I’m writing this as a reminder to myself, so the next time I have a Bad Day I have a list of things that I know will help. I’m also writing it because I figure if everyone who is prone to Bad Days makes a list of five things that help, then we’d end up with an enormous list of things that someone having a Bad Day could stumble across, should they search for help. Be they tools or techniques or quirks – my hunch is that it doesn’t matter.
As long as they help.
So, for the days when my eyes won’t make contact with yours. The days when it hurts to turn my mouth upwards. The days when I hide behind “just tired” or “sore back” or “you’re annoying”. The days when it feels like the worst one ever. The days when I’m certain I’ve never felt this bad before. For all of those days, here are my top five strategies to get through.
5. Break it down
A day can feel like a huge, unconquerable amount of time. So, reduce it. An hour is full of minutes – 60 of them. That hour can still feel big when you are wavering on the edge. Smash it down to bite-size portions, and select a number of minutes that you can manage. It might be three. Then, for those three minutes? Give them a job. For three minutes, I will stand on grass. For three minutes, I will focus on breathing really s l o w l y. For three minutes, I will look out of a window and make a list of the things I can see. Or hear. Or smell.
4. Get distract- – puppies!
I’m fortunate in that I am already highly distractable. But this is a skill. Find something to distract you from the thoughts swirling around in your head. Get a handful of (raw) rice and count how many grains there are. Listen to a song and count the instruments. Immerse yourself in a book or a game or a movie or a walk or an album or a shower. I’m not saying this will get rid of your Bad Day – but it will give you a break from it.
3. Ring someone.
Now, the trick with this one is this: you don’t have to tell them you are having a Bad Day. If you want to, feel free. But sometimes just talking about random and boring stuff provides enough connection to remind you that you are not all alone. The bonus with this one is that the person you call could be having their own Bad Day, and your call could help them, too.
2. Find something you know you are good at, and do it
Cook. Play. Write. Listen. Watch. Talk. Drum. Sing. Run. Walk. Breathe. Swim. Just – do something. If I stay idle, I just sink lower and lower. As hard as it is, sometimes the change you need has to come from yourself. It sucks and it is probably the most annoying thing to hear when you are in the midst of a Bad Day – but sadly, it’s true. And if you can’t think of anything you want to do? Find something you have to do. Vacuum. Mop. Dust. Wash up. Do the washing. Mow the lawn. Sweep cobwebs. Wash the car. Wash windows. Do something. Anything. Just… do.
1. Go with it
You know, it would be totally unreasonable to think that every single day of your life is going to be fantastic. It’s not the way life rolls. We all have Bad Days and we all have days when we wish we just hadn’t woken up. The fact that you are having a Bad Day, or that you tend to have them regularly – remember that this is not your fault. This is not a failing on your part. You are more than your Bad Day. You are more than your illness. You are having a Bad Day, but you will be OK.
One last thing to leave myself with, when I refer back to this post when I am having a Bad Day:
You might be having a Bad Day, yes. But the Bad Day does not have you.
Do you have Bad Days? How do you cope? What are your tips?