We all have days that start badly, even a string of small things going wrong can put us into a bad day funk. But we also all have the power to stop a bad start turning into a bad day. We just need to recognise what’s happening and know what tools we can use to stop ourselves falling into the bottom of the bad day well.
My bad day
Yesterday was my first day of being unemployed. I had big plans to celebrate my new-found freedom. This was the first day of the rest of my life, of starting my life-changing project. But, from the start of the day things seemed to be working against my great day plan.
A not ideal night’s sleep and an uncooperative phone kicked the day off to a not so good start.
“It’s okay” I thought, I’ll head into town (to sort the phone thing) after I’ve published my first blog post!” Full of enthusiasm for this task I fired up my laptop and got editing that post. Two hours later I was still in my PJs trying to figure out one seemingly simple formatting thing.
I didn’t end up showering until gone midday, a fact that is normally able to make me grumpy even if I’ve been having an alright day. I was hungry, grumpy but determined not to let my bad day continue. So I decided to try and turn it around.
How to turn a bad day around
We all have different triggers for this kind of bad day, and so the way to turn it around largely depends on knowing what works for you. But here’s a list of the top 5 things that work for me.
If I’m having a bad time because I’ve been focusing on one particular task for ages (like the blog thing yesterday) then I’ve probably neglected to take a snack break during that time. If you’re anything like me, everything feels harder when you’re hungry. Take that snack break and afterwards your day might not seem so bad.
Get a new perspective
Go outside, or if you’re already outside go somewhere different. Basically, get away from the thing that’s causing you to feel you’re having a bad day. If it’s work, leave the office for a bit. If it was a phone call you just had, leave the place where you had it and take a walk. I also know that if I don’t leave the house pretty early on in my day, I’m less able to focus and put things in perspective.
Do something else (really, anything else)
This links to the above. If there’s a task on my to do list that’s taking longer than I thought it would I feel like I have to get it done before I move on to anything else (like yesterday when I spent 2 hours on my blog issue). Normally, though, if you take a break from the problematic thing and return to it later you’ll be able to reach a solution much faster than if you’d just kept slogging away. I really need to remember this one myself.
Do a little yoga
Specifically a nice forward fold and some deep breathing. Uttanasana is a wonderful yoga pose to take when something is stressing you out/just not going right. Team it with some deep breathing and in 5 minutes you could already be feeling a lot better. Learn this great pose from my favourite online yoga teacher Yoga With Adriene.
Let’s not forget the saviour of every Brit’s bad day. Really, I think it’s the warm drink thing that helps so if tea’s not for you I’m sure any other hot drink will also do the trick. Maybe avoid the coffee though, unless you’re having a bad day because you feel tired. Pop your drink in a big mug, wrap your hands around it and your bad day may just dissolve in true Danish hygge style.
Like I said, these might not work for you. If you want to read more tips on how to turn a bad day around check out Sirena Bernal lists 10 great ideas in her post on Tiny Buddha.