Why 'Mind Over Monday'?

love your monday mental health Jan 23, 2022
It's no accident that I was born on a Monday. It is hands-down my favorite day of the week. But it has not always been. In fact, like many people, at times I lived in a space somewhere between dreading the end of Sunday and spending some part of each day that followed focused on how many days it was until Friday. To be clear, I have never not liked what I do. I've had the privilege over the last 10 years to do a few things. I finished a doctoral program in clinical psychology (check). I did an amazing postdoctoral residency (check). We had our first child and were in a position for me to stay at home with her for the first two years of her life (check). I taught as an adjunct psychology instructor (check). Then worked full-time as a primary care psychologist (check). I had another baby and stayed home with both kiddos while still teaching part-time (check, check).
Almost three years ago, when my oldest daughter, Audrey, started kindergarten, I decided it was time to get "back to work" (and by back to work, I mean gainful, full-time employment). I was, as my husband says, "living beneath my privilege." I was eager to work but still wanted the flexibility of being accessible to our two under five crew. This became even more important when our youngest daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Almost immediately after deciding I was game for the challenge of getting on the job market, an opportunity to work at a small liberal arts college in town opened up. It was a visiting assistant professor role, which intrigued me because it gave me the opportunity to work full-time, maintain flexibility as it concerns my kids, save for retirement, and have affordable insurance while giving me the space to figure out if I could see myself pursuing academia or if I would go back to my passion, clinical work.
I interviewed in February 2020 and got and accepted an offer in March - a few days before life as we know it would change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite my uncertainty, I started the job teaching remotely in the fall of 2020. But it was not long before I found myself dreading Mondays again.

"In fact, like many people, at times I lived in a space somewhere between dreading the end of Sunday and spending some part of each day that followed focused on how many days it was until Friday."


Aside from starting this job during the pandemic, everything about the arrangement other than the steady paycheck with benefits was stealing all of my joy. I was not sleeping well (or at all sometimes) and lost weight on the "no sleep" diet. I was spending a ridiculous amount of time preparing for class because as a black woman at a predominantly white institution, I felt I could never be caught unprepared and had to deliver above and beyond my own standard of excellence. It did not help that I was constantly being reminded that I was black, including a constant barrage of microaggressions, being asked to teach a class on the psychology of race, witnessing institutional racism in the hiring and retention processes at the College, and being stopped and questioned by campus security on several occasions about whether I "needed help" (translation: "Do you belong here?"). We were barely managing work from home life with kids (one of whom was e-schooling). I forgot the meaning of self-care (I'm talking weeks between washing my hair, no manicures or pedicures for a year, and lots of sweet tea). Most maddening was the mom guilt and the constant feeling that to "have it all" was damned near impossible.

I knew early on that this was not going to work. As I had heard argued about a minority candidate for a tenure-track position during my time at the College, I felt too that I "was not a good fit." I mulled over all of my choices and how they would impact our family mostly. I knew I needed to strategize my next move, which involved getting licensed to practice independently and figuring out how I would ultimately start my own clinical practice. I had made bold moves in the past due to circumstances (being pregnant) and with the support of my husband, but this time was different. Knowing that I could not stop working without a plan made my mission critical.
After (barely) surviving the first year, I received a renewal contract for my second year as a visiting professor and tucked it away in our dresser. I received another letter and a couple "friendly reminder" emails. I played and replayed the narrative of this decision over and over again in my head and out loud (mostly to my husband). I read More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth and made the quote, "When you exist in spaces that weren't built for you, remember sometimes that just being you is the revolution" my calling card. I eventually settled on signing the contract. And sometime between signing it and returning back to campus, I decided I was not just going to be me, I was going to build a space for me.

Monday. Set. Go! 

Mindset shifts are magic. I want to distinguish the work of having a mindset shift from the evolution of the mindset shift. The former is intentional (meaning it is active work) while the latter, where the magic begins, can be so random if not supernatural, some times sudden but oftentimes gradual. It can take years of processing to realize when, where and how a mindset shift evolved. But I can pinpoint the day and time of this particular mindset shift to a tee.
One Friday night last September, I was having a much needed "catch-up" session with one of my closest friends, Sharron, who is my Day 1 since sixth grade. Since this is my first post, I have to include an obligatory shoutout to my other BFFs: my baby sister, Patricia and my Ace, Candace, who I met on the first day of high school like 10 years ago (ignore the math). Anyway, in recent months, Sharron and I would go weeks without talking and end up on the phone for hours. During this particularly long conversation, I found myself manifesting my vision for Mind Over Monday out loud. I usually manifest through writing and visualization and had not really talked about this particular passion project to anyone other than my husband (and barely). But somehow it flowed into the conversation we were having in the moment and this idea that I had been manifesting for the last two years in Google Keep and my teal moleskin journal was being spoken out loud.
Sharron is a fellow lover of Mondays, so she immediately got it. But in the short time I was speaking about it, my inner voice was saying, "What are you doing, Rachel? That is for Keep...as in keep it to yourself!" and then, "If you say it out loud, you have to do it." I wrestled with that for a while after we got off the phone. It was still early when I opened a new Chrome window and really the rest is history.
By Monday, I had secured a domain name, obtained a Florida business license, filed articles of organization, and requested an EIN for my LLC. And I stayed busy, all while working full-time and doing all the things. I reminded myself that every personal quality I have, every skill I possess, every goal I have achieved (or not achieved), and every sacrifice I have made since getting my PhD has prepared me for this Monday.
So what is Mind Over Monday? It is my story, and hopefully, it's yours, too. It is how we each show up to each challenge we face, however big or small, whether it is on Monday or Friday, using the power of our mind while appreciating its connection to our body and our soul. It is leveraging the magic of a Monday mindset and mindfulness to manifest our dreams through perseverance, discipline, and gratitude! It is a safe place for Monday lovers and Monday haters yearning to be converted. And most important, it is a space to learn about, and hopefully, prioritize mental health and wellness, a place to grow, to figure out your passion and your purpose, and to "start living your Monday as if your life depended on it!"
I truly believe that if you landed here, it is not by mistake. Something is about to shift. The tools are here, and I am your guide. Are you ready?
Monday. Set. Let's Go!

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