A bad day can creep up on you out of nowhere. Sometimes I'm having a great week and one thing will go wrong that I obsess over until it completely spoils my mood. Other times there are days where nothing seems to go the way I planned. A bad day can feel like the end of the world, they can put us in a funk and make us feel like we're trapped. Everyone has bad days, they're just a part of life. I know I've had my fair share of them and here are a few things I've started doing to get through them, maybe they can help you too.
Like I said before, bad days are just a part of life and everyone has one now and then. Sometimes it helps to just let go of control over your life and realize that it's OK if not everything goes as planned, if you get frustrated, or something doesn't work out. Without the bad days we wouldn't be able to appreciate the good ones. So remember it's totally fine to have a day that's a real shitter now and then and it's best to just accept it and move on.
So often when I'm having a bad day I think "oh, today is so lousy. I'll get this doughnut as pick-me-up treat" or " man, I've had such a bad day, I deserve a little chocolate bar to make it better." But in reality eating poorly will only make you feel better for the few minutes you're ingesting it and afterwards will leave you feeling sluggish and wanting more. It's much better for your mind and body to intake healthy, nutritious food especially when you're not feeling your best. Plus you'll feel better about yourself for having eaten well. If you do want to treat yourself with food, make it something that you really like that's good for you but is something you don't always get. For me it would be fresh mango since they're usually a little pricey, or a cold pressed juice.
I know this is probably the last thing most of us want to do when we're feeling down but it's one of the most helpful. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which make us feel better, and you'll be proud of yourself for doing something productive and good for you. Taking care of your mind and your body go hand in hand so when one is feeling poorly taking care of the other will help both feel better.
When I'm having a rough day nothing makes me feel better than calling a friend, especially if it's someone I haven't talked to in a while or a long distance friend who I've been meaning to keep in touch with. But most importantly, think of someone who always puts you in a good mood or makes you laugh, they'll be the best at cheering you up without even knowing it.
So maybe you're not up for a full on work-out, totally understandable. But going for a walk and getting the blood moving is always good to ease the mind and helpful for thinking things through. But, if being alone with your thoughts isn't what you're looking for I love walking and listening to a podcast, something funny or educational to get me laughing and thinking about something else. Or listening to my favorite album or musical soundtrack, it's always fun to sing along to silly show tunes.
This one goes along with taking a walk, but it could also mean moving from your apartment or office to a coffee shop, park, library, etc. If there's something that's frustrating me or I can't seem to stop procrastinating, going to a different place helps give me a fresh perspective and motivation. Even if I tell myself I'll only go there for an hour, it helps me be more productive. Maybe go someplace entirely new. Getting out my comfort zone and being around different people in a different environment is very refreshing. And I always find having a pleasant exchange with someone I don't know to be encouraging and rewarding.
Similar to changing your environment, but weather permitting, go outside! What feels better than sunshine on the skin or a cool breeze through the hair? When I'm having a rough day, I like to take half an hour, have a coffee in the park, and just relax and watch the people go by. It's great for thinking things over and just slowing down my mind a bit so I can get a clear grasp on what is bothering me and how I can fix it. If you're able to do something more active like running, biking, kayaking, hiking, those are all great too. Anything that brings you back with nature will be very calming for the mind and the soul.
Venting or talking though a problem with a friend or family member is so helpful for getting things off your chest and clearing your mind. I'm sure we all feel the need to complain or rant from time to time, and although I'm not one for complaining, sometimes saying those things out loud helps get out the frustration so I can move on from them. If something is troubling me or I don't know how to work through a problem I always turn to my mom for advice. She's my go-to for almost any time I'm having to work through a bad day. Talking to someone else may be able to offer a fresh perspective or some advice. I know it can be hard to talk about more personal problems with people, but having someone you trust to be able to talk to can really help, I know I always feel better after.
This one is hard, and I'm definitely guilty of doing just the opposite when my day isn't going well. Shopping is a great way to gain instant gratification and momentary happiness. It's a thrill, it's exciting, but so many times I've shopped just to cheer myself up and have bought things I don't need and maybe don't even like that much. At the time it does work, I'll be super excited about whatever I just bought and focus on that instead of whatever's been bothering me. But a day or so later I'll regret it and wish I hadn't blown the money. It's similar to not eating that pick-me-up doughnut I mentioned before, and trying to eat more healthy food instead. Vices like eating and shopping only bring us momentary happiness and satisfaction and in the long run will not make us feel any better. Think about the last thing you bought to cheer yourself, does it still bring you just as much happiness as it did on the day you bought it? Instead, think about some of the things you already own and love but maybe don't use enough. Take them out and appreciate them, use them, remember why you bought them and love them. That appreciation will be more fulfilling and satisfactory than buying something new that is empty and meaningless.
Like talking, writing is a great way to release thoughts, emotions, frustrations, and help us let go of negativity. If you don't feel comfortable talking about your problems to someone try writing them down. I've had the same journal for years, that I do not use enough, but I find I write in it most often when I have something on my mind that I can't stop thinking about. When thoughts, especially negative ones, become all-consuming writing them down is a great release, you can even tear up the pages and throw them away after if that helps you feel cleansed. It's a really effective way to vent and let off steam in a way that doesn't hurt yourself or anyone else. On a side note, I think it's just as important to write down the good things that happen to you, more on that a later.
They say that laughter is the best medicine and you'll find no arguments here, especially if it's from something you've watched before and have fond memories associated with. For me, it's always the perfect way to unwind after a long and stressful day. Personally, I always go back to my favorite NBC comedies, The Office, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation. I can watch them over and over again and always laugh out loud.
Write down three things that you are grateful for. I try to do this every day but especially on days when I'm feeling down. It doesn't matter what they are, it can be anything. They can be small things like A.C. when it's hot outside, or something that plays a larger role in your life, like having a supportive network of friends and family. Whatever they are, taking the time to write them down forces you to think about what is still good in your life and will help you be in a more positive mindset. If you want to take it a step farther you can also write down three things that went well during your day.
"If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present."
That's a quote from Lao Tzu, a Chinese writer, philosopher, and spiritual leader. It's one of my favorites, and I always think of it when I'm worried, stressed, anxious, or going through a rough time. Focus on the present moment you are in, not just the present day, or hour, but the exact moment. Acknowledge every sense you are taking in. What are you doing? Seeing? Smelling? How is your breath? What is beautiful about it, what can you appreciate in the moment you are in? Forget about everything else that is bothering you or might have gone wrong today and be in the present. Your mind and body will relax, you'll be able to breathe and think more clearly, and whatever was making your life seem so miserable will feel far away.
Remember that no matter what, no matter how shitty you feel or how poorly things go you can always wake up tomorrow in a better place. Happiness is a choice, we can choose not to let bad things, people, or days get in the way of our happiness. Starting every day with a fresh mindset and a positive attitude allows us to be open to the good in life, and that is something we always have to look forward to. No matter how bad your day went, tomorrow always has to potential to be better. So whenever you're going through a bad day remember that that's all it is, a day. There's always another one coming and it can always be better than the last.