Did you read that same book I did as kid about Alexander and his lousy day? All sorts of crummy things happened to him one day, and the book basically takes you through him having a rotten day and making it ok to occasionally feel awful, while also gently encouraging you to feel better.
As adults, sometimes we also need reminders that life can hand us a poor hand for a day (or, let’s be real here, sometimes a whole season of ugly, not just a day), and that it is ok to indulge in feeling down for a minute. It is then a great idea to move those negative thoughts and feelings to the side and to refocus yourself. Here are some suggestions to overcome a horrible, terrible, no good, very, very bad day (or week, or month, or season in your life).
1. Challenge yourself to remember that we are always, and I mean always, receiving positive and negative input. Horrible day? There is still probably something that went ok, see if you can identify it.
2. Breathe. Breathe again. Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, breathe out for 3 seconds.
3. Call a friend
4. Write it out, all of it. As you are writing imagine that your writing is taking the negative stuff from inside you and releasing it so it isn’t trapped inside.
5. Write a thank you note. Bonus points if you write it, really mean the thanks and then actually send it!
6. Drink a glass of water, slowly.
7. Close your eyes. Notice the relief of shutting down your visual field. Obviously, don’t close your eyes while driving, that will add to your bad day, not provide relief.
8. Snuggle your pet. No pets at home? Walk a friend’s dog, visit the kittens at the local shelter, enjoy watching farm animals move around in a field instead!
9. Make yourself a proper cup of tea
10. Eat something yummy
11. Find 3 things you can be grateful for in your life
12. Admit that you are having a horrible day, wallow in it for a second
13. Let yourself get lost in a great book
14. Go for a walk, run, bike ride, hike, something physical
15. Head outside and find something lovely to look at, even if it is a skinny little tree in the middle of a city sidewalk
16. Do something to help someone else
17. Wash your car, inside and out
18. Clean your desk, yes, even that pile of papers
19. Organize something ridiculous, like put your books in alphabetical order, or arrange your t-shirts by color, just control something little
20. Smile at someone
21. Watch a funny movie
22. Listen to your favorite music
23. Sing. If you’re like me, it will be singing loudly and badly, but it feels good anyway!
24. Take a bath
25. Go to bed
Some of these are simple and quick, some will take a little longer. Feel free to add whatever else works for you! Feel better!
~ Dr. Carrie