Bad Day, Go Away!

Early one recent morning I received a text from a good friend and former co-worker who was having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

“What do you tell your clients to do if they have one of those days when they wake up on the wrong side of the bed and nothing seems to go right for them?”

Interesting question. It happens to each of us from time to time. The cause of this misalignment of intention with execution can vary from having had a poor night of rest, a tiff with a friend, or a head cold that’s coming on. Regardless of the cause, these bad days, unfortunately, happen from time to time, so it’s best for you to have an emergency game plan to use.

  1. Embrace the bad mood. You’re not going to get anywhere just “letting it go” as some would advise. The reason is that there is a misalignment in your world, and you can’t just let that go. That has to be fixed, tweaked, or solved in some way. Recognize your bad mood or unfortunate circumstances for what they are, a normal part of life, and then on solid footing, you can decide where to go from there.  Do not just try to stuff your feelings down because that will cause more problems and trigger a downward spiral. It’s always the best practice to start where you are, not ignoring it, but acknowledging reality so you can have an informed state of mind when working to shift things to go more in your favor.
  2. Be in the here-and-now. Practice a moment of mindfulness. Sit up, still and straight, roll your shoulders, take a few deep breaths, and then just concentrate on your breath. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Notice how the breath feels as it comes in and out of your body. There are lots of different sensations when you take a moment to pause and notice them. Doing this deep breathing exercise for just a minute or two can help you gain a more balanced perspective.
  3. Take part in some form of affection. Whether it’s snuggling with your cat or dog, or getting a hug from your spouse, a little affection can go a long way. If you have no pets, and there is no one around you for a hug, reach out in some way to someone who can just pour a little love on you for a few minutes. A few minutes of good old-fashioned unconditional love does wonders. If your affection outreach includes a text or a call to someone, try to have your words focus on the positive instead of recounting how lousy your day has been, “Hey- needing a little love and positivity in a day that’s not going my way. Don’t want to focus on the negatives, but if you could send some encouragement, I’d greatly appreciate it!” That message is clear: I need love, could use it now and don’t want to talk about why today stinks. Simple!
  4. Take advantage of this dose of gross with something else you don’t want to do. I don’t mean to make it worse for you, but if you’re already having a bad day and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better, you may as well use it to your benefit and knock off one of those to-do items that would end up putting you in a bad mood anyway. You’ve killed two proverbial birds with one bad-mood stone. This may not immediately improve your mood or change the course of your unfortunate day for the better in the way you would like, however, accomplishing that “thing” will give you a sense of accomplishment and will also take it out of the back of your brain. (BTW, those things don’t belong in the back of your brain. If you need help learning how to get them out and keep them out, join my one-hour class for free.)
  5. Consider the source. Review how this bad day came upon you, including ways you may have brought it on yourself, so you can avoid that pattern moving forward. For example, during one phase of my life, I awakened with headaches constantly. I couldn’t figure it out; I was not drinking so there were no hangovers involved, and I had plenty of sleep which felt like it was of a decent quality.
  6. 30-Second dance break! I won’t bore you with including my favorite 30-second Gray’s Anatomy clip again as I usually do when this topic arises. Honestly, it works, though – and it doesn’t have to be a dance break; it can be anything that accomplishes these four ingredients:
    1. Change your activity level (ex: go from sedentary to walking)
    2. Change your heart rate (which usually goes hand-in-hand with changing activity level)
    3. Change your environment (go to another room, or go outside)
    4. Do this for at least 15 minutes (if you don’t have that much time, fine, but 15 is my recommendation)
  7. Focus on gratitude. No, I’m not trying to shine manufactured sunshine on you, but a few minutes of thinking about the things that are good in your life and for which you are thankful can help put a few hours of a bad mood in perspective.
  8. Laugh. When you’re in the middle of a bad mood laughter may be the last thing on your mind, however, it’s exactly what you need! Even if you have to resort to silly YouTube videos, go for it. Just laugh. Laughter can solve a variety of emotional and energetic issues!
  9. Pamper yourself. If it’s a work day for you, take a sick day. If it’s a day off for you, take it. It’s absolutely fine to just take it. Sometimes you just need a day off. Take a long, hot bath if you like that sort of thing, get a pedicure (that’s my favorite cure), or treat yourself to a movie… whatever pampering is to you – do that.

When my friend asked me this question over text, because it was so early in the day, I responded,

“Maybe you should get back in bed, relax, take some deep breaths, and then get up on the other side.”

All bad days were not created equal, so all bad days may not respond equally to the same remedy. One of the things I always advise my clients to do is to experiment. Using the viewpoint of experiments, how can you play with remedies without being attached to or expectant of a particular outcome? That last little part (not being attached to the outcome) is the key.

I’m hoping your bad days are many fewer than your good ones, and that you find a way out of the muck when the tough times pop up!


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