Self Caring

If It's Monday, It Must Be a Chance to Start Fresh

Last updated: Aug 22, 2011


Mondays have a bad rap: End of the weekend, beginning of the work grind, another long haul of appointments and leftover To-Do lists. But what if Monday were re-framed as a day to look forward to?

Yes, even by caregivers.

That's the goal of Caregiver Mondays, a new effort by the Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit organization founded in association with Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Syracuse universities. Their first health-inspiring effort, Meatless Mondays, has taken off in homes and in school cafeterias around the country (including my new-college-freshman's, I recently noted!)

The idea is to use Monday -- "the January of the week," they call it -- to course-correct what's not super-healthy or satisfying about your life. Research shows that most people already pick Monday to "start fresh" with health programs, like diets or quitting smoking. But you can start even smaller, with incremental improvements.

Try this: Pick just three ways to give yourself a fresh start this week: one for your mind, one for your body, one for your soul. For example:

  • For my mind: I'm going to count to 10 before responding every time my loved one repeats a question (again!) or a relative says something like, "You should get out more!" without offering to make that happen.

  • For my body: I'm going to eat an extra serving of fruits or vegetables every day.

  • For my soul: I'm not going to spend the evening in front of the TV tonight; I'm going to listen to some music instead.

"Caregiver Mondays" is meant to be an inspirational concept, not a set program. The above "three things" idea is just my suggestion of a way to be mindful about it. (See other takes at the Caregiver Monday website. Ultimately, it's up to you how you'll choose to be good to yourself: Set up a Monday lunch or Skype session with a friend? Write a fresh To-Do list that keeps you front-and-center? Call it a "free pass" day in which you refuse to second-guess yourself?

Whatever Caregiver Monday comes to mean for you, I just like the idea of turning a bummer of a day into one of optimism, while knowing that others are out there doing the same.

What three things -- what one thing -- will you vow for yourself this Caregiver Monday?