So you’re having a rough day, huh? Your bad day matters. It’s part of your story. It’s part of why the good moments that follow will feel so good. And, there’s a strength that’s being built in today that you’re going to need in a rocky situation down the road. Also, you’ve made it through 100% of your worst days already and you’re still here (how cool are you?!), so I’m very certain you’re going to make it through this one!
I was having a particularly rough day recently and decided to head to Google looking for new ways to destress aka new tricks and strategies to add to my “how to get through a bad day” toolbox when I realized all the advice out there is kind of awful. Okay maybe not awful, but it just doesn’t make sense. I fully believe in things like meditation, breathing, and physical activity (I am a yoga teacher, after all), but all of that stuff is really hard to rely on in the moment if they aren’t skills you’ve been building or activities you’ve been doing. In my opinion, the rough day at hand is probably not the best time to pick up a meditation practice, because if it doesn’t go well, then you end up frustrated and just feel worse about yourself. So, I’ve put together a few tips that require no prior experience to utilize and I’m confident one of them will help you get through this unfavorable moment.
Alone time or time together?
For some people, being alone is what energizes them. For others, being around others is what helps them unwind and relax. For me, it honestly depends on the day and what I’m stressed about. So, I like to stop and ask myself, “do I need time to be alone or will being around other people help?”. If it’s being around people that I need, the friends that are good listeners or the ones where time flies when we’re together help me destress the most! Not that I don’t love my other pals, they’re just not always the best mix to an already stressful day.
Clean and organize
I know I know. It takes everything in me when I’m having a rough day to actually call up the motivation to clean, but once I start organizing, I feel better after every single time. Clutter and messes can create chaos that we don’t even realize affects us until it’s gone.
Remove extra stress
Have a dinner date with a friend that isn’t exactly the most relaxing to be around? Cancel it. Is making dinner on top of your rough day causing you stress? Order a pizza. Is calling back your mom giving you anxiety? She can wait to talk to you until tomorrow. It’s okay to reprioritize when you’re having a rough day. It’s also okay to be selfish with your energy and to put yourself first on days like that (it will help you get back on track faster than if you neglect YOU!).
Adjust your expectations
This goes hand and hand with removing extra stress. When we’re feeling good, it’s easy to set big goals and hold our standards for ourselves high, but it’s not always realistic to continue to uphold those things on a rough day. It’s okay to temporarily lower the expectations you have for yourself while you go through this. That doesn’t mean you can run around doing whatever you want, but it’s alright to accept that the amount of energy, creativity, and attention you have to give today is lower than usual.
Set a very small, extremely realistic goal and accomplish it
Whether it’s running one mile when you normally run 4 or committing to unload the dishwasher when you had planned to clean the whole kitchen today, setting your mind to accomplish one little thing can have a major impact on turning your day around. It reminds us that we do have some control and that we’re still capable of progress even on our worst days (and even when we have to lower our expectations).
How did you make it though the last time you had a rough day? See if you can pinpoint any strategizes or actions that might help you this time. Either way, looking back reminds you that you have made it through bad days before, so you have the strength to get through this one, too!
Ask yourself questions
Some people like to take their mind off of their problems, which is great if that works for them, but I, on the other hand, tend to overthink them. So, no matter what I try to do to distract myself, I know nothing is going to do much to help me destress unless I get a clearer picture of what’s going on in my head and have an action plan for getting through it. If I’m having a bad day I just can’t shake, I start asking myself things like, “what’s the root of the problem?”, “what do you need right now?”, and “is this problem out of your control?”. It’s one thing to be stressed and for your mind to be running around a million miles a minute. It’s another thing to truly stop and listen to yourself. Pausing to get a clearer picture on my mental state and actually listening long enough to hear what my gut is telling me I need takes a ton of practice, but has been so helpful in getting through rocky moments!