I have a question. Why does it seem that when just one thing goes wrong in your day, a snowball effect begins and your whole entire day is turned upside down? I truly want to know this answer. If one thing goes wrong, no big deal, but when it seems like you can not gain control of your day, let’s face it, it sucks!
A few days ago, I experienced one of these days. I woke up, had a smooth morning getting ready for work, grabbed a coffee on my way to the office, and was ready to conquer the day. I was about three quarters of the way done with my day and BAM, problem number 1 occurs. Due to the fact that I work in a mental health agency, I am always working with people. Sometimes, my job can be very challenging, because some clients that I work with do not agree with suggestions I have. On this day, I was confronted by a very angry client because they did not agree with my suggestions. Long story short, supervisors were involved and the situation was turning very negative very fast. I tried not to let this bother me and let it ruin my entire day, so, I chose to go out for dinner and drinks with my boyfriend after work. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, had a great time, and ate awesome food. Driving home I noticed that my tire pressure light has turned on. Bring on problem number 2. I ran over a bolt and now have a flat tire, mind you, the tire is only 4 months old. Internally, I am screaming, but I tried very hard to not lose my cool. So, I take my car to a used tire shop, to only be told that they can not fix my tire until the morning, which meant that I would have to be late to work the next day. Again, internally screaming. About an hour later, I was home on the couch and decided to get a head start on a paper I have due for grad school. I opened my MacBook, turned it on, and here we have problem number 3. My MacBook decided to self-destruct and refused to turn on. So, I decided to take it to Best Buy to have the Geek Squad take a look at it. They informed me that my MacBook has completely kicked the bucket. Turns out my hard drive failed and there was just no saving my laptop. Due to being in graduate school and that I have a 12 paged paper due Sunday, I needed to buy another one and I spent around $900. (UGH!) I drove home like a ticking time bomb, trying to tell myself to not lose my mind. Well folks, the second my body entered my apartment I had a complete and total dramatic meltdown. My poor boyfriend had no choice but to deal with the wrath of me and my day.
As I said before, when one thing goes wrong, it seems that it all goes wrong. Even though this day was one of the worst days that I have had in awhile, I allowed my day to weigh me down and encourage me to end the day on a very bad note, which was not helpful, positive, or necessary.
So, what could I have done differently?
I will be honest and say that I absolutely did not practice these ideas on this day. Personally, I struggle with handling and coping with bad days, which is why I wanted to write about this topic! I am going to practice these ideas when future bad days occur, and you can, too!
1. Distract Yourself
Without even realizing it, I distracted myself by planning a spontaneous date with my boyfriend. My mind was completely distracted when I was out for dinner and I was only focusing on the present moment and talking about things that did not involve my day. This is a great way to calm yourself down. If you pick something you love to do, you will be able to distract yourself and genuinely enjoy what you are doing, while also allowing yourself to cool off from a bad day in a healthy way.
2. Recognize the Good
Yes, I had a very crappy day, but was my entire day crappy? Or only some parts of it? What we can do here is recognize what good things happened in our day, even if there weren’t that many. This allows us to train our minds to only focus on the good, which can help us cope with the many crappy days to come down the road. Here are some of the good things that happened during my bad day: Dunkin Donuts made my coffee perfect on my way to work, I was able to eat lunch outside due to the beautiful weather, I went on a date with my boyfriend at one of my favorite restaurants, and lastly, I came home and was greeted by a very excited and adorable dog who loves me very much.
3. Talk to Someone
Talking to someone about your stressful day can be very beneficial. This allows you to vent about your day and also gain some feedback from someone else. They can possibly show you their own perspective on your day, help you calm down, or find ways to make your bad days turn into good days.
Sometimes, the things we want to say out loud, we shouldn’t say out loud. When we vent to people, we are still holding back what we really want to say, because we know that what we want to say isn’t nice or appropriate. So, how do we get these feelings and emotions out? We write them. Grab a notebook and just let your words fill up each page. This can be your own personal notebook that no one else see’s. Sometimes we need a place to put all of our anger and frustrations without feeling judged or uncomfortable about what we are saying.
5. Pet an Animal
As I said before, I was greeted by my dog when I got home. After my meltdown, I was laying on my bed and my dog, Murphy, was staring at me wagging his tail. I picked him up and he laid down next to me. This instantly made me feel better because of the love I have for my dog, and because it was relaxing to just pet him and see him so happy!
6. Take a Shower
Cool off, literally! Taking a shower can be very relaxing and allow our minds to escape from reality and just calm down. Using your favorite scented body wash can also help. Personally, I love any kind of sugar cookie scent. It is very warm and comforting and can help calm me down and make me feel much more relaxed.
7. Recognize the Impact
Lastly, even though we need to think back on the positives that happened from the day, I believe it is important to think about how the stressful day made us feel and how it impacted us at the end of the day. As you know, my day escalated and it did not end well. As I write this and think back on how my bad day made an impact on me, I am realizing that it negatively effected me mentally and physically, and also negatively effected others. When I am super stressed, I become very tense and physically uncomfortable. I also repeat the bad day over and over in my head and don’t move past it. Both of these things are not helpful to me. I also had to later apologize to my boyfriend for taking my entire day out on him. When we sit down and think about how badly we are impacted by our bad days, it helps us plan out how to cope better next time, so we can avoid these bad feelings.
No matter how bad we try or how bad we want to, we can not control how our days go. We will all encounter very bad and stressful days. Bad days happen and sometimes we just end up losing our minds. We are only human! However, maybe if we practice these coping skills, we can either eliminate some bad days, or cut the ‘bad day’ to a ‘bad hour’. As the title states, ‘when it rains, it pours’, but how we handle this is completely up to us.
Sincerely, Olivia 🙂