We have all had bad days. We hope the good days vastly outnumber the bad.
Last week I had such a day. The more problems I solved, the more that sprouted out of nowhere. The topper was a problem I unknowingly caused trying to help someone else. I felt the breath drain out of me. I wished to start the day all over and call in sick.
Bad days can seem to outweigh good ones. Negativity stings hard and a setback or criticism can topple a tower of goodness.
A really bad day is a death, job loss, cancer or something similar. Let’s step it down a step or two. The bad day I’m talking about is your garden variety shitstorm of problems, challenges and bad luck. The kind of day where you are Velcro for things gone bad, but not a crisis.
A bad day is like a toothache, not debilitating but constant. It’s with you wherever you do, gnawing at your patience, demeanor and focus.
Bad days are very irritating, but survivable. I have learned a few things that help me, aside from a quart of bourbon.
Dealing with a bad day
Stop dwelling on it. The more you turn it over and over in your mind, the more upset it makes you. Distraction is important. Get away from it.
Tackle a new challenge. Accomplish something and feel good about it. It will not erase the problem, but it will give you a boost. If you have had a set back, move forward.
Perspective. Stop looking at the forest. Can you solve each of the issues causing the bad day? Tackle one at a time, breaking up the challenge into bite-sized pieces. One battle at a time.
Laugh. Ditch the pity. Find the humor, it will literally set you free. Laughing releases great feelings and breaks up the gloom. If you can lighten your emotional load, you return to the battle with a more positive and productive attitude.
Take a walk. Literally, get off your ass, turn off your computer or phone, and use your shoe leather. Exercise or activity will refocus you and drain the strain.
It’s your attitude. If you are upset, you are not good for anyone. Attitude drives your effort and your value. Grab control of it. You can still be upset, but drive it, not the other way around. Attitude is your ally.
Refrain yourself. Do not make any decisions under the cloud of a bad day. You may regret it. In your quest to get out from under a bad day, do not trade one problem for another. Loosen your load, defer what you can till later. Free your mind.
Bad days pass. They do not last forever. There are things you can do to lessen the impact. Problems sometimes take care of themselves, but when they do not, you put yourself in a better frame of mind to tackle them. Literally think of tomorrow.
Multiple bad days are a clue of a deeper problem. Anxiety, depression and a sense of hopelessness are alarm bells. Do not ignore these. A bad day is a rainstorm. There may not be a rainbow, but it shouldn’t be a monsoon.
Bad days do not have to define you. I am not underestimating the impact of a bad day, but they do not have to possess you. Sometimes they shake your foundation and knock you on your ass. Bad days are like dandelions. They appear out of nowhere and standout in a sea of green.
I survived my bad day, as I usually do. I have yet to find a vaccine to prevent them, but I’m smarter about how to minimize them and unlock the grip it can have on you.