Getting Out from Under: The Trap of the "Bad Day"

Of course, I have to start this post by saying that I am not a therapist. Of any kind. I have been in therapy, in the past, so this post is not meant act as a substitute for that, in ANY way. It's a post for those of us who have just had too many sh*tty days, maybe consecutively, many on-and-off, but enough that you are feeling like "enough is enough." 

I completely understand. I have also started to feel a bit of the pre-Spring slump lately, especially when your New Year starts off with high hopes, and somewhat of an emotional bang. Reality sets in, and often, the very same things that have been plaguing us and have kept us stuck for so long are still, unfortunately, still there. 

It's hard to climb out of this kind of vague slump, because we have spent trying to do so, our emotional muscles get so tired, and we just want to put the cover over our heads, and read our latest good book on the nightstand (speaking for myself, here!) We spend so much energy trying NOT to feel bad, we scoffed at any other generally good and sound advice. (Call a friend! Schedule a manicure! Take a walk!) I know. You just want to smack someone who suggests this when you are feeling like this. I really get it, believe me. 

So- what to do if you keep having days like this, have always had days like, but always do manage to bounce back? How do you reduce the time spent feeling like crappy?

I think you don't have to stop, feel it in your body, ask yourself what's wrong, etc, necessary. You KNOW you are having a terrible day. But it's important to stop right there. As we have spoken about here in past posts, the brain's neural pathways can get used to any environment. Neurons that fire together wire together, and vice versa! If you are used to feeling like crap, believe me, the brain does, too. Sometimes, you have to make the brain put on its Nikes and just "Do it", even though it feels like lying on the couch and eating potato chips. (Metaphorically speaking, of course! ;) 

So, okay, you are feeling lousy again. And you have a fun day of work, which maybe you are not looking forward to. And the kids are getting on your nerves. And the house is just a mess. Just...stop for a moment, before taking the next disagreeable thought or action. Then ask yourself:

1. What do I really want to be doing right now? 

2. Is there any way I can incorporate that, in any way, shape or form, into what I am doing currently? If you work from home, could you perhaps take a break to do that thing that will put your mind at ease? If that calming, clearing thing for you is cleaning or tidying, throw a load of laundry in, or wipe down the counters. If it's Facebook or Instagram, CALL a friend, instead, to get that hit of connection, instead of spending dead minutes or hours scrolling. If you are at work-maybe you can schedule meetings with co-workers who make you laugh or you get along particularly well with. If your work is labor intensive-in the service industry, for example-and you have a pretty set itinerary to your day or evening- then definitely schedule something not for when you get off work tonight or later-but- for something LATER ON in the week you really will look forward to: Visiting a favorite niece or nephew, grabbing drinks out with friends, seeing that Oscar flick that you missed, plotting some Sexy Time USA with your Significant Other, just whatever it may be. Tonight, or whenever you get home, you need to chill, but scheduling something later in the week, well, that should give you a nice, refreshing little boost.

3. Go to Trader Joe's. (This always works for me!) I'm serious! There is something about this company that is simply good-mood inducing: The cheerful staff. The adorably named food items. The cute packaging. And the great deals. Where else can you find a $6 bouquet of roses, free samples, and adequately priced, quality almond butter-all under one roof? I adore this place! Make a list. Even if you're at work, go and hit that Trader Joe's now, or on your way home from work, or whenever you schedule allows. You may even grab some extra wine and cheese, and be motivated to call a few friends to come on over! Yay! If anything, at least you went grocery shopping for the week. ( #amiright?)

4. Clean something. Right freaking now! Yes. This site is not House & Mind for no good reason, man. Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project is even writing a book about this phenomenon, because it works, called Outer Order, Inner Calm (landing on shelves next Spring!) Sometimes, feeling really down is just anxiety in a super-duper sneaky disguise! You may not feeling like exercising or going out for a nice walk, but just try to clean or organize one, small thing in your apartment or house right now, and see how you feel then. (we have a few Tiny Tidys posted that are just the ticket!) 

5. Remember: This Too Shall Pass. One of my oldest friends used to say this to me whenever something terrible or just uncomfortable happened, and it's absolutely the truth. Tomorrow is another day. 

But...the more you "catch" yourself from falling into the trap of a bad day, the better off you will be from preventing them in future, and get adept at literally turning them around.

PS-Just please remember, some days DO just, well, s*ck. (And that really is okay, too!) xo