How to Conquer a Bad Day

bad day sign

Bad days.

We all have them from time to time.  Hopefully, they don’t become a habit.  (And, for the record, today was not a bad day for me.)

So, how do you cope?

Here’s how to conquer a bad day, TLC-style:

First, identify the kind of bad day you’re having

Is it because nothing seems to be going right?  Or is it because something tragic happened?  Or maybe it’s because you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed?

Whatever it is, you have to be able to identify the kind of bad you’re having to be able to determine how to tackle it.

How to conquer a bad day when nothing’s going right

When nothing’s going right, our first instinct is to ask the universe, “What’s next?  It couldn’t get any worse!”  If there’s anything I’ve learned so far in life it’s this:

The universe loves to prove you wrong.

It will get worse.  Oh yes.  Ridiculously so.  The universe would love nothing better than to show you that you actually didn’t have it quite so bad when you uttered that initial statement.

Our second instinct is to force everything, to go through our day like everything’s fine.  Any man knows that one of the worst words in the English language is “fine.”

Accept it, cupcake.  Today’s not even going to be fine.

What should you do?

When nothing’s going right in my world, I just stop.  I look at my plans for the day and I cancel anything that isn’t essential or time-sensitive.  Then, I’ll  hide in a quiet, safe place without talking to anyone for the rest of the day, surrounded by snuggly blankets, lots of tea and water (alcohol leads to even worse decisions on not-even-fine days) and brain candy books.  You know the ones.

If I can’t hide, I’ll politely explain to whomever I’m around that today is just one of “those days” and I’m just working toward getting to bedtime.  Which, speaking of, I take early.  The best thing about these kinds of days? Is when they end.  You can hasten that with an early bedtime.

How to conquer a bad day when something tragic has happened

It could be the loss of a favorite pet.  Or, worse, a favorite friend or family member.  Tragedy happens, all too often, and, often, all too suddenly.  How do you conquer those days?

The secret is you don’t.

Not even a little.  Those kinds of days when I want to curl into a little ball in the corner of a hot shower and never come out are the days when you find out how much it can suck sometimes to be human.  Because grief is an emotion that most if not all of us experience at least once in our lifetimes.  And it is so very painful.  And most of us don’t like pain – we want to avoid it.

Here’s what I do in those situations:

Embrace the pain.  Acknowledge it.  Talk to God. The Universe.  The water.  A duck.  Whatever you believe in.  I write a lot of stuff down when I’m angry or sad or in pain.  I try to come up with all the words that could possibly express how I feel.  Sometimes that just ends up looking like random scribbles.  That’s OK too.  Cry if you want to.  Find good, true friends, ones who won’t tell you that “everything’s going to be OK” because, let’s be real here…you’re not at the stage to believe that crap yet.  Instead, find the ones that say, “It sucks, and I’m sorry, but I’m here.  For whatever you need.”  This day will end too.  You just may not realize it yet.   (That’s OK too.  Keep going anyways.)

How to conquer a bad day when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed

I get back into bed, and get out on the right side.

If that doesn’t work, I exercise until I sweat (endorphins are gooooood).  And then I treat myself as if I were taking myself on a date for the first time.  I buy myself flowers.  I eat really good, nutritious food.  I spoil myself with a little chocolate or wine.  I buy a book I’ve been eyeing.  (Books are my favorite kind of treat.)  I try to warn others that today it’s not about them, it’s about me, and until I sort myself out, I may not be the kind of human they want to be around.  (Unless they’re going to spontaneously break out into Muppet dancing, I probably won’t be super-smiley.)

The biggest thing to remember, on days when you don’t wake up on the right side of the bed, is to not take it out on others that didn’t get the memo.  There’s nothing like pulling on a pair of your best crankypants in the morning only to be greeted by Cheerful and her merry band of Happiness.  Outta my face, wenches!

To try and peel off some of my mean jeans, I try and focus on things to be grateful for.  Gratitude.  Appreciation.  I don’t try to attempt happiness or, shudder, “cheer” but at least something that puts my negative-for-no-reason attitude in perspective. And then I try and go do something for someone else.  Even if it’s just leaving a picture of a baby sloth on their Facebook wall.   Finally, I find

Finally, I find sunshine.  Any ray of sunshine will do.  Sit. Bask. Curl into it like a cat.  Unless you’re allergic, sun in small doses is good for you (and your mood).

Rarely, after all of the above, am I still in the horrible mood I awoke in.  When all else fails though?  I do go back to bed and try again.

We all have bad days – how do you go about conquering yours before it conquers you?



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