While no one thing has gone wrong, I’ve had some pretty bad days stacked on top of each other the past week or so. After being sick and knocked off my feet at the beginning of last week, it just felt really difficult to get back into the groove. Add in some more-than-usual stress, both personal and work, and I was sliding down a slippery slope of sadness.
I know myself well enough to know that I get like this occasionally, and I know that the tides will turn, but it doesn’t change the fact that it sucks being “in the soup.” Not only that, but it feeds on itself. I’m feeling sad, and then I’m mad at myself for feeling sad, and then I feel sadder… and then I get mad for feeling sadder. And the next thing you know, I’m on the couch not wanting to do anything, much less move.
Needless to say, it was a rough, rough week internally for me!
That’s the other thing; I can turn it “on” when I really need to, like going on television. Plus, I’m r good at sweeping things under the rug and pretending like, you know, it’s business as usual even when it’s totally not.
But what can you do to get out of a bad day? To pull yourself out of the funk?
ONE // Set a timeline
I actually think it’s okay to be sad, for a designated amount of time. If you’re sad, it’s probably because you’re working through something, even if you can’t quite put your finger on it. Use it as a quick time-out, a pause, or a click of a reset button. If you’re anything like me, you have a tendency to go full speed ahead for weeks on end, and then you run out of fuel and exhaust yourself. (Probably my worst habit right now.) When I’m not feeling good mentally, I’ll give myself a morning or an afternoon, with an alarm, to just steep. Lights off, under the covers, terrible movie on Netflix.
Sometimes I can’t even do it that day, and I’ll “schedule” it for a weekend day. It’s great if by the time I get there I’m back to my usual self, and I can skip it, but if I need it, it’s there for me to use it.
The trick is to ensure that you commit to the designated time and then know it’s time to pull yourself back up by the bootstraps.
TWO // Take a shower, get dressed, and put on makeup
This is the biggest thing for me. Showering and putting any kind of effort into my appearance is generally the first thing to go. I have no energy, or frankly desire, to even deal with showering, shaving, blow drying, or contouring. (Not that I’ve ever contoured before, but you know what I mean!) Because it’s the first thing to go, I have to force myself just to get up and do it.
To be completely transparent here, it’s so much easier said than done, though. Sometimes I can’t just suck it up, and the bed’s gravitational pull mixed with my sadness is just going to be too much. But I try. I psych myself up. I take it one step at a time, literally, from the bed to the bathroom.
Once I can get myself to the point of stepping into the shower, I almost immediately feel at the very least a tiny bit better. It can feel like a victory on its own.
THREE // Confirm a commitment
Even though I don’t feel like doing anything now, it can mentally help to remind yourself that it’s temporary. (Because sometimes it doesn’t feel temporary even if you know it is.) So I try to put something on the calendar a week or so out. Maybe I reach out to someone that I’d like to work with in the future or schedule a follow-up call. I try to keep the commitment positive and productive. (Like I wouldn’t schedule a meeting with my accountant, sorry guys… or something frivolously fun like a concert.)
FOUR // Talk it out
Another one of my habits: keeping everything bottled up. I am so thankful for the couple of friends that I can call to talk about anything, whether it’s venting or brainstorming or just talking it out. Try the phone or Skype over a text, but texting can work in a pinch. I find that with texting it’s too easy to overthink and rewrite what you’re trying to say– which is really what you’re trying to process. Whereas talking out loud and having a legit conversation is going get you through your thoughts better and more thoroughly, even if it’s a bit messier at the beginning.
FIVE // Do something you truly enjoy
Kind of self-explanatory, but if nothing else is working (and even if it is) give yourself permission to do something you really love. Screw your to-do list for a minute here and take the time to do something you want to do. See the movie you’ve been dying to watch, catch up on your guilty-pleasure television show, sign up for $40 spin class you’re obsessed with but never want to pay for, get a blowout, book a massage, sit in a park doing absolutely nothing.
I always try to ask myself, “what would I do if I didn’t have to do XYZ? What would get me excited?” Sometimes taking on small step, even if it’s unrelated to what you need to do, will help you get back on your feet.
SIX // Say some positive affirmations & gratitude for the good things
I call them “bad tapes,” but when I get sad, I start to have the same repetitive totally negative and sabotaging conversations in my head. I fixate on them because it’s like they’re playing on repeat! While I may not be totally perfect at it, I try my best to rewrite those bad tapes. I actively try to say something positive and focus on the things I should be grateful for. Like this past week, I was feeling really sad, but kept reminding myself how awesome it was that I was in a magazine and that I was on live television for the first time! I almost let my sadness overshadow the fact that there was plenty of things to be excited and happy about.
What do you do to turn around a bad day?