This article was last updated on December 31, 2015
We all have them. You get a flat tire, your boss is using you to get all the credit for your work afterwards and parents cling on you constantly. If it was just for a say or a week, but no. There are no periods of time in our life when everything is perfect. Something’s going to get screwed up and if you think (or even hope) otherwise, you’re a fool. We all have bad years, bad moths, weeks and days.
Moreover, for those of us, hungry-for-life and self improvement folks, it may be even more difficult to fight with such days. Because if they come and don’t get figured out, we start to think that our psychological knowledge was not enough to fix it. From time to time we can’t take a day off but what about those situations when we don’t have the luxury of running and hiding?
Here are some things you might want to have in mind while facing those days.
10 Ways To Overcome a Bad Day
1. Don’t let your brain go “RUN FOR IT!”
When experiencing difficulties your brain will want to make you get away from the situation. Your task is to identify those thoughts and be one step ahead, not give in into the “distraction” mode and to clear your head a bit. Sure, a little bit of chocolate, a computer game or a beer wouldn’t hurt. Just make sure you know why you’re using them and monitor how often that happens so they are simply fun things, not forms of escape.
2. Is it just bad mood or you’re actually feeling down?
The basic difference is that you may lose your temper when something doesn’t go according to your plan, but 15 minutes later, after concentrating on solutions instead of problems, you get back on track. When you feel down, you may have doubts about your life motives, not getting moved by anything, feeling like running away (for a longer period of time) and getting distracted (e.g. parties, alcohol, food, you name it ). If it’s just a mood swing, usually a little bit of self-papering should help. If it’s something bigger..
3. If it’s a bigger case, first identify it
Reasons one may feel down will vary depending on the person. Among the most common ones would be: losing sight of your goals and whys, not feeling the progress, not being “supervised”, ceasing getting new challenges and getting out of your comfort zone, putting too much on your shoulders which leads to the joy disappearance. Depriving yourself of what you love. If some crucial elements of your life have been absent in it for too long the feeling of deprivation is unavoidable. Identify the cause so you can fight with it, or better, prevent it.
4. Decide WHY you have difficulties with going back on track
Is it just about losing concentration and not keeping your mind in a tip-top shape (short-term)? Or maybe you’re losing the feeling of progress in your life, don’t keep challenges coming (long-term)? Only after seeing the difference can you respond accurately.
5. Have your bad-day-emergency-list
You’re the only one who can tell what it should include. Again, some of the helpful points would be: practicing yoga and meditating, spending time with family/friends or, on the contrary, getting some “me time”, going out for a walk to clear your head, coming up with new challenges and making a list of them; revising short-, medium- and long-term goals (revising your “whys”), making yourself feel the progress (that’s a bit of a challenge, since it’s usually connected with revising long-term goals) and doing something for somebody else (after all, we all need to feel that we contribute somehow).
6. Make yourself see where you’re going
Most of us are visuals. We need to SEE that what we’re doing is getting us closer to where we want to be. You can make a list (preferably going from the bottom to the top of the paper sheet as you progress towards your goal) or a stepwise scheme based on the same rules. Anything that will remind you that you’re going the right way when you lose sight of the destination.
7. A snowball doesn’t have to lead to an avalanche
You trip once and from there it’s sooo easy blow it again and again. You hit the parking metre and before you realize you lose concentration and forget about the crucial elements of the project or your partner’s birthday present. Yes, sometimes one mistake, in a way, must lead to some casualties. A flat tire or your spouse’s illness will unavoidably change your plans. Just don’t let it slip further than it’s necessary. One mistake is just that. It spoiled the moment, don’t give it the power to spoil your entire day.
8. Have your reset ritual
When you experience difficulties with falling asleep, you might consider creating a small ritual before going to bed to slow down a little bit. When you finish your workout, it’s always good to have a complete set of stretching exercises. And when you’re having a bad day, a set sequence of activities changing your focus and helping you reset can be a life-saver. Go for a walk, read for ten minutes, do some yoga poses or whatever makes you feel calmer and more centred. Beginnings might be dough but after a few time automatization will kick in.
9. Start your day with a small success – bad days included
Whether it’s reading a book or spending 10 minutes on yoga poses, simply do something you consider important. It’s gonna make your entire day feel like a success. You won’t have a chance to say “I didn’t have enough time to do things that really matter to me” or “it was wasted because of X”. It can’t be wasted, just make sure you give yourself a nice false start.
10. Do not skip your workout
That’s really the last thing you want to do. Depending on the state in which you finish your day it will a) give you some endorphin boost, b) make you take all the frustration out or, the worst case scenario, help you fall asleep as soon as your head touches the pillow.
BONUS TIP: Never do all the problem thinking in the evening. For most of us everything seems so much worse when we allow ourselves get depressed as we go to bed. In the morning everything looks better, just give yourself a few hours.
Bad days happen now and then. The key point is to foresee them, prevent as much as possible and know how to deal with them when they actually come. If you’re not feeling the progress, the revision of goals without setting new ones might be enough. You can keep a list and a schedule of these on the wall so you can see where exactly you are on your way “up”. If it’s bigger and you need to re-prioritize some things, give yourself an evening for thinking about that (go for a walk, meditate for 5 minutes, sit down and think with a pen in my hand). As you go, along the way it will be easier to ignore distractions and get some perspective to feel good with yourself long-term without running away and thus feeling guilty. Just take the fact that you know yourself (without judging!) and use it.
Photo credit: Marsel Minga via flickr