Sunday Blues and Monday morning Meh Feels
Being freelance or self-employed means you never, ever get the Sunday blues, right? Well, that’s what people who have to go to an office or work on Monday morning probably think. But I want to ponder on this because, well, I found myself with them and I think it’s important to bust this myth. Solidarity to you if you've got the Monday blues, freelance friends!
Freelancers have a lot on their plates, without having to also cater to the needs of those who like to think we have a joy-filled existence all the time! Sure, we avoid the Monday morning commute. But here’s a confession: I quite like a morning commute. For some, it’s the only precious time they have to themselves outside of work and family. When you’re freelance, people think you are so uber-flexible that you work when you fancy. I think they imagine us lying in bed on a Monday morning, checking Instagram and then deciding what to do with our day.
But it often couldn’t be further from the truth, and I think it’s important to talk about this; because if you’re a freelancer who feels guilty or bad because you have the Sunday blues, I want you to know you’re not alone. As for Monday morning feels - we don’t get them, right? I mean we’re in a hotbed of flexibility and do what we want when we want. We lie in until midday and then do some work in our pyjamas until we feel like eating the rest of the Sunday roast. Uninterrupted, blissful Monday escapism. While everyone is battling commute hell to their place of work, we move seamlessly into the working week, laughing like characters from a TV advert about easy mortgages. Only, we know easy mortgages are a bit of a fantasy too, and more on that another day when I’m going to take a look at Financial Feels (oh how LOLS it is never getting paid on time, right?).
Personally, I find Sunday and Monday feels can creep up on you. You never know they’re coming and suddenly, there’s a feeling of grumpiness and petulance. You feel a bit discombobulated, and especially if other people in your home have a set routine, your potentially non-Sunday blues are often impacted by uniform preparation, Monday lunch plans and making sure everything’s ready for their week ahead.
Then, when you’re freelance, there’s a pressure to begin your Monday. Well that’s how it often feels for me, anyway. While those who are off to jobs and offices have a place to have to clock in to, the self-employed have to make that happen for themselves. Try reaching out to a client at 9am on a Monday. Possibly won’t happen, because they’re all in that ‘cup-of-tea-how-was-your-weekend’ place at the office. I try to fill this time with something productive, and when the Sunday blues really got to me recently, I had to have a word with myself. I felt a mixture of lost and annoyed. I knew there was work to do on Monday but like a petulant child with outstanding homework, I couldn’t bear to think about it. I yearned for the ‘easy’ Monday morning I remembered from work days. It’s so easy to forget the 9am meetings, the ‘this needs doing urgently!’ calls from a boss as soon as you’re in the office, or the delayed, packed train you had to push yourself into to get there once you’re home alone, right?
I know, deep down, that this Monday morning time is what we make it. I will never be a morning exerciser, but getting up is important. As is getting dressed. (Talking of which, do you always get dressed? More on Freelance Fashion Feels in another post I’m sure!). And I know for many, Monday is a joy. After all, we freelancers don’t have to commute in by a certain time. Our Sunday night is not a regression to school days when we had our uniform prepped, homework done and it was early bed. (Or was that just chez Stallard?). Thing is, I liked going to school, and over the years I have often liked going to work. Well, to a place of work at any rate. The routine of a Monday morning can be, for some, reassuring. People who head to offices, shops, cafes, museums, have a ‘beginning’ to their working week. For me when I was in an office I liked that Monday morning catch up. The cups of tea and what did you do with your weekend.
But yes of course there were the Sunday blues. And I expected when I became freelance they’d go away in a puff of smoke. But no. They still get me. Mondays can be a challenge, too. Up I get, ready to face another week of pitching. Even with commissions underway as I have this week, there’s a self-imposed energy to the day – we have to create our own office buzz. We have to tell ourselves to get up and get on. Sometimes I actually do that verbally, a ‘come on Stallard! Things to do! Features to write!’ as I peel myself from the Velcro-like nature of the sheets, shove my head into a cup of tea…Check social media and try not to fall into a pit of over-comparison with everyone who is posting images of their latest work (probably in an attempt to also avoid their own Monday Meh).
So how to overcome the freelance Monday Feels? Well, you can do what I did last Monday. I gave in to it a bit. I actually sat there for about an hour, not doing much. Letting the day sink in. Looking at my to do list. I dog sit sometimes (of course there’ll be posts on dogs, in the future!) and I need to be there by 8.15 so that gives me a reason to have to get up. But once it’s me and the dogs, what reason to battle hard into work? Sometimes a cuppa and a sit with the dogs is just what I need. If only they could chat about their weekends. It all comes back to trusting. Like we do with work. Trusting the week will pan out. Trusting we have the energy to ‘go it alone’ again. But also remembering we’re only as alone as we allow ourselves to be.
Sometimes if I'm working in-house I do need to commute, and just one annoying tube delay can remind me how lucky I am to have the flexibility to work from home - although I do like getting a takeaway coffee on the way to the office which I don't do at home.
This Monday, I had a Freelance Feels blog post to finish – perhaps Monday morning will become my Freelance Feels blog time, which would get me out of bed more speedily as I’m loving exploring this and the reactions I’ve had from people (THANK YOU everyone who is subscribing and feeding back so positively!).
So here’s some thoughts on making the most of the Monday morning Freelance Feels:
* Got a mentor? Why not ask for a Monday morning catch up or coaching session?
* Perhaps that contact who wanted to meet can do Monday morning (even on skype) and you can plan your day around that.
* You could allocate Monday to something practical (and perhaps boring) but that’ll give you a ‘I’ve beaten the week’ type feeling – like inputting receipts or updating a spreadsheet.
* Something many people do is head to a co-working space, and I want to explore these in much more depth, testing some out and speaking to people they work for. Is co-working the perfect balance to Freelance Monday Feels?
* Exercise if that’s your bag first thing on a Monday!
* Make another coffee – you could have it in a re-useable cup to make yourself feel like it's straight from the cafe on the way to work...
What do you do to combat Monday Meh? Let me know and Happy Monday, wherever you’re freelancing. It’ll be lunchtime soon… all will be well.