Those days when you just wake up in a funk and feels as though everything is going wrong and everybody is against you. It is so easy to allow thoughts like this to snowball and before you realise you’re wallowing in a tomb of self-pity. But you can fix a bad day.
Stop and breathe. Take 5 minutes to allow yourself a bit of self-pity (you are human after all) but then stop this unhelpful thought because wallowing in self-pity and catastrophizing really is going to ruin the rest of your day.
I recommend reading Don’t sweat the small stuff by Richard Carlson if you haven’t read it. His book is full of positive thinking approaches to squashing the little worries we all have and at its core the book provides advice for not over thinking or blowing problems out of proportion.
However, it’s ok to not to be ok sometimes. There will be bad days. But just remember the following:
This too shall pass
If you have decided that you want to turn that bad day around, there are so many things you can do to help yourself. My favourites:
Move your body. Get your heart pumping.
It might feel like the last thing you want to do but trust me, a bit of exercise will give you an instant pick up. It releases endorphins and serotonin (the feel good hormone) and reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) so added benefit if your bad day is stress or anxiety related. It’s written in the science and you can’t argue with that. You don’t have to slave away in the gym for hours, but a simple 30 minutes sweat fest can be the difference between prolonging the crappy feeling or turning the day around.
Personally, I like to do a 20 minute high intensity (HIIT) workout or listen to a podcast whilst running. HIIT workouts are SO easy to structure. Just pick your fave body weight exercises and an interval that works for your fitness level and off you go. If that seems daunting, my fave YouTube workouts to follow are the body coach, fitness blender or blogilates. I’m a gym bunny and use exercise as a preventative measure. I might write a separate post about structuring workouts if you are interested.
Particularly powerful is to just STOP and ask yourself what would make you most happy in that exact moment. Remember the last time you were spontaneous, how great did you feel? What would boost you in that exact moment?
Take time out and treat yourself to a bit of me time. This is personal but it could be having a hot bath, reading a book, watching some TV, ringing a friend, going to the cinema, having a massage or a pamper session. Indulge in the way that feels right for you. Regarding food, it’s tempting to reach for junk food or alcohol and if that is what would make you happiest in that moment then indulge. But don’t feel guilty afterwards! Listen to your body and thoughts. Personally I feel worse after junk food, so 9 times out of 10 I’ll avoid it if I’m in a bad mood and instead I’ll nourish myself with healthier (but equally tasty) food. If I want treats, I’ll eat them. And that’s fine too. Just ask yourself how you’ll feel after because you don’t want to cause unnecessary guilt.
Challenge your thinking
Write down the negativity. What was the situation or event that caused you to feel that way? What was the event/trigger/situation and how did you feel. Describe as thoroughly as possible and then try to identify the following: your thoughts about the situation/event, your response, your emotions, feelings and physical response (e.g. heart racing). Whilst we cannot control external events we can control our response to them.
When you have identified as much of the above as possible, try to think of alternate ways to perceive the event/situation. Could you calm your body down to stop the panic, think more kindly towards yourself or take a moment to calm the feelings? If you have unfavourably compared yourself to somebody else stop right now. Remember people only share their best bits and you actually have no clue what goes on behind the facade.
What are your go to’s for a bad day?