Bad days are going to happen. A bad day means something different to every person. It’s difficult to compare because everybody’s situation is different. But a universal truth of life is that everybody goes through days when life is just not going their way.
These days can be overwhelming. And it seems they kind of come in these big waves. One thing happens that makes the day take a turn for the worse. Then you’re kind of on edge just waiting for the next thing to happen. And then it does happen and it can feel like this weight keeps pushing down on your shoulders.
You can’t think straight. It causes panic and anxiety. It steals your concentration. It steals your love and attention.
It’s difficult to turn a bad day into a good day. But what if you could try to turn it into just an okay day?
1. Show Someone That You Care
It’s difficult to feel bad about life when you make someone smile. The tricky thing with this one is that you have a million options for how you can make someone feel good. Try to pick one that you can do today. And really focus on what the other person would want and what would make them feel good.
The Golden Rule is not quite accurate. Treating others as you want to be treated is a good start. But treating someone as they want to be treated is even better.
Your mother would probably love to have a conversation with you today. Call her. Your child would probably love if you took the afternoon off work and spent time with them. Your spouse would probably love if prepared a special dinner for that night. Your friend would probably love if you called and discussed their new job or new house or new car.
2. Walk Outdoors Without Your Phone
Outdoors has a calming nature. I don’t know the physiology of it, but obviously humans are drawn to nature. It’s difficult to feel entirely bad about life when you walk amongst the trees, the birds and the other wildlife that inhabits this planet.
I would also encourage you to leave your phone at home or the office. Just walk. No distractions other than the world around you and your own thoughts. And that’s probably the biggest benefit. I sense that it’s easier to pick the phone up these days than it is to take time to reflect on what is happening. It’s good to think through any bad occurrences. Usually you work your way to the point where you have a solution or the bad thing doesn’t seem all that bad.
3. Workout Alone
Working out can have a similar effect to walking. You can exert some energy. You’re doing something positive with that energy by working on your body. You can even sweat some bad things out of your body. It’s a good way to use anger and frustration for something positive.
I encourage you to do this one alone so you can save some mental energy for thinking through what is going on. Again, this is a good thing. It might get you riled up. If you sense that happening then focus on the workout instead for a bit. See if you can ease tension and come back with a fresher mind.
4. Plan A Low Key Event With A Friend Or Loved One
Some of the best times of my life are the most simple. After a long day of work, for whatever reason, I might see if I can cut out early and start a bonfire. Maybe have a beer and invite a friend over. Just for an hour or two. Sit and have that beer, watch the fire and maybe chat a little. About life. About sports. About whatever. Not necessarily the issues going on in the world. Just conversation about things you’re both thinking about.
Listening. Being listened to. Chatting about the past, the present and the future.
I think the low key aspect of this is important. You are probably feeling a bit drained from the events of the bad day. Maybe you already did that workout or went for that long walk. Now it can be good to relax a bit and just enjoy a simple setting with someone that knows you well.
5. Remember The Last Good Run
Life goes in these cycles. Three bad things will happen. Then it will turn around and three good things will happen. In those good times it can feel like you’re on top of the world. But during those down times you start wondering if something good will ever happen again.
I find that it’s helpful to take a moment to reflect on the last good run. Or maybe just a recent good run. Just to remind yourself of what that feeling is like and usually you start feeling optimistic about the future again.
It can also be good to think about the last bad run. Usually you realize that you got through it. It was stress and bad, but maybe in hindsight it doesn’t seem that bad.
Bad days are no fun. No matter how much you try to turn them around sometimes things will just continue to go bad for some reason. So you don’t want to try too hard to create an amazing day out of something bad. Instead, I find it’s good to kind of get away from something. Most bad days aren’t urgent. You can walk away for a bit and find a way to slow things down and maybe do some contemplating.
I find it’s okay to try to have an okay day.