Everyone has bad days.
From the ancestor who had an unexpected encounter with a sabre-tooth tiger one morning, to the young executive with the flat tire on the freeway, bad days have been derailing humanity since the dawn of time. One thing bad days all have in common, and something we can take heart in, is that we’re in it together. EVERYONE has bad days.
This article offers suggestions on how to regain control and perspective when a bad day is looming.
Firstly, I’d like to share with you some techniques I find can help me to get through a bad day. Not every technique will be successful one hundred percent of the time, but I think there’s no harm in trying to develop ways to cope with events and situations that threaten to keep us spiraling into negativity, messing with our productivity.
Stop, breathe and find something positive to reflect on.
Not ALL parts of a bad day are BAD. Think about some of the aspects of your day that were pleasant, even if it’s something as simple as the shower you took that morning that felt good. It’s often helpful for me to think about my family and that I enjoyed spending time with them that morning while we were getting ready for the day. Find something and feel the benefits of dwelling on a positive memory or experience.
My high anxiety levels often make me feel challenged by the demands on my schedule. When I’m feeling harried or stressed, I try and find a way to administer a little self-care. This can take any form: it can be the deliberate selection of a great music playlist for the morning commute; it can be a small indulgence; or it can be a ‘time-out’ from the craziness. Taking the time to recharge and renew is a great weapon against negativity.
Be aware of your bad day triggers.
Not all bad days are created from things within our control, but many times, we can and should influence the outcome of certain experiences for ourselves. You can’t avoid getting fired, but you can suppress the desire to be verbally abusive with every person who gets in your way as you exit the building. You can’t avoid getting cut off in the traffic, but you can realize that there is little point to ranting and shouting obscenities at someone who made an error in judgement – intentionally or not. Self-talk and rationalizing your responses can help you to avoid bad moments from sucking down the rest of the day.
Talk to someone.
No, don’t YELL at someone – TALK. It is one of the easiest ways to dispel the negativity around a bad experience before it becomes a bad day. Often just verbalizing your feelings can be enough to soothe them and return you to a state of equilibrium again. If no one is around, call someone or text someone to have a chat. Vent your frustrations, but don’t allow it to become more than a recap of the events that have you in a flap. Often, someone commiserating with you can lead you to righteous indignation, but seldom are you in a position, after-the-fact to do anything about a stress-inducing incident. It’s a self-destructive waste of energy to get upset anew at a past event.
Yes, you need to give yourself permission to LET STUFF GO! Most humans have a finite capacity for other people’s messes and they will disengage, which could lead you to believe no one cares. They do care, but they have other stuff they need to invest their energy in rather than indulging another rant session. Reinvest in yourself by giving yourself permission to pass on another round of complaining about whatever made you so upset in the first place. Others will follow suit. I’m not advocating for you to never say anything to anyone about your problems, but rather, that you recognize when the moment has passed and it’s time for you to get on with life. It’s okay to have a good cry, but the crying needs to stop at some point and you need to pick yourself up and carry on. Life doesn’t grind to a halt and wait for you to catch up. The longer you stay in the negativity zone, the harder it is to move out of it.
Work/Life Balance as an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur means you experience a disproportionate number of bad days, especially when your business is in a less productive cycle. It is worth reminding yourself at your lowest points why you got into business for yourself in the first place. Then adjust your outlook to keep those reasons in mind and get back to it. When you are chin deep in challenges, you have to keep looking up, or you will lose sight of your goals.
Learn from those bad days. If you failed miserably at keeping your cool, try and understand why:
- Where does the negativity come from? Try and articulate the feelings that lead to it.
- What can you do differently?
- Where are the weaknesses that are compounding your problems?
- What are the alternative solutions or behaviours that can lead to a different outcome?
Every time you try and find the silver lining around a dark cloud, you’ll discover the cloud is not so dark after all.
Finally, when you can disarm a bad day and you can deconstruct it, you find the good in it. Bad days are moments in our lives that teach us a lot about who we are and what we can do when we are faced with trouble. The big picture makes every bad day a good day to be mindful, learn and grow.
Hello, my name is Cheryl, and I am a serial entrepreneur. I have owned and operated small businesses, with my husband and partner, since 2003. I have 25+ years as a graphic design professional, have run a photography stock library, art and crafts studio, and more recently, turned my attention to writing. In 2016, I indy-published my creative manifesto. Since completing that project, I have indy-published my first science fiction novel, We Are Mars, released in May 2018. I believe we have the power to learn new things every day and I employ that belief to propel myself forward through everything I set out to do.