How to Make Tuesdays Suck a Tiny Bit Less

There’s something uniquely unsettling about Tuesdays—especially if you have a traditional work schedule. Mondays are obviously unbearable. By Wednesday, you’re halfway through the workweek so there’s some hope you’re going to get through it, and come Thursday and Friday, you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Tuesdays, however, are no good: I, for one, am still exhausted from the past weekend, my to-do list is usually at its most overwhelming, and Friday is way, way too far away. I shudder to think about it.

I’m not the only person who struggles with this wretched day: There’s not much new research on the topic, but one study from 2010 found that participants were happiest from Friday to Sunday (shocker!) and felt like Tuesday blended in with the other midweek days—in other words, there was nothing special about it that made it stick out. And that’s the ideal scenario.

For many of us, two days into the week, life is an unpleasant mix of mounting pressures, responsibilities, and tasks, AnnLee Allen, LHMC, owner of Therapy For Her By Her in St. Petersburg, Florida, tells SELF. The mountain of things you have to do—combined with the exhausting whiplash you might experience when pivoting from a restful weekend to a hectic schedule, can crank up your stress levels. As Allen puts it: “It’s a recipe for stress overload and can leave you feeling pretty tense and irritable.” It’s the worst.

If you’re fed up with Tuesdays being total shit, take heart: With the expert advice below, it’s possible to make the day more tolerable and, dare I say it, maybe even enjoyable.

Prioritize your sleep going into Tuesday.

You may have heard this before, but you really want to get a good night’s rest Monday night, Danielle Sukenik, LMFT, a therapist and instructor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, tells SELF. You may still be physically and emotionally recovering from a busy weekend (even the fun ones can be draining!) and now also struggling with the total overwhelm Monday can bring. Study after study shows that a crappy night’s sleep makes you feel like a pile of garbage, and heading into your Tuesdays in groggy-zombie mode certainly won’t help you hate them less.

“If you aren’t rested, it totally messes with your groove and makes it hard to feel motivated and confident,” Sukenik says. But if you have a tough time falling asleep on Monday night, try not to stress. Worrying about if and when you will ever doze off (something I’m perpetually guilty of) can keep you alert and awake. A kinder approach, according to Sukenik, is to simply let yourself rest, even if you’re not able to conk out as quickly as you’d like. Why? Well, evidence suggests quietly resting (with your eyes closed), even if you’re not actively snoozing, can still be restorative—and that alone should help lighten your mood the next day.

Practice a little mindfulness first thing in the morning.

It’s easy to fall into a groove where you wake up on Tuesdays and begrudgingly think, Ugh, here we go, as you immediately start tackling your to-do list. To avoid getting trapped in a flurry of stressful thoughts from the get-go, Sukenik recommends doing a mindfulness exercise first thing in the morning. If you’re a coffee person, for example, maybe experiment with different types of beans and pay attention to the way they smell or taste. You could also go on a walk and try to focus on the sounds around you, do a stretching routine, or meditate (here’s a beginner’s guide if you’re a newbie).

Not only does research show that doing just five minutes of a mindful activity per day can decrease anxiety and depression. Even better, mindfulness can boost your outlook on the day ahead. So instead of waking up and sprinting headfirst into the tasks of the day, you can kick your Tuesday off with a more positive mindset, Sukenik says–which can make it easier to handle curveballs and other stressors that come at you later in the day.

Plan Tuesday-specific activities you can look forward to.

If your Tuesdays are typically jam-packed with never-ending demands—like chores, childcare, work projects, and networking drinks—try, if you can swing it, to pencil in an enjoyable, rewarding activity you can (this is groundbreaking) look forward to. For example, consider dedicating some part of your Tuesdays to, say, date night with your partner (or yourself!), an after-work trivia night, or yoga with a good friend. Or, if you’re feeling run-down (always), maybe go for takeout and a movie on the couch or (a personal fave) a long, hot bath with an audiobook.

Another option is to block off 10–15 minutes (or longer, if you’ve got the time!) to write, draw, craft, or try out a new recipe. You don’t have to be good at art to get the benefits. The key, Allen says, is to disconnect from work and allow yourself to get creative. “Engaging in creative pursuits can reduce stress, enhance mood, and foster a sense of accomplishment, providing a refreshing midweek boost,” she says.

If your Tuesday is filled with draining tasks then of course it’s going to feel horrible. Penciling in activities you’re excited about can add some joy into what may otherwise be a pretty dreadful day, Allen says.

Scale back on scrolling.

If you spend a good chunk of time mindlessly scrolling on your phone (guilty!), try to cut back on Tuesdays, Sukenik recommends. This is, obviously, a good thing to do in general, but it can be super helpful to use your phone less on days that are notoriously shitty. Why? Excessive phone use is consistently linked to a poorer mood along with anxiety and depression (I never feel better after using my phone).

Start by building some awareness about how you use that tempting little device—do you robotically open up Instagram during your lunch break or get sucked into the TikTok void after dinner? “Oftentimes, when you reach for your phone, you’re avoiding uncomfortable feelings or tasks and seeking some kind of distraction,” Sukenik says. While a few minutes of screen time might provide some quick, fleeting relief, excessive scrolling can weigh on your mood and make your day that much harder to deal with, she adds.

Then, come up with things you can do instead of snooping around BeReal or Reddit—this could be anything from doing household chores, journaling, reading a book, or listening to a podcast. The goal is to find activities that “recharge you rather than drain you further, which your phone tends to do,” Sukenik says.

Wind down with some gratitude.

Even if you practiced the above tips, it’s totally possible to reach the end of the day and still feel like your Tuesday was a complete wash (it really, truly can be that awful). Just know: You can still turn things around. Research shows that practicing gratitude can significantly lower stress levels and prevent negative thinking so you don’t get trapped fixating on everything that blows, which, in turn, will make you more content.

Sukenik recommends a journaling exercise called Three Good Things, a gratitude practice that’s been shown to improve our ability to deal with, well, the horrors of life. It’s simple: Jot down, in an app or notebook, three things you’re thankful for—chances are there were at least a few positives about your day. If things were particularly shitty (it happens!), your wins can be as simple as being able to get through something hard (like being unfairly micromanaged by your very terrible boss) or having a plush bed to lie down in at night. “That is totally okay,” Sukenik says. “You just want to acknowledge what was good.” The payoff: You’ll feel happier and less emotionally zapped.

You don’t necessarily have to try every single tip above, but why not give one or two a shot? Tuesdays may never be your favorite day of the week, but, with a few simple tweaks, you’ll probably find they aren’t quite as diabolical as they’ve been in the past. And that, in my book, is a major win.


Originally Appeared on SELF