We’ve all had that day that seems to keep getting worse. Whether it’s getting stuck in traffic, waking up to a sick child, or workplace stress and conflict, there are a myriad of ways that a bad day can start off. Sometimes, it may feel like you should just go back to bed and try again tomorrow, but that isn’t usually a feasible option. Luckily, there are some tried and true ways to improve your mood and day that involve caring for yourself (and others). Keep reading below to find out about some of the ones that work best for me and those I know.
This one is the closest to the ‘go back to bed’ option. Rather than totally giving up on the day though, it involves ‘restarting’ or ‘resetting’ a specific moment of your day. Did you get up on the wrong side of bed this morning? Take a deep breath and resolve to start over by getting out of bed on the right foot this time. It may sound silly, but I can attest that this works; this is the tactic that my mother consistently used as a parenting strategy. When you consciously take a step back and decide to try again, it’s amazing how much better the day can get. The same strategy can work in the middle of the day just as well. Just start the activity or task you were working on over again and decide to have a fresh start.
Accept and deal with your mood rather than obsessing over it.
Okay, so this sounds obvious, but sometimes we spend a lot of mental energy being worried about being in a bad mood rather than just accepting that we are. (It’s kind of like when you can’t go to sleep but you stress yourself out so much about not being able to sleep that you just prolong the sleeplessness.) Going along with this, accept that you will have good and bad days. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t work to improve those bad days, but knowing that everybody has bad days and that these feelings are normal can go a long way in moving forward.
If you enjoy expressing your feelings over writing, journaling can also help you keep track of which days were good and which were bad. In most cases, I think you’ll find that your good or neutral days far exceed the bad which can help improve your response to the occasional bad day.
Let yourself wallow for 10 minutes.
Maybe something really big or upsetting has just happened. Or maybe you just can’t seem to shake the irritability that you’re feeling at a microaggression from a coworker. Sometimes, the healthy option is to let yourself wallow in your feelings for a specific period of time, at which point you move on. For me, 10 minutes is a healthy amount of time to cry, rant, or just wallow before carrying on with my day. Don’t underestimate the power of giving yourself a few minutes to deal with your emotions rather than pushing them to the side continuously and allowing them to build up to a breaking point.
Do something kind for someone else.
While taking time for yourself is important, sometimes it helps to get out of your head and into a practical action that brightens someone else’s day. Don’t overthink helping others; it doesn’t have to be some grandiose action. Instead, look for a way to make a simple but significant difference in someone’s day. Maybe you could take out the trash for your roommates or help a coworker carry their things in when their hands are full. A note of gratitude for someone who is always there for you or a phone call to your grandma works too! Helping others is scientifically proven to improve our moods and make us happier so give it a try!
Take a break from your phone.
When you’re in a bad mood, it can be tempting to drown your sorrows in endless scrolling through social media as a sort of consolation prize. However, that can actually make you feel worse. Social media and the news app can often be a source of stress rather than inspiration and taking a break from your screen time gives you time to relax and be present in the real world. If you’re in a bad mood, think about putting the phone down and trying some of the other tips listed instead.
Do some deep cleaning.
This may not work for everyone, but doing some deep house cleaning can help you work out your emotions and be productive while doing so! After all, you can release a lot of anger with some elbow grease and the house or apartment can always use some cleaning.
Get out of your head.
It’s hard to break out of a funk if you don’t change your surroundings or company. Therefore, if it’s at all possible, change your setting! This could look like going to a coffee shop, migrating outside, or even just calling someone on the phone to shake things up. While you won’t always have the flexibility to casually change locations on a dime, if you do have this opportunity, take advantage of it!
Depending on your personality, being around people may hurt or help your mood. Personally, being around people lifts my mood as I get out of my head and come back down to earth, but for others, being alone is where they process and move out of a bad mood. Either way, changing your environment is an important step as it breaks you out of a stagnant cycle of sitting in one place feeling angry, sad, or annoyed.
Listen to some upbeat music.
Studies have shown that listening to music can lift your mood. Happier, more upbeat tunes have the best effect but some believe that even sad music can help you work through your emotions and improve your mood. So, queue up that spotify playlist and get to improving your day!
Move your body.
This is a good suggestion for pretty much any issue as well as an important part of self-care. Moving your body whether through a dance party to some of that music you just cranked up, taking a stretch break, or even going on a run releases endorphins that can improve your mood. Even if you are in a setting where moving around extensively isn’t possible, you can do some small stretches from your seat or take a bathroom break to get the blood flowing.
Immerse yourself in one of your hobbies.
Whether your hobby is reading, cooking, or woodworking, doing it when you feel bad can help improve a bad day. First of all, it’s presumably something you enjoy, and secondly, many hobbies are tangible activities that require both mental and physical focus - something that can help immerse you in the activity rather than dwelling on your mood.
So, in conclusion, remember: bad days happen. To everybody. The important thing is to not obsess over it. Things will get better. Don’t lose sight of the big picture and employ some of these tips to hopefully improve your day even faster than normal.
Picture courtesy of Pexels Pexels