Sometimes, like a tidal wave of deadlines and due dates, you can see a bad day coming. Sometimes, one bad “surprise” can ruin the entire day. While bad days (or months…) may happen, we are not completely at the mercy of fate. If, like me, you’ve dealt with anxiety and depression, you know that having a strategy for coping with the unexpected downturns in life can make the world of
difference. So! Here are three options I use regularly to mitigate the bad days, or at least help the bad days to end a little better.
Option 1. Set a morning routine and stick to it. Preventing a bad day is preferable to experiencing one, so set a morning routine and stick to it (no matter what!). The morning hours are the time of day you have the most control over. What is it you want to achieve? How do you want to progress? What can prepare you best for the chaos and uncertainties of any given day? I begin every day with a scripture devotional, a 30 minute run, hot shower, hot breakfast, study French lessons, and then(and only then) do I check my social media accounts, respond to emails, and hit the office. Even if it means I’m a little late getting into the office, I stick to my routine because I know that whatever stuff “hits the fan” that day, I have already accomplished my daily personal goals. It helps me focus my mind and body, and feel ready for anything.
Ok, so, not every morning begins with sunshine and birds singing, and sometimes stuff beyond my control ruins the “morning routine” and I’m at the office, with mismatched socks, and running around like a crazy person–and it’s not even 8 am! So what then? What do you do when your morning gets totally shot and you’re feeling beyond-frazzled and out of control?
Option 2. Plan a happy moment. Particularly when I’ve missed my morning routine, and the whole day is looking to be an unending series of stress-inducing episodes I plan a happy moment. Pick a thing you absolutely love, love, LOVE, and put it on your work calendar at a time when you are going to need it most. For me, I have planned to FaceTime with my nephew for 5 min. at 3:00, or to walk in the sunshine for 10 minutes at 3:00, or to order a chocolate croissant from my favorite bakery at 3:00. (If you couldn’t tell, 3:00 is usually the time when I need a happy moment). Anyway, the point is, your happy moment, even if it is just a moment, will help you feel motivated to push through the tough hours and re-set your attitude after. If the grind continues beyond that moment, like suffering through 15 hours of due diligence type of days, I set a SECOND happy moment, and work for it! (Ideas: ordering dinner from my favorite place, listening to a favorite song, etc.) Setting a specific time is very important. At the end of the day, you’ll have that one moment (or two) worth remembering.
But…what if Option 1 and Option 2 don’t work? What if the entire day is a catastrophe? What then?!
Option 3. Count your blessings. There are occasions when I have been in the wrong place, at the wrong time, said the wrong thing to the wrong person, tripped over myself all day long, and at 7:00pm, the partner calls to give me another assignment he needs by the morning. Seriously? I was planning to crawl into a hole and pretend like this wasn’t really my life. But, no. The client is king, as they say, and there are some long days that turn into some long nights and it just sucks! When I hit rock bottom, I have learned to make a list of the blessings, the big and little things about my life that are good. There’s always something, even if it’s hard to get started. Whether you believe in fate, a Higher Power, or that all good things came from your mom (in which case, I hope you call and tell her so!) the practice of recounting all the things that make life rich will help you to manage the tough times. At least, it has helped me.