Don’t beat yourself up.
Repeat the mantra: new day, new start. “Research indicates that beating ourselves up about the past is not effective,” says psychologist Susan Albers, New York Times bestselling author of EatQ. “Starting the day with the mantra ‘fresh start’ can be helpful.”
Get back to routine as soon as possible.
The experts agree that routines can be both calming and important in getting back on track. Whatever you do: Don’t sleep in until noon on Monday, says Dr. Joe Ojile, Medical Director and CEO of the Clayton Sleep Institute. “Structure is key,” he says. “If you use structure, your body will take care of itself.” If your normal routine involves a morning workout, then wake up and hit the gym (your body will thank you later).
Start the morning with the 3 M’s: movement, mindful eating, and minimizing.
According to Albers, exercise may help activate serotonin—those “feel good chemicals that will help regulate your mood”—and when you’re feeling happier, you’ll make healthier choices (plus, you’ll work off some calories). When sitting down to breakfast, eat mindfully (read: slowly, and with minimal distractions), and cut out processed foods as much as you can throughout the week.
Start your Monday with a spinach smoothie.
Albers cites a small recent study from the journal Appetite, which showed that drinking spinach water for 90 days left subjects feeling fuller longer and reduced their cravings for sweet foods. To reap the benefits of the vegetable, Albers suggests a green smoothie first thing in the morning. (Try our recipe here.)
Expose yourself to bright light.
Bright light re-centers the suprachiasmatic nucleaus (SCN)—the part of your brain that controls your internal time clock. Ojile suggests sitting on the porch to read the paper, taking a walk or jog, or even waking up with a bright reading light if it’s cloudy outside. By getting bright light early in the morning, your body will recognize a more stable waking and sleeping pattern after a weekend of staying up late and sleeping in.
Drink lots of water.
When it comes to counteracting a weekend of drinking, the best recommendation is to hydrate, says Albers. Days of sun and alcohol can leave you feeling depleted, so consider carrying around a water bottle during the day. Additionally, she recommends avoiding salty foods. Instead of snacking on pretzels, opt for nuts or a mandarin orange.
Get plenty of sleep on Sunday night.
A successful week starts with being well rested. To ensure a good night’s sleep, start “winding down” a few hours before your head hits the pillow, says Ojile. This means no alcohol after dinner, because it will disturb your REM sleep, and no Netflix right before bed, since the blue light from devices “suppresses melatonin, which will cause you to stay awake longer.”