10 Things To Do When You Are Having A Bad Day

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Health and Wellness

Last Friday did not go my way. At all. It started at 1 AM when my husband woke me up because he was super stressed about the next few weeks. I’m not mad about this – we have an understanding that we can rely on each other that way. However, after he was settled down and dozed off, I stayed wide awake until around 4:30 am when I finally passed out. Sometime in the night, my glasses fell to the floor and, in the morning, my poor husband stepped on them. The frame broke in two. Y’all. These were my favorite pair of glasses! My fellow four eyes know what a big deal this is! Luckily, I had a spare but, in the ensuing chaos, I was very late to my coffee date with friends I go to every Friday morning.
Things only got worse from there. I discovered my favorite hat that I planned on wearing out had been smushed, my next door neighbors saw me when I threw said hat (in what I can only describe as a toddler level temper tantrum), I left my computer at home and didn’t discover it until I got to my writing space, I got cherry juice on my favorite (white) shirt, and I somehow gained weight overnight after being very selective and careful about my food choices. Guys. I passed up a hotdog on the fourth of July!! I know that’s not how loosing weight works, but passing up a hotdog on the fourth of July is the just about the most unamerican thing I can think of… I know this sounds like whining (and it is), but these little things that probably wouldn’t have amounted to anything with proper rest just seemed so defeating last week. It was, as Alexander would put it, “A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” – has anyone else read that book?
Things are so much better now. All-in-all, everything I set out to accomplish last week has been accomplished despite my toddler-tantrums and melt downs (who exactly is the two-year-old around here?!). My sweet husband, after having to go into work on his day off, still managed to secretly surprise me with repaired glasses and re-shaped favorite hat, went out to get Papa Murphy’s for dinner, and made me a hot cup of tea for me while I hid with my embarrassment and shame in my room. He really is my hero!
But, still. Bad days – you can’t avoid them. And some are going to be pretty high on the petty scale – like the one today – and some are going to be actually horrible; like getting news that a loved one has passed away or that you or someone you love has a serious illness. So, here are 10 things for your mental health toolbox for when you have your own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

1. Make a Hot Cup of Tea in Your Favorite Mug

As a sufferer of anxiety, I try to avoid caffeine and alcohol like the plague if I feel at all stressed. Of course I crave coffee like nobody’s business when I’ve had a rough morning but it really is best avoided. Caffeine is a stimulant and while it may aid depression – it is terrible for anxiety as it will cause your heart to pound faster and kick your (already overactive) fight or flight reaction into high gear. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant and if you are sad or stressed already, alcohol is only going to make things worse. The alternative? A nice soothing cuppa herbal tea.

My favorites are a blend of chamomile, which has been shown to relive anxiety and depression and lavender which also relaxes and personally just smells and tastes good. Plus, there is nothing more calming than the “ritual” of making tea – so make sure and use your favorite mug – because, while I have no scientific research to back that particular point up, a nice, well-made mug along with a favorite tea is just one of life’s little joys that should be cherished.

If you don’t have a favorite mug, I highly suggest that you get thee to a craft fair post haste and seek out the perfect custom-made coffee mugs from your local potter. The above pictured is mine from Thompson Mud and Metal, and no- you can’t have it, however if you cant make it to a craft fair, I’ve linked some cute ones in my “Bad Day Shopping List” below.

2. Take A Bubble Bath

Nothing quite melts the stress away like a nice hot bubble bath especially with a dash of Epsom salt. Besides being proven to relax muscles and relieve anxiety, bubble baths are just a little splash of affordable luxury that can make a bad day better. My grandmother always used dawn or ivory dish soap in our bubble baths (Hey. It works…). But, if you are looking for a touch more luxury, try Honest Company’s Apricot Bubble Bath (its hypo-allergenic AND it smells amazing) or Skin Milk (made from milk proteins to hydrate your skin and it also smells amazing). I also like to add Dr. Teal’s Lavender Epsom salt.

3. Watch A Comfort Movie

There is something soothing about sitting down to watch a favorite movie for the eleven-hundredth time. A few movies, for whatever reason, can always lift my spirits even when I’m having the worst day ever. My personal guaranteed-to-cheer-me-up-favorites are Emperor’s New Groove, 13 Going on 30, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Galaxy Quest. Check below in my Bad Day Shopping List for links to buy your own copies.

4. Sing Mopey Songs or Have a Dance Party

Go ahead and belt your cringiest emo songs – it may actually improve your mood. Listening to music releases a chemical called dopamine which is a mood booster. But, if sad songs aren’t working, try a dance party. Not only will you get your dopamine fix from the music, but dancing gets your blood pumping which can also help you to shake your blues.

5. Get Out of the House For a Bit

Sometimes a change of scenery can be nice. Getting out of the house for a bit can give you temporary relief from feelings of being stuck or trapped. If nothing is going right, and you feel confined to your house because you have to do dishes, or sweep or do laundry, go ahead and step out of the house for an hour or two – everything will still be there when you get back and the relief may make you feel more up to the task. However, the scenery you are changing to does matter. If you’re leaving your chaotic house for rush hour traffic, you aren’t going to do yourself any favors. Instead, opt for a nice gentile walk in a park or an easy trail as natural environments are shown to reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to high stress and anxiety.

6. Cry or Scream

At times, our emotions are just too big to contain. So- go ahead and cry, shout at a wall, scream or laugh out loud. Sometimes the occasion just calls for it. Besides, there is research to suggest that crying is super beneficial to your body as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system to restore the body to a state of balance. This idea has been around for a while and several cultures engage tears as a community health program – like the crying parties of Japan.

There is also research to suggest that screaming also has a cathartic effect, in fact, there is even such a thing as ‘Primal Scream Therapy’. Personally, I would want to make sure I was in a safe and private place – far away from your kiddos who might be a little freaked out by mommy getting her crazy on. No one wants to have the police show up during your therapy session for a well-check.

7. Act Happy

This one may put your acting skills to the test but acting happy when you are sad can make you happy. Confused? According to Dr Isha Gupta, a neurologist from IGEA Brain and Spine, smiling can create a chemical reaction that causes the brain to release hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. Even forcing a fake smile when you’re really aggravated can help.
Laughing is another great way to relieve stress. Try it right now- smile (or force a smile) and laugh. How do you feel? Is there less tension in your muscles? Laughing produces a whole host of medical and mental benefits such as improved immunity, greater oxygen flow and – yes- stress relief. Even forced laughter can make you feel better when you are down. So go ahead. Stockpile those funny memes and watch all those hilarious cat videos- its good for your health.

Laughing is another great way to relieve stress. Try it right now- smile (or force a smile) and laugh. How do you feel? Is there less tension in your muscles? Laughing produces a whole host of medical and mental benefits such as improved immunity, greater oxygen flow and – yes- stress relief. Even forced laughter can make you feel better when you are down. So go ahead. Stockpile those funny memes and watch all those hilarious cat videos- its good for your health.

8. Read a Book

Escaping your reality and jumping into the reality of a good book is sometimes enough to break you out of your bad mood. I’ve found that I really cant stay depressed while reading a good book (although a good book can probably move me to sadness – its not the same thing!!)

Currently, I’m working my way through The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, which is the story of two Jewish cousins in New York before during and after WWII – Kavalier is an artistic and hopeful immigrant who escaped Nazi Czechoslovakia with the help of a talented magician and Clay (Klayman) is a scrappy but inexperienced salesman with dreams to make it big somehow. Both find common ground within the growing industry of comic books (an industry that was largely pioneered by Jewish-American New Yorkers) and strike up a partnership that takes them on a beautiful and sometimes tragic journey throughout the Golden Age of comics. Honestly, I will forget where I am while reading it and it truly puts my own life into perspective.

Not a fan of Chabon? No problem. Check out www.yournextread.com to find book suggestions based of authors you love. Alternatively, you could always read through Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst which is always excellent no matter how old you are.

9. Find a Place to Hide From the World

Sometimes, you just need to find a quiet spot to retreat to for a bit. For mamas, this is easier said than done but I find that sometimes turning on Daniel Tiger while I sneak away to my room to just breath and hear myself think can do me the most good out of anything. If you have family or friends nearby and you need away time, call them up and see if they can watch your kid for an hour or two while you find a nice rock to crawl under – just remember to do the same for them when they need it.

10. Face Your Challenge Head On

Honestly, when you get down to it, your problems are probably not going to magically disappear on their own. Eventually you are going to have to get to the root of your bad day, weather it is a poor sleep schedule, an overloaded calendar, or a health problem. The sooner you actually stand up to your problems and work towards a solution the sooner the good days will come again.

Honestly, last Friday was a one off for me but it wasn’t too long ago that I had way more bad days than good. I was sick, tired, depressed and stressed. I put off going to the doctor for two years because what exactly was I going to say? I was sleepy? I was sad? As it turns out that’s pretty much all I needed to say. My doctor ran a full blood analysis and found out that had high cholesterol as well as some metabolic abnormalities. She gave me things to do – including seeing a counselor or therapist. As it turned out, I was suffering from PCOS which – aside from affecting fertility and cycles – also affects your mood and causes an excess of Cortisol – the stress hormone which when balanced makes you feel away and energized, when unbalanced makes you anxious and stressed.

Since making small but vital lifestyle changes, I’ve lost 40 pounds, gained so much energy, have stayed healthy and more importantly I’ve reclaimed my joy. So, whatever is bothering you, find the root, take a deep breath, and tackle it head on. If its something that is too big for you to face alone, ask for help.

I recently had a very dear friend of mine tell me she didn’t want to ask her (very loving and supportive) husband for help in her weight loss journey because he was so busy. I know it would have made her husband so sad if he were to hear that – that she felt like he was too busy for her and her wellbeing. It wasn’t the first time I had heard a similar sentiment and I would be lying id I said I never had the same feelings myself.

Sometimes its hard to take our own needs seriously when everyone else seems to need more or be handling everything so well on their own (they probably aren’t). But, if there is one thing I could impress on my friend and others like her, it is this: You are worthy enough for joy. You are worthy enough to strive for better and your family is worthy of having a healthy and happy you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you are taking care of everyone else!

What do you do when you have a bad day? Comment below! If this article helped you, make sure to like and share with your friends! Have a blessed day!

My Bad Day Shopping List:

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