Mondays get a really bad rap, at least in the Western world, because it’s the beginning of a new work and/or school week for most people. Monday’s ugly reality often begins on Sunday evening, when a sense of impending loss at an almost-ended weekend whispers the return to responsibility. Mondays really carry no inherent excitement, at least, not that I’ve ever discovered. Until now.
As a pastoral intern, working 50+ hours a week doing pastor stuff, Mondays are now my day off, which means I’ve developed an entirely new appreciation for this misbegotten, ill-treated day of the week. Mondays now equate to 24 precious hours to do exactly as I please, with or without accompaniment. I can unplug, de-tox, de-stress and pursue adventure that feeds my soul. Or I can do laundry. I have choices, but I”m trying really hard not to fill my one day off a week with mundane tasks and errands and must-do’s. It’s difficult, but I’m determined.
Being mindful about how I spend a precious day off has led me to reflect on what it is I enjoy doing with my ‘spare’ time. There is really never any spare time in today’s frenzied existence, so we must carve out time for ourselves. They preached ‘self-care’ to us in seminary, which is hilarious, because graduate students and pastoral interns have very little time for ‘self-care,’ let alone sleep. And pastors have greater responsibility than graduate students or interns. So this once-a-week opportunity to indulge in real self-care holds great allure, great potential and huge expectations. All of which could be immediately dashed to pieces, should a pastoral or family crisis occur…but I proceed onward, list of adventures in hand. Mosaic-making, Tolstoy-reading, film-watching, road trip-taking, here I come.
So far, I’ve observed that it’s easier to be intentional about relaxing and self-care when you only have 24 hours of time to dedicate to it, versus the usual 48. There’s something about knowing that I only have one full day that forces me to observe it well. The flip side is that I’m pressuring myself to ‘be intentional,’ when some days I may just need to sleep late, be lazy and watch Netflix…that hasn’t happened yet, but I think it’s around the corner, when the top-down weather ends and the flannel PJs get hauled out of the cedar chest.
There’s also a fun aspect to taking Mondays off: the rest of the world is busy, frantic and grumbly, so having a free day on Monday is like skipping school or calling in sick, except that you can hide in broad daylight and stare everybody down in the knowledge that you’re legit. It’s thrilling, this Monday freedom. Release the hounds!