In a previous post, I wrote about how having a positive outlook on life can make a huge difference to your overall health and well-being. I absolutely stand behind that sentiment, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your day just simply sucks and you feel like you can’t shake it off. Everyone has bad days, but I use several coping strategies to try and make sure it doesn’t turn into a bad week or cause any damage to my personal relationships.
12 Tips to Get Through a Bad Day
Warn your partner. I am generally self-aware enough to know when I’ve had a bad day and am liable to take it out on those around me. Sending JP a quick text to let him know that he needs to go easy on me and be patient with my current illogical and negative mindset helps immensely. I don’t want him to “fix” it; I simply want him to understand, listen, and not do anything aggravating to make it worse (trust me, he knows exactly what to do).
Focus on your breathing. I used to think breathing techniques sounded a little too “new age” for me to bother with, but I’ve found one trick that actually works. When I breathe deeply through my nose, hold it for a beat, and exhale through my mouth, I can feel stress leaving my body. I generally repeat this deep breathing 10 times, but it really depends on how enraged I feel.
Pet your animal. Your animals will always be there for you and they will never judge you. Taking some time to cuddle with B works wonders in terms of making me feel calm and rational. He is the best snuggle buddy I could ever ask for (sorry, JP. You can’t argue with B’s sweet face).
Break a sweat. When I feel crappy, the last thing in the world I want to do is hit the gym. But working out can give you a nearly instant boost because of the chemical reactions it triggers and it is, of course, good for your overall health to be active. Even if I just do a 10 minute workout video, it can really go a long way to improving my mood. I have several 10 minute workout video suggestions that you should consider putting on standby if you ever need a quick fix. If hard-hitting cardio and weight training isn’t your thing, you could also try pilates or yoga.
Take some time to decompress. Sometimes, I just need some time alone. I find that a hot shower can work wonders or even just hanging out in our room alone for a few minutes. After I have the time to process what’s happened, I am ready to move on from it. If I’m still in an aggravated state, chances are high I will not respond well to whoever dares to speak to me. However…
Don’t isolate yourself for too long. It is tempting to avoid all human contact until you feel better, but talking to someone who cares about you can really help you to get things off your chest and relieve stress. Take the time you need to process, but don’t hide out for too long. Surrounding myself with my loved ones never fails to remind me about how lucky I really am.
Get some fresh air. Being cooped up inside isn’t known to be a mood enhancer, so take a time out and go breathe in some fresh air. I often use my lunch break at work to take a walk and it makes a huge difference in my mental approach to my afternoon tasks.
Keep perspective. I always ask myself, will this situation matter to me in a year? What about in five years? Sometimes the answer is yes and then I legitimately let myself rage about it for awhile. Sooner or later the emotional response to the situation needs to come out, so I’d rather get it over with and move on. If you’re upset about something like another driver cutting you off, keep in mind that you probably won’t remember what happened tomorrow, so it’s really not worth ruining your day over.
Remove yourself from the situation. There have been conversations I’ve simply walked away from (yes, even at work) and other situations that I won’t put myself in because I know how stressed out they make me (such as visiting certain people who will remain nameless). As soon as possible, get yourself out of any situation that is causing you to feel badly and away from any other person who drags you down. No matter where you are, there is usually a quiet place that you can escape to for a breather.
Do something you love. When I’m having a bad day, distraction is key. Whatever you are passionate about, whether it’s gardening, reading, writing, or baking, lose yourself in an activity you truly enjoy for awhile. It’s hard to stay upset when you’re doing something that you love.
Eat something. When hungry meets angry, bad things can happen. If you’re already in a rotten mood, don’t make it worse by not eating. Even if you’re not in the mood for a full meal, at least have a quick fix (try the delicious bran muffin recipe that I shared for something easy, healthy, and satisfying). Take it from me, you must feed the beast!
Take a nap. If you’re having a bad day at work, it can be a bit of a challenge to go and take a nap. However, I find that taking a 20 minute siesta when I get home from a miserable day makes me feel instantly better. My mind gets to shut off and I get the benefit of the perspective that “things will look brighter in the morning” without actually waiting for the morning. I also get migraines and tension headaches, usually brought on by stress, and taking a nap can nip them in the bud too (double bonus!).
How do you cope with a bad day?