Hey, friend. I just want to say how sorry I am that you’re having a bad day. Having a bad day can be so very draining in every area of life- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I hope my story of a recent bad day that I had a few months ago will help you know that you aren’t alone, and hopefully some of the tips I used will give you peace and direction on how to move forward from it.
During my Bad Day...
I was already having a pretty horrid day. A day that would make Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day look like a joyous occasion. Have you read that book?
I had a gallbladder attack the night before, so I was already exhausted before the day started.
I made bagels that morning, but noticed there was mold in the lid of the cream cheese I just slathered all over both sides.
I had a PTSD related emotional flashback at work that prevented me from working for the rest of the day. This made me feel like a failure.
I barely had the energy to lay next to my daughter in bed until she fell asleep for a nap. The wheels in my head kept turning, which didn’t allow for a nap for myself that I so desperately needed.
The record that played over and over in my mind echoed these words…
Regret. Fear. Feeling STUCK. Overwhelmed. Failure.
The fight/flight/freeze process had ravaged both my body and my day.
When I thought it was all over, my son called for me from the bathroom, and as I went to care for his needs…
My old recliner snagged and tore my brand new t-shirt that I received the day before from Etsy.
If 2020 were to be summed up in a day, it would be that day for me. As Linus from the Peanuts said, “Of all the days in the year, this was the 2020-est.” Or something like that.
To attempt to avoid going down the rabbit hole of chaos anymore, I tried to implement these steps. I hope they can help you, too, friend. Get cozy, and let’s get started.
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1. Give yourself permission to feel about the bad day
This is the most important tip, friend. Feelings about situations aren’t ever bad or good- they just are. Please don’t shame yourself for feeling any sort of feeling during a bad day.
An example of this would be when you or someone says something to the effect of… “I shouldn’t be feeling this way…” or “I should be feeling this way, but I don’t.”
Friend. As I like to say in therapy to my clients, don’t should on yourself. Allow the feelings in a safe space. You deserve to, friend. Your feelings are valid.
2. Give whatever feeling you experience a voice
Help yourself figure out what exactly you are feeling and give those different feelings and parts of you a voice. Literally speak them out. Yell them if you have to.
You can do this either out loud with a trusted person, or alone where no one can hear you. You can also write these thoughts and feelings down in a notebook if you’re more inclined to do so. Drawing pictures also can help, due to it triggering different parts of your brain than writing and verbal processing.
3. Give yourself Grace
Grace upon Grace. Always.
You may be feeling one hundred different feelings at once. Alternatively, you may be feeling nothing at all. Friend, any of those is okay. Allow yourself to do whatever it is you need to do to to get to a better place.
If you need to take some time to be alone, do it. Maybe you need to take a day off of work to work through what’s going on. Talk with someone safe at work about it and see what your options are. If you would recommend a friend to do this, why not offer yourself the same grace?
As long as you aren’t hurting yourself or anyone else, allow yourself permission and grace to do whatever it is you need to do to cope with the bad day. And try to be okay with it.
4. When you're ready, and if applicable, find the silver lining, new opportunity, etc. that the bad day may have allowed for
If the situation allows for it, and when you are ready, allow yourself to examine whether there were any silver linings that came out of the situation.
Being ready is super important, as jumping the gun to try and silver line our experiences can lead to us feeling invalidated by ourselves. This can lead to unworked through feelings, resentment, and blame.
Also recognizing that some situations do not have silver linings is important. Don’t run yourself into the ground trying to find something about your bad day that could have somehow been beneficial.
Sometimes, some days just plain stink. It is what it is.
There weren’t silver linings for a lot of the things that happened to me that day. At least, none that I realized that day.
The trigger led me on a journey to continue to heal myself of trauma that I have experienced in the past, which I am still currently working on.
Maybe you are in that place as well, friend. Where a bad day has ravaged your very being and you know that past experiences that you may not have dealt with. This can lead to a new or renewed journey of healing, which can be a silver lining in and of itself.
I did find an ironic “silver lining” in my ripped shirt. It says “Perfectly Imperfect.” How fitting. I’ll choose to wear my ripped shirt with pride. I could use it as a metaphor for this awful day should anyone point it out.
5. Remove the easiest to remove "forks" first
When I say “forks,” I mean anything from tiny annoyances that quickly add up to larger issues that may take several days to resolve.
Have you heard the expression “Stick a fork in me, I’m done?” Yeah, we all end up “done” after however many forks we can endure for that specific day.
Friend, take a moment and slow down for a second. Most situations of bad days aren’t life or death, though some are. This post specifically addresses your average bad day that assumes you aren’t in danger.
Are you hungry? When is the last time you had a glass of water? Are you currently hurting or emotionally flashing back to a time and space where you were unsafe? How tired or lonely are you feeling?
Seriously, friend. The world can wait. Sometimes just finding the easiest problem to solve that’s contributing to the situation can help tremendously.
6. Remember that a bad day won't last forever
Feelings are not permanent. They come and they go. And this bad day will end. I promise, friend.
Thankfully, days only last 24 hours. Sometimes, a good ear to listen and sleep is all we need to put ourselves back into a right frame of mind.
However, if you are noticing that you are experiencing bad days for most days for more than 2 weeks in a row without an identifiable trigger such as grief, there is a possibility you could be experiencing a mood disorder, such as Major Depressive Disorder.
This is what happened to me after this bad day occurred. I most certainly hope that this isn’t the case with you. Even if it is, all hope is not lost.
If this is the case, contact your doctor and discuss your symptoms with them regarding the length of the bad days. You may be able to receive a referral for therapy or a prescription for medications for additional help.
7. Reach out for Support
Our pain is better healed in relationships that are empathetic and healthy. Find someone who will listen to you and allow you to express those feelings judgement-free.
Let people love on you in your pain.
If you don’t feel like you have real life support in your life at this moment, don’t worry. Scripted technology like video game characters (read: Animal Crossing-check out how I’ve used gaming for my mental health here!) or internet chat platforms like a depression subReddit can act as a loving voice to allow you what you need.
I sure hope that you found something helpful on your bad day to lean on. Bad days can make our insides and outsides feel straight up chaotic.
What has been helpful to you before on your bad days? I would love to hear any tips and tricks from you in the comments.
Thank you so very much for being with me today. I hope you found something helpful from our visit. As always, it was great to be with you. Until we meet again, friend.