How to Get Through A Bad Day

It happens to all of us. You wake up, everything feels “off”, and that blah mood seems to follow you wherever you go. You don’t feel like working or doing much of anything and would like nothing more than to binge a Netflix show and nap all day. Those negative feelings can get us down – we’ve all been there – but when you stay in the present moment and do the work, you can turn things around, or at the very least, find some peace. Here’s how to get through a bad day (or week). And here’s how to feel better today.

How to Get Through A Bad Day

I not a life coach, but I am someone who has been through some pretty serious trauma and through therapy, I’ve worked hard at processing grief, and have had to learn to stay in the present moment on the hardest of days. Here are some of the things I do when I’m trying to get through a blah day.

1. Take the time to get ready for the day

This might sound superficial but hear me out. It’s so easy to skip putting time into your appearance when you’re not feeling it. You throw your hair up and don’t really apply makeup, and throw on workout clothes (that’s me so much of the time). But there’s nothing quite like a warm shower to help you feel refreshed in the morning. If you don’t already have one, find a body wash that feels and smells amazing. I love Cowshed Grumpy Cow and Fresh Citron de Vigne.

I’ve found that taking the time to wave my hair, applying some foundation (this stuff is the best) and eyeliner (that’s about as much makeup as I ever put on), and putting on my favorite jeans always makes me feel a little better about myself. This won’t solve all your problems, but it does help.

2. Have some perspective

This isn’t always easy but it’s so, so important. It’s ok to let yourself feel down – I’m all for taking time to feel angry, sad, or even a little bitter for a day or two. But give yourself a time limit. I had a really stressful day a few weeks ago and gave myself the day to feel annoyed, but told myself I was going to let it go when I work up the following morning.

Before you go back to those negative thoughts, take a moment to remind yourself of all the good things in your life. Here’s something I applied to my life recently. Margot has been fighting almost every single nap and bedtime (I’m talking 1-2 hours of fussiness/crying at least 3-4x a day) the last week, and it has been exhausting. So I’ll remind both myself and Conor that this will pass. She’s so happy when she’s awake, we’re all healthy, and we’re lucky to have family and friends nearby, careers that are going well, and a home to keep us warm when it’s freezing outside. 

3. Take a break

So many of us end up powering through the day, but actually walking away from your computer/work and using your lunch break to slow down can turn things around. Sit with yourself, a friend, or a good book, and relax for 20-30 minutes. Practice deep breathing or a moment of silence, and at the very least, put your phone away. It’s not only ok to take a break, but it’s important, better for productivity, and better for you.

4. Give yourself what you need

You’re either someone who needs to do nothing after work, or someone who thrives on checking things off your to-do list. Someone who needs time to yourself to process, or one of those people who wants to talk through it. I usually feel better when I get things done, and depending on what I’m going through, need time to myself, or to talk to a close friend who will empathize.

When I’m having an especially rough day, I usually focus on work and organization – two big distractions that both end with a positive outcome.  Other times, I just need to sit down with a glass of wine and a feel-good TV show or book. The point here is to do whatever it is that will make you feel a little better.

Try journaling. Putting those thoughts and feelings into words can be so helpful. Maybe it’s writing or talking to a friend, or cozying up with a new (or old favorite) show. It’s ok to do whatever you need to do to get through it. 

5. Take care of yourself

I know the feeling of needing a chocolate chip sea salt cookie or wanting to order your favorite take-out and I’m all for that, but balance that out with nutrients that will fuel you and make you feel healthy and/or a workout. Feed yourself healthy food that will make you feel good, drink plenty of water, and take care of yourself. It isn’t always easy to get a workout in when you’re feeling down, but if you can find the energy, it will make you feel better.

6. Stay off social media

There’s something about looking through a bunch of beautiful, curated photos and endless happy moments when you’re having a bad day. It leaves you feeling worse than ever – so stay off social media. I’m all for regular social media breaks throughout the week when things are good. All the “connecting” has left us even more disconnected. Set times where you don’t touch your phone, and try to do at least one social media free day each week. It’s been so good to unplug, especially with what I do, and even more so when you’re just not feeling like yourself. 

7. Treat yourself

Whether it’s ordering your favorite take-out or latte, picking up fresh flowers, or going to a yoga class, do something that will make you happy. Also on my list: watching my go-to happy place movie (Father of the Bride or Something’s Gotta Give) or making plans to spend time with a friend who is sure to cheer me up. Bonus: having something to look forward to and the end of the day is likely to help you get through the day.

8. Do something good

This is a big one, and I swear it works. Send an email or friendly text to someone. Make a donation to a cause that’s near and dear to your heart. If I’m in a bad mood, I can’t not feel a little better after making a donation to childhood cancer research, or reaching out to a friend who I know is going through something.