Picture this: It’s Monday afternoon, the tail end of a glorious long weekend, and you’re reflecting on a three-day holiday well spent. Laid out poolside while reading and sipping on rosé? Check. Had an epic GNO? Yep. Made the most of an extra weekend day in the summer? You bet. Whether you have a major case of the Monday Scaries or are ready to take on the week like a boss, what you do at the end of a long weekend can make or break the rest of your week. While a magic pill or the snap of a finger can’t promise a happy, healthy, and productive week, there are a few things you can do now to hit the “refresh” button and get ahead. Read on for eight healthy habits to adopt now to set yourself up for your best week, without sacrificing your social life and sanity. You can thank me later.
1. Prep your mornings for the week
We’ve all been there: You hit snooze one too many times your first day back after a holiday weekend, and now you’re rushing to log in to work, forgoing your entire morning routine. The frenetic energy from said morning throws off the rest of your day. To avoid that nightmare, set your alarm for the week and get up when it goes off (no snooze!), program your coffee maker, pack your lunch (or set it aside in your fridge if you’re part of the WFH club), and choose your ‘fits. While you’re on a roll, prep some make-ahead breakfasts, like overnight oats or hard-boiled eggs. Sure, doing those tasks will take up some of your weekend, but you’ll be glad come Tuesday morning when you have extra time to journal, work out, or enjoy your coffee. You’ll likely notice an increase in your productivity and happiness too. How’s that for a win-win?
2. Hit the grocery store
I dislike grocery shopping as much as the next girl, but there’s something satisfying about having a fully stocked, organized fridge. It means you have ready-to-go snacks and ingredients to whip up dinner within reach, taking the guesswork out of meals and saving money you’d otherwise spend on Postmates. When you’ve already navigated the aisles of Trader Joe’s and loaded up on cauliflower gnocchi and GoneBananas! (IYKYK) for the week, check out your local farmers’ market. Seeing (and sampling) the fresh seasonal produce just might spark some new meal inspo, whether you’re the next Julia Child or an amateur cook. And, if all else fails, Instacart or Amazon Fresh to the rescue.
3. Have something to look forward to
When we get stuck in the mindset of living for the weekends, it should come as no surprise that we dread the week ahead. You may feel overwhelmed by your long list of to-dos for the week or bummed that your weekend self-care plans fell by the wayside. But who says you can’t get that lymphatic massage on a Tuesday or set up a matcha date with your BFF mid-week? Instead of viewing the upcoming week as a drag, try romanticizing it by sprinkling in activities or things that fill your cup: sign up for a cooking class with your SO, work from a co-working space or a coffee shop you haven’t tried, or get your nails done.
4. Plan out your week
I’m not just talking about work meetings and doctor’s appointments. Those are important but so is taking the time to prioritize whatever motivates you, excites you, and helps you live your best life. Add your workouts to your calendar, pencil in loved ones, and reserve time for self-reflection. Oh, and don’t forget to squeeze in some downtime and sexual pleasure (whether you go solo or with a partner). Because let’s be real: I’m all for spontaneity, but things get in the way (read: life). Remember that aforementioned dread? Mapping out your week will also help you bid farewell to it and its annoying friend, anxiety.
5. Set financial boundaries
Before you roll your eyes and mutter “ugh” under your breath, hear me out. Knowing where you stand financially and planning your goals accordingly will not only set you up for success in the coming week but also months and years down the line. Look over your expenses with a fine-tooth comb (especially if this holiday weekend got you out of your fun budget for the week or month) and see what you can eliminate or cut down—those little charges add up quickly. The light at the end of the tunnel? Bringing home the shoes you’ve been eyeing, booking the trip to Paris, paying the down payment to your first home. And if you find that you have some extra cash in your pocket after stashing some away, consider outsourcing tasks so you can free up time for something more enjoyable like an impromptu wine tasting to spice up your week.
6. Take a social media break
You probably guessed this was coming. Between work, the news, and show binges, we’re on information overload. Then, there’s the comparison trap we fall into going down the IG rabbit hole. So why not give yourself (and your self-confidence) a break and go on a social media hiatus? Delete the apps for the weekend or keep them off your phone all week long. It’ll do your mental health wonders, but don’t just take my word for it. According to a 2022 study, taking a one-week break from social media improves well-being, depression, and anxiety. Once you’ve reset and you’re ready to re-enter the digital world, FOMO will be a thing of the past.
7. Prioritize sleep
When I think of waking up on the right side of the bed, I equate it to the scene in Cinderella where she dances and sings “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” as she gets out of bed and ready for her day (while birds and mice make her bed and lay out her clothes, of course). Well, getting quality shut-eye isn’t only for fairytales. Substitute fitting all of Season 1 of The Summer I Turned Pretty into one night for a wind-down routine that doesn’t involve a lot of stimulation, like stretching or reading. And as tempting as it may be to sleep in during your three-day weekend, wake up around the same time you normally would during the week. You’ll be more likely to soak up sunlight first thing in the morning which will not only help you sleep more easily at night but also enhance your mood. Plus, you’ll be up and at ’em when that 6 a.m. alarm goes off Tuesday morning. Follow these simple sleeping hacks and Cinderella will have nothing on you (except maybe for her fairy godmother).
8. Put pen to paper
In our fast-paced culture, we constantly have countless tabs open in our heads, making it difficult to focus on or remember any given thought, idea, or to-do. Call it journaling, a brain dump, or reflection, writing down the barrage of contents in your mind will help you declutter it, just like you would tidy up and organize your home. Take a few minutes to record anything weighing on you: concerns, problems, unfinished projects, or limiting thoughts. This exercise can help you release anxiety, create space for new ideas and creativity, and establish a jumping-off point for setting goals so you’re refreshed for your week ahead instead of dreading coming back after a long weekend. And if you want to take it a step further, jot down three things you’re grateful for, because it never hurts to practice gratitude.