By: Mariam Naeem
Let’s face it. We’ve all had tough days. Days so bad and stressful it leaves your mind aching and you feeling physical pains. I tend to suffer from chest pains and stomach aches due to stress and I’ll be honest, it isn’t pleasant.
We all have these bumps in the road and all these negative thoughts. There are so many outside influences that affect our moods, our days and our lives, so staying in a place of positivity can often be challenging. Bad days always seem to have no end and the way we respond to it all can further impact the influence your day has over you.
A bad day doesn’t have to hold power over you though. There are methods you could use to help you overcome a bad day:
1: Simplest method – Music
If you have a favourite playlist, get it on! You don’t know how many times I’ve suffered through a terrible day and turned to music. I always have to play something I love listening to so that I’m able to wind down. Music has a way of elevating our moods and lifting us up. Catchy beats, good lyrics and an artist that we can resonate with can turn our bad day around with just a song or two. So put on the tunes. A bit of crazy dancing while listening never hurt either. Honestly, how many people can stay upset when they’re dancing?
2: Be around good people
It is always tempting to get away from everyone and hide out when we’ve had a tough day. The most spoken phrase in a bad day is “I don’t want to talk about it.” It’s okay. I put up a post on Facebook a couple of weeks ago talking about wanting to hide out in my bed after a really bad day. It is okay to feel like that. I always convinced myself I needed to keep other people away from me during a really bad day. But research actually shows us, while proving a point to me, that contact with others, especially happy people and people that are supportive of us, is highly beneficial and can help. It helps to lower blood pressure when around a positive person and enhances our mood. There is always someone in our lives that will make us feel good just by talking to them or being around them.
3: Have some alone time
Although this is contradictory to the second point, this is also a useful way to deal with a bad day. Sometimes, though, we just want to be left alone. And that is perfectly okay. I know for a fact I’m not a hug it out kind of person even though it can help. I like to get myself out a negative mindset. I prefer doing my own thing which is why sitting and listening to good music is always my main choice.
4: Try exercise
To be fair, this is actually my second favourite choice. I love it when I start exercising, I just carry on until I feel drained and then energised again. It’s almost like it takes the negativity away with it. It’s great. It’s a natural and automatic mood booster. I had a habit as a teenager of running out of the house when things got to be too much and going for a run around a couple of blocks or for a long walk. People told me I was emo. I told them I was processing the only way I knew how at the time. But people seemed to underestimate the unbelievable good it did me, because I came back with my shoulders feeling lighter, my head held higher and my determination for a good life spiked. My point is, you get tired of feeling caged and stressed out, especially after having a bad day. As I got older, I realised the benefits that exercise had. It’s at the point now where, if I’ve had a bad day, my automatic reaction is to go for a walk or run, go to the gym or use my weights at home. It produces a massive shift in how you feel and look at things. Even when I decide to something more relaxed such as meditate, stretch or do yoga I’ve realised it helps to create a big change in my bad day.
5: Make healthy food choices
A lot of people fail to realise the impact that our diet has on our physical and mental well-being. A bad diet and our health begins to suffer. A good diet and we notice our quality of life improve. When we have a bad day, it would help to look at our nutrition habits during those times. Are we eating and staying properly hydrated? Probably not. A bad day sometimes means a little ‘bad’ spiral, including with our food. I know that when I have a bad day I tend to go for comfort food. I look for the crisps and junk food and ice cream. Anything naughty I can get my hands on. High in carbs and sugars. The trouble is, you tend to realise how bad it is for you afterwards, when you’re sitting complaining of feeling sluggish while you’re lying there in your food coma and especially when you look in the mirror and see the negative effects that your bad diet has on you. Sure it’s good to go bad once in a while, but when it gets to be addictive and dangerous for your mind and body, that’s when you need to start making changes. Recently, I’ve been getting more aware of my choices. I’ve stopped going for snacks and dived into a world where snacking means eating fruit and vegetables. I’m trying to focus on nutrient dense foods and do a lot less of the comfort eating. I’m not saying I’m perfect, because God knows I will never turn down pizza and a chocolate can turn into a snacking binge, especially when distracted by Netflix. But I’m working on it. Choosing good fuel for our bodies, even on those tough days, not only nourishes us and gives us energy, but it also feeds our mind so we can rationally approach our challenges. Being consciously aware of of what you’re eating helps your mind to find logical solution for most things, including making positive choices on a day that was bad and eventually turning it around with a small, simple act.
6: Try to help someone else
Just because you had a terrible day it does not mean you have to see other people going through the same thing. If you feel bad, there’s no reason to see others suffering in the same mindset. Try to do something nice for them. Do good deeds and allow the good to overtake the bad. When we are giving of ourselves without an agenda, our mood automatically shifts into a place of kindness and gratitude. It has such a powerful effect on us, especially for a day that drains us of our energy. I remember I had just finished work, I was getting the biggest migraine and the light sensitivity was causing my vision to fade in and out of focus. I went to the pharmacy and stopped at what I saw when I entered. The pharmacy employees were refusing to give proper information to a young pregnant woman who was on holiday in the country for a month and what’s worse is, she was being treated like shit because she did not speak a word of English. Now I know I was in pain, but when a pregnant woman is crying and holding her stomach because of pain it’s heart-breaking to watch. I bought my painkillers. But then I gave the young woman and her family the number for the services that you use when you have pain but it isn’t classed as an emergency. In the UK, it’s NHS 24. That’s our helpline service. After two minutes the family wanted to call a taxi for the
woman to take her to hospital but they couldn’t. They had to ask an employee if she could call a taxi. Even though she agreed, I couldn’t watch the painful exchange any longer and whipped out my phone, telling them I’d call the taxi and stand with them outside until it came. I don’t know if I’ll ever find out what happened to the young woman who was pregnant, but all I know is I felt much better at taking her out of that toxic environment and standing with her until I knew she was going somewhere safe. By the time I got home, I realised my migraine had gone. I had been so concerned with helping someone else that my problem went away and seemed silly compared to a foreign woman in a foreign country who was being treated poorly. I’ve made it my mission that if I ever walk past anyone who looks like they’re having a terrible day, to try and help in any way that I can. I don’t want to see tears in people’s eyes, unless they’re happy tears. My bad day doesn’t matter when I see someone else suffering and help them. I’m not a saint, I’m an empathetic human being who wouldn’t turn her head away from someone else’s problems. All I know is, I feel better knowing I helped. If we just took the time to extend our hands to others then the world as we know it would end. We would be bringing about change more positive than anything else.
7: Regain your control
A bad day can leave us feeling like we have no control over anything. When we feel like we have little control over our lives, this can leave us feeling powerless. When certain situations bother us, we need to identify the parts we can control. For example, when we wake up late we can’t change the fact that our daily schedule is off. I had my alarm set for seven but found myself awake at eleven instead, my alarm had failed me. What we can do to regain some control is to look at how to reconfigure our morning to get to the point of where we are on time. We can also choose to be late, say for work for example and explain the situation honestly and thoroughly. What we don’t need to do is start off our day by beating ourselves up because we woke up late. We just need to move on.
8: Try going for a mindful walk
I know I’ve already mentioned walks as part of the whole exercise thing too, but I can’t emphasise enough just how good they are. I did say earlier it was a good way to battle those bad day blues. A really good thing is to get outside. Being in nature and breathing fresh air in natural light is an automatic mood booster and can help calm the chaos in you. When we get outside, we see the best of our world. The plants, trees, architecture, even the people can help put things in perspective so you can go back to your day with a better outlook. Going for a walk helps you to churn through your thoughts and eventually come to a more positive mindset. You can’t be angry at a dog that comes up to you wagging it’s tail, or seeing kids running and playing, or even seeing an old couple holding hands as they take their daily stroll together. It’s the little things. The more light you see, the lighter you feel.
9: Pamper yourself
I left this until last because it isn’t something a lot of people turn to, but there are still really amazing benefits to this. People do tend to see this side of things as a little too girly and effeminate for them. People underestimate the power of a good pamper session. There is simplicity in this form of self-care. And it can turn a bad day around with an amazing effect. Have a bath or a relaxing shower. Play your most relaxing music as you put your feet up and indulge in a little ‘you’ time. Go to a sauna or get your hair and nails done. Have a little skincare session with a good face mask and relax for a few moments, take the stress out of your shoulders. Get a massage.
Plan a shopping trip. It might not solve your problems but you’ll feel better about yourself and it’ll help you get in the right mindset to change your whole outlook on things. There is massive power in making yourself feel good. We focus so much sometimes on how the outside influences affect us that sometimes we get too carried away and forget to appreciate and look after ourselves.
Everything we do, every choice we make has the power to affect us and influence our outlook on certain situations we go through in life. We can display negative behaviours throughout positive experiences too. Greed, arrogance and ignorance can be a few examples. You know what I’m talking about. We could be doing so well in life and just end up too over confident, so that one mistake can make us feel like we are paying the price for our happiness. Just by simply appreciating our blessings can we truly create a positive outlook. The whole point of this post was to give you some ideas on how NOT to let your bad day affect you. Doing small, simple things that create positive feelings inside our mind often gets overlooked as an important tool. I’m just reminding you today that those small things can make a big difference in your lives and how you choose to let your bad day affect you.
Stay positive, people!