps.
Even fifteen or twenty minutes can do a lot to give you a boost of energy.
If you are going to try to sleep a little less on the weekdays to have a little more on weekends, try to minimize the discrepancy. Drastic differences are where the worst discord kicks in, so maybe if you can only average seven hours a night during the week, try to only sleep eight or nine on the weekends. Any more extreme and you’ll just end up suffering when your regular routine resumed on Monday.
Exercise Equals Energy
We know that it sounds a little weird: exercise, which requires energy to get up and do, actually gives you more, but the truth is that it helps. Especially if you can get exercise in the mornings, which tends to really kickstart your body’s metabolism, it will give you an energy boost throughout the day.
Look at it like an investment. Sure, you are tired and having a hard time getting motivated, but if you do, you’ll reap the benefits all day.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to beat fatigue and give yourself an overall boost to your energy levels. As you get into better shape, you’ll find that you sleep more soundly, need less sleep, and feel naturally more energetic. Exercising is definitely a good way to beat those Monday blues.
Eat Right, Feel Right
It should come as no surprise that diet plays a large factor in our energy levels as well as our general fitness. Weekends are often a time to cut loose a little, but loading up on the junk food and alcohol, while fun, is a recipe for a Monday slog.
Many people are lacking the proper levels of vitamins essential to energy levels. Getting the proper levels of vitamins and minerals and in the right form will help promote energy better than any questionable energy drink ever could.
Your body depends on these essential micronutrients to function at full, and the problem is that modern diets eschew a lot of them in favor of foods loaded with artificial ingredients.
Busy work weeks can make it difficult, but you can make it easier on yourself by making meal plans. Do your shopping, favoring the natural foods and the energy supplements that actually work with your body’s natural micronutrient production in order to give you a clean, healthy boost.
Plan your meals. Pack lunches. Avoid the expensive expedience of fast food and junk food. If you take a little time to plan ahead, you won’t have to rely on those impulse buys or the sugary treats that just leave you feeling sluggish.
A healthier diet, better sleep habits, and regular exercise will give you all the natural energy boost you will ever need.