Having a Bad Day? Here’s How to Start Over
Turn terrible days around with these simple strategies
Some days, you wake up and feel ready to have an amazing day. But a number of forces might conspire against you, turning what could have been terrific day into a terrible one. You might not accomplish the things you had hoped to do by a certain point in the day, you might be dealing with strong cravings, or it might seem as though everyone is against you. While there’s no magical “reset” button you can push to start your day over again, there are several things you can do turn a bad day into a good one.
Take a Walk
Taking a walk when your day is off to a rough start does two things. First, it gives you some distance from whatever it is that is dragging your day down, whether it’s a co-worker who’s on your case, a family member who’s being overly critical, or a craving that you are having trouble shaking. Second, taking a walk can give your energy level a boost so that you feel a bit more prepared to handle the rest of the day.
Your walk can also be a type of mini-meditation, particularly if you are outside or in a scenic area. Use your walk as an opportunity to really notice the things surrounding you. Focusing on the things around you will help you take your mind off of what’s going wrong with your day.
Take a Few Deep Breaths
When everything seems to go wrong and the stress of your day is mounting, pausing to take a few breaths or to really focus on your breathing can help you reset. According to Time magazine, a study at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who practiced focused breathing and meditation for 25 minutes a day for 3 days were both less stressed out and better able to manage stress.
If you don’t have time for a full 25 minutes of meditation, try inhaling and exhaling slowly with your eyes closed for just a few minutes before you resume your day. You can also try working through a few restorative yoga poses to help you better relax and to help you get a better handle on the day. Restful yoga poses include child’s pose (during which you kneel on the floor and extend your torso out in front of you) and legs up the wall (which involves lying on your back on the floor near a wall, then placing your legs vertically against the wall).
Eat a Good Meal
Your diet can play a big role in determining the outcome of your day. When things are going downhill, it can be easy to decide to eat in a way that matches your mood. But eating sugary snacks or foods that don’t have much nutritional value can make a bad day worse, as they can make your mood more unstable or lead to overeating and indigestion. Taking the time to prepare and enjoy a healthy, nutritious meal can help you get your day back on track. If you need inspiration, you can find plenty of recipes on our blog.
Make a List or Plan for the Rest of the Day
Your day might not have gotten off to a good start, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the day can’t go well. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish today or map out a plan for what you’ll do to be productive or to feel accomplished for the rest of the day. To give yourself a boost and to make it feel as though you’re turning your day around quickly, put a few simple to-do items on your day’s list. For example, you can put “call a friend” or “fold laundry” on your list along with a few bigger projects.
Find One Good Thing about Your Day
When everything seems to be wrong, it can be easy to focus completely on the bad and ignore the small good things that happened today. One way to reset your day is to adjust the way you’re thinking about it. Instead of zeroing in on what went wrong so far, find at least one thing that’s gone right, even if it’s a small thing, such as getting up on time and not pressing snooze or enjoying your breakfast on a sunny patio.
Bad days happen to everyone from time to time. How you handle them and whether you’re able to turn a bad day around can determine not just how one day goes, but how well you’re able to keep focusing on your goals.