Below is the podcast version of this article. There are a lot more details (and laughs) in the podcast version. I hope you enjoy it! If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, go to your favorite podcast app and type “Balanced Working Moms” in the search.
Bad Days Happen
Before we get into the meat of the article, let’s first address the pink elephant in the room.
Sometimes the hardest part about a bad day is our belief that bad days shouldn’t happen to us.
We think that life is supposed to be filled with only good days.
We’re supposed to have a full night of uninterrupted sleep and realistic deadlines at work. The kids are supposed to stay healthy every day, and especially on the day we’re giving our biggest presentation!
We believe (or hope) our days should always be blissful and go smoothly.
However, part of living a balanced life is understanding that bad days are going to happen.
Because the feeling of “it shouldn’t be this way” is the worst feeling in the world.
It’s a terrible feeling. Worse than the bad day.
Accepting What Happens
There’s a Buddhist story that explains this concept beautifully.
When something bad happens to you, it’s like getting shot by an arrow. It’s painful and it hurts.
But there’s something worse than being shot by an arrow. It’s getting shot by a second arrow.
That second arrow is the feeling that “this shouldn’t be happening to me.”
This feeling that you shouldn’t be having the problem actually causes you more pain.
Pain Is Inevitable; Suffering Is Optional
When you accept the situation and understand that it’s painful, but you don’t shoot that second arrow, you’re already on your road to recovering from your bad day. Removing the pain of “it shouldn’t be happening” already makes the bad day so much easier.
Practical Solutions for your Body
Okay, so now that you don’t have that second arrow in you and you can think straight, what practical things can do you to make a bad day better?
Take care of yourself physically. Even on the BUSIEST of days there are things you can do take care of yourself.
- Eating and Drinking. You can drink extra water throughout the day and eat healthily. Don’t use a bad day as an excuse to drink a pot of coffee and eat fast food. You’re already in fight-or-flight so you don’t need the caffeine to keep you going. Also, there are much healthier fast-food alternatives now that will take the same amount of time to get.
- Movement. Try to fit a walk into your day, even if it’s just a few minutes. A few minutes of walking can make all the difference! It can calm you down, stretch your body, and even help you generate some new ideas.
- Feeling Comfortable. Notice how you’re feeling. Being in “stress mode” can make you feel cold or hot. Pay attention and grab a fan or blanket so you feel better. Also, a warm cup of tea could feel divine on a bad day.
- Essential Oils. Take preventative care if you feel a headache coming on. I like to put on peppermint or frankincense, even before the headache hits, and most of the time this prevents the tension headache. It also has the side effect of brightening my mood.
Practical Solutions for your Mind
Take care of your mental state. There are so many things you can do when you’re stressed that won’t add extra time to your day, but that will help a ton with keeping you more emotionally balanced.
- Listen to music. I have a special Pandora channel for bad days. For me, I love listening to classical music when I’m stressed. If you hear Beethoven’s Ode to Joy or the 1812 overture BLASTING from my home or office, know that my day isn’t going so well, but it’s getting better.
- Meditate. On a bad day, you may feel like you have no time to meditate. However, it’s one of the most important things you can do to stay calm and to keep that second arrow from hitting you.
Here’s a Zen quote that I always think of when I feel “too busy” to meditate. ”You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
- Essential oils. These take no extra time but they can truly uplift you and help you feel calmer, more relaxed, more focused, etc.
Free Diffuser Stress-Relief Recipes
I have a free printable for you with my favorite diffuser blends for stress.
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Things I Avoid When Having a Bad Day
- Phones. If you’re depressed or upset, you may use your phone to try to find some joy. That doesn’t work for me and I’m guessing not for you, either. It adds to your stress and although it may feel like a comfort, it never seems to make things better.
If your bad day is related to overwhelm, being on your phone may make things worse. It’ll make you feel more distracted and you’ll get less done.
Create Your Own List
These suggestions are things that I found work for me and people I know. You’re different and your life is different. Think about things that work for YOU! Write it down!
The key is to prepare it BEFORE the bad day. Once you’re in stress-mode, it’s hard to think straight. Have your action plan listed and be ready to go!
My Wishes For You
I hope you feel inspired to be proactive on a bad day so it doesn’t have to bleed into your evening, the next day, the next week, or the rest of your life.
If you KNOW in advance you’ll have a bad day, plan to do some of these suggestions.
I know it sounds crazy to know in advance you’ll have a bad day, but sometimes we do know. We can be headed into a particularly busy time at work. Our kids are sick, sometimes we just KNOW!
When you know in advance, you have an advantage since you can make your lunch the day before, set up your diffuser, fill your water bottle, etc.
If you don’t know in advance, you can still do most of the tips mentioned in this article.
I’m excited for you to use some of the ideas to brighten your day. Wishing you lots of better days!