How To Survive A Bad Day


After what feels like months of positivity, bad days seem to be coming with alarming regularity. By a bad day I mean one of those 24 hour periods in which it feels like everything that can go wrong, did. I'm sure you know the ones I mean, we all have them occasionally (or not so occasionally). By the time I crawl into bed I am secretly congratulating myself on surviving it, and praying that tomorrow will be different. I don't know about you, but so often these things seem outside of my control. Each new incident prompts a mental screaming of "why me?!".

 Yesterday was one of those days for me, even though last Monday's coffee-prompted-sobbing seems so recent in my mind. Hadn't I had my quota of bad days this month? Apparently not, and the final straw of a precious piece of jewelry breaking unleashed a fresh torrent of tears. Luckily I have counselling tomorrow, so I can go indepth as to why that particular ring might hold so much emotional value (not least because I have barely taken it off in three years), but in the meantime I thought I'd pause and think about how to improve upon one of those days once the seemingly unstoppable ball starts rolling.

Allow yourself a little sympathy: Things really aren't working right now for you, and that's rubbish. Give yourself a few moments of love and support: today isn't your day, but that doesn't mean you're not a wonderful human being, and it doesn't mean that other days won't be your day. You're probably still winning at life overall, today is just the exception to the rule and I'm sorry you have to go through it. Get a hug from a friend, or share what's going on with someone. You deserve a lot of love right now. 

Don't diminish your feelings: Sometimes when I try to explain why I'm feeling so terrible it sounds silly: it really isn't all that bad in the grand scheme of things. If that helps you feel better then use it, but for me I just end up feeling worse because I think I'm making it up. You feel like things aren't going well, and I wouldn't want to minimise that for you. Feel those feelings, otherwise they'll just end up coming out sideways. 

Take each minute as it comes: So often it is the aggregate of little things that makes a day turn into one of those days. All I ask of you is to keep going a minute or an hour at a time, rather than overwhelming yourself with the enormity of it all. Each smaller step is achievable, so focus on that. 

Remember you survived the last one: When talking about favourite pieces of advice recently, a friend of mine told me this: "Remember that day in high school that you never thought you'd get through? Well you did, and you're here." She's 100% right, and remembering your capabilities is never a bad thing. You did it then and you can do it now. 

Find small solutions: You probably can't fix everything, but what can you fix? Sadly the pearl is now missing from my beloved ring, but the rest of it still means a lot to me. I've decided to keep wearing it, even though it looks different, because it has become such an essential part of who I am and the main source of my sadness was feeling like I was losing that connection. It is not a perfect solution, and at some point I hope to replace it, but in the mean time it's one that's working for me. 

If you can, laugh: Sometimes things get so ridiculously bad that I simply have to laugh about it. This is so context dependant, but finding light even in the worst of situations (and I've seen people do it in some pretty horrific circumstances) can brighten you up for a few small moments. 

In truth I hope you don't have any bad days, but since they sometimes feel inevitable I at least hope that these suggestions will help. Most important of all is to remember that you won't always feel this way. In the front of my diary (yes, that diary) I keep a postcard of a quote which says:

At the end of the day we can endure much more than we think we can. - Frida Kahlo

Now my problems are nowhere near that of the incredible Ms Kahlo's, but she's got a point. We are all strong, capable human beings even when we don't feel like it. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and work hard on looking after yourself and soon positivity will start to creep back in.