Nine Ways to Salvage a Bad Day
I wish I could fill an article with 10 or 20 or even 100 things you can do to ensure that you will never, ever have another bad day in your whole life. Sorry – I just can’t. No one is immune to the random bad day – even the happiest, most secure and well-adjusted person will have a day here and there that tests her patience and throws off her super-woman swagger. That’s life.
This morning was one of those days for me. My kids were acting like kids (not the sweet kind, either – those awful kids that you just don’t want yours acting like). My youngest son has a festering infection on his finger that requires him to take antibiotics and have regular wound care. He hates medicine and I often have to threaten, yell, and hold him down physically to get the horrible scalding acid down his throat (at least that is what you would think I was trying to give him). This morning – as usual – he did not cooperate with drinking his medicine or having his bandaid changed – so I had to wrestle him down, pry his mouth open, and hope the syringe full of infection fighting miracle juice wouldn’t go down the wrong pipe and choke him to death on the way down. Then there was my five year old – “trying to help” by socking his brother in the eye while I was holding him down. This was all before 9 am. I wanted to cry.
It wasn’t enough that I had to deal with pre-dawn eel wrestling – it was also snowing outside. I am not the biggest fan of snow and 7 inches of new fall before I have to take the kids to daycare is not, in my humblest, the greatest way to start the day. I would prefer a tropical start – that might even make the fighting less annoying to me because I would be getting a daily dose of the beautiful warm and wonderful sun. But tropical is not my reality. Snow is.
At least, I thought, the kids have a day of preschool ahead of them, and I have the day ‘off.’ Well, off to work on the stuff I work on when I am not at work! Snow shoveling, laundry folding, toilet cleaning – you know – the fun and glamorous stuff. A break from the kids, nonetheless.
I dropped them off at school – they went in like the angels that I know they are. It was an unexpected stroke of luck…
On the way home, though, I had the nasties playing in my head: I hate it when my kids act like that. I am a horrible mom. I hate yelling. I hate the snow. I hate being cold. I want to move. My neighbors suck. Blah. Blah. Blah. All of a sudden, either my sanity snapped or I just realized how overly dramatic and far too serious I was being because I started laughing about all of the hate and negativity running around my brain!
Really, my life is not that bad. Snow is not that bad (OK it really isn’t good at all but I am just going with the warm-fuzzies). My neighbors are rude, but there are worse. My kids are awesome kids – and I am a better mom than some and worse mom than others…
How does one turn a bad day good? Here are some tips and tricks that might help, the next time you find yourself in the midst of one of those days.
1) Allow yourself to think nastybad thoughts – and laugh at them! It is important to process our feelings – even the icky ones. Do not banish them. Have them, allow them to be, and then let them go. If you find yourself caught up in a stream of hating this and f*@king that, keep it going until it is exhausted.
2) Find something to laugh at! If you can’t laugh at the absurdity of hating everything, then find something that cracks you up endlessly. Personally, I like bloopers and Takeshi’s Castle game show out of Japan.
3) MUSIC – Whether you need angry, aggressive riffs or something to shake your booty to, nothing soothes the savage beast in you like music. Put it on, turn it up, sing at the top of your lungs (unless you are in the office – LOL!). Don’t forget to shake your grove thing.
4) Put it behind you. Each moment is a new moment – and a whole day doesn’t have to be bad even if it started horrendously. Let the moments that were bad fade into the background while resolving to have a better “rest of the day.”
5) Exercise. Get out there and sprint or lift or skate or jump or climb. Move. Use your anger and frustration to push yourself (not to the point of injury, though). I never come home from a jog in a bad mood. Never.
6) Find someone to talk to. There are days when we all need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to bend – bad days are no exception. Call a friend and ask if you can vent a little bit. It helps.
7) Find someone to cheer up. Nothing helps me forget my problems as quickly as helping a friend forget hers. If I am in a bad mood and call a friend, chances are that we both will end up talking about our problems. Taking the focus off of my bad day and putting it on cheering up friends totally changes my mood.
8) Change your focus. It is just as easy to look at all the positive and beautiful things in your life as it is to see the bad. When you make it a habit to see the good things, it is easier to bring your attention back to those things should your day start spiraling into negative territory.
9) If one of the above mentioned strategies doesn’t work, resort to a full-blown adult temper tantrum. Find a place where no one can see you and stomp your feet, flap your arms, jump up and down and make angry grunting sounds…throw yourself on the floor if you want to! Just shake out all that negativity!
We are adults so we are supposed to know how to handle our frustrations and get on with life, despite any and all challenges put in our paths. Bad days are inevitable! Learning to get through the storms and enjoy the rainbows and blue skies is an art, and the methods listed above will help to lift your bad mood in no time. It is almost guaranteed!