So you had a bad day? A really terrible, awful, horrible, no good kind of day?
Feels awful, doesn’t it? We all have them. One of those days when nothing goes right. The entire day spirals out of your control and there is nothing you can do to stop it. The anxiety is closing in on you, and all your stress management skills have flown out the window. All you can do is look forward to bedtime, when the horrid day will be over.
OK, so you had one. What to do the next time one of these bad days comes around? How can we rebound? How can we learn from this? Here are six simple steps to fix a really bad day. Try these and watch your day turnaround.
The first thing to do is to get back to as calm a state as you possibly can. Spend a few minutes in meditation once you are ready.
Concentrate on breath alone, feel the tension slowly melt from your body. Feel the weight lift off of you. Let the thoughts come and let them go. Once we are not operating in the purely negative space, we can take some proactive steps to rebound. We can view the day’s events with more objectivity once we are not deep within the emotions it spurred within us.
2. Know in your heart it’s just a bad day, not a bad life
Just because you had one horrible day, it doesn’t mean your entire life is all wrong.
Ask yourself, how often am I having these types of days? When was the last one and what triggered that day? Am I starting to question major life choices such as my job or my relationship? Or was this quite simply, and most likely, just one very bad day?
Most of us can truly know in our hearts this is simply just one bad day. Our life is much more than just this one day. The joyful days will be intermixed with painful ones. We know this logically, but it feels different to live it out loud. Give yourself a break for going negative in response.
3. Take personal responsibility
What role did you play in getting yourself to this point? Usually when we react with irritation, anger or bitterness, it’s because we’ve allowed ourselves to be pushed beyond our boundaries. We’ve given up on time for self-care and self-love. We’ve said “yes” when we really meant “no”.
This choice to cut ourselves short puts us on edge, and at a disadvantage for our ability to handle these types of days. Take a hard look at some choices you’ve made recently that made you more prone to react instead of accept. Take steps to protect and preserve your whole health and soul health to be in the best position possible to face what life will throw your way.
4. Communicate with compassion
What could have been done differently by others to avoid this situation? Did someone dump on you at work with short notice on a deadline? Did your partner not follow through on a promise? Who in your life played a role in the bad day? Can something be done differently to reduce the negative impact on you?
We can’t control the choices of others, but we can and should set our own boundaries. If there was a trust or responsibility violated by the boundary, that needs to be communicated. Perhaps even re-communicated. Open and honest, yet compassionate communication, is needed. How can you let this person know you would prefer this situation to be handled differently in the future?
Have that difficult conversation. You are worth it. And guess what? So are they.
You can’t expect different for the future unless you do different now. No one else feels how you feel, and this person may not even be aware of the wake they just created in your life. Gently and with love give them the information to be able to choose better next time.
5. Pick out the bright spots
Even on the worst of days there are some bright spots. Go back over the day. What brought you even the tiniest glimmer of joy? A call from a friend? A smile from a stranger?
I had one of these days recently, where everything went wrong. I was disappointed in others, and mostly in myself for how I let the events get to me. But at the end of that night, driving home late, my teenage son reached out to hold my hand in the car and smiled at me. Joy. Love. Heart melts. Bright spot.
You have them even on the worst of days. Look for them and embrace them with gratitude in your heart.
6. Let it go
Leave yesterday in yesterday. You did the best you could in the moment, and so did others. It happened. Get up the next day with joy and gratitude in your heart that you get yet another chance at a joy-filled day. Yesterday does not need to affect today unless you allow it.
Learn and adjust from the lessons you explored above. Apply the lessons and move on. And the next time you have another very bad day….which we all will….REPEAT the above!
Before you know it, you may even be able to stop the next one midstream from taking over an entire day of your life.