Every now and then, and sometimes more often than not, we all have a bad day. What do you do when you are having a bad day to help you through it? Here are 8 things I do to either pick myself up and keep going, or turn the day around with a nice little mindset shift.
1. Go outside
If you have followed my blog you will know that I used to be a smoker, so always had a good excuse to go outside. I still have a dog to walk, and am lucky enough to live on the edge of farmland and woodland so walking the dog is one of my best bad day tonics. Sometimes if I am between appointments and the day is feeling like one big car crash just stepping outside for a few minutes and feeling the sun, or wind, or even rain on my face is enough to shift my mood and attention.
2. A ten minute break
This of course can be linked to point 1, but it doesn’t have to be outside. It does need to be a minimum of ten minutes though because, as Lynsey Baxter of Food For Thought says, “Ten minutes is needed to reduce cortisol levels and put yourself into the parasympathetic nervous system.” Basically, a break isn’t a break until it has been for ten minutes. So I step away from the computer, or give the children something to do that will keep them busy for ten minutes (ie pop them in front of the TV with a chocolate biscuit) and I give myself a good ten minute break.
3. Shut shop early
Sometimes when you work from home you beat yourself up about not spending every child free moment at your computer working. In the workplace you may think that if you leave early you will be seen as lazy by co-workers or managers. I realise not everyone is in a position to do this, but if you aren’t being productive, and are distracted by negative thoughts, sometimes the best thing you can do is just stop trying. Now, if you walk out of the office at 11.15am then obviously that isn’t going to look good. But half an hour early? Something to look forward to? Might even motivate you to get some stuff done to alleviate the guilt?
When you’re having a bad day the last thing you think you are capable of is laughter. But laughter is proven to be good for stress levels. If you have time watch a film, or plan to watch one at the end of the day. Something that makes you laugh out loud every time. If I have less time then a quick visit to YouTube does the trick. Otherwise I may call a friend or family member. Someone who I know will make me laugh.
It is OK to have a pity party as long as you keep it short. Allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself, have a little wallow, maybe a bit of a moan or a rant. It is OK to do that, and in fact it can be beneficial to do that. You have to keep it short though – I usually give myself 15 minutes to have a good cry and a whinge and then make the decision to pick myself up and keep on going.
6. Practice self-kindness
I’m having a bad day, these things happen. It may be circumstances which are coming together to make things difficult or I may have messed up and created my own bad day. It might be due to PMT (and that is nothing to be ashamed of by the way.) Our instinct is to beat ourselves up when things go wrong and we need to fight that instinct. You can learn lessons for next time once the bad day is over. But when I am having a bad day I need to be kind to myself. Gentle with myself. That means I need to keep myself nourished with food and water, and I also need to curb my inner talk.
7. Count down the hours to bedtime
I set myself little goals. Get through the next half hour, the next hour, the next five minutes. I might feel like a kid in the back seat of the car on a long journey saying “are we nearly there yet?” but sometimes I truly find that having a good night’s sleep puts things in perspective. Sleeping on it, whatever it is, helps. OK, I might wake up the next morning with tat feeling of dread in my tummy, but more often than not, I won’t. So if you’re having a bad day, remember it will soon be over and it will be behind you.
I have to admit that I am not a big meditator, and don’t practice mindfulness. But I do see the value in using our breathing to calm us down. a minute or so of deep breathing is often enough really help me refocus.
What are your bad day hacks?
Think of some things you can do when you are having a bad day and write them down so that when you are in the middle of it you have a list of help yourself tools.