How to Turn Around a Bad DayAug 03, 2020
Last week I flopped hard on a call.
We had just gotten back the night before from a 5-day vacation with Bo at the beach; so much fun and so much work. If you’ve ever traveled with an 8-month old, you know what I mean. I hadn’t worked all week so I was feeling a bit behind. That Thursday morning at 6am the sitter called out for the rest of the week. Hallllp.
I was so exhausted.
I was honestly borderline devastated that she couldn’t come. I cried in my bed for a few minutes. I was pissed at how tired I was. I was pissed Bo was teething. I was pissed we don’t live near family. I felt so stinking alone. So I cancelled all calls except my group coaching call for Made 4 More and told the women in the group the call would be 60-min instead of our usual 2 hours. Most of them are moms so they get it.
But then when I showed up for the call, I fell flat.
I wasn’t my usual spontaneous, funny, energetic and inspiring self. If anything I probably came off as annoyed. Because honestly, I was. I was pissed at my circumstances. I wanted the day to be over.
An older version of me would have felt immense guilt.
I would have apologized profusely after the call. I would have thought the whole day was a wash. I would have felt embarrassed to see the women again and talk to them. I might have even offered to give them money back or add in an extra call. (girl, byyyye)
And although I will not stand here and tell you I turned the day around into a magical experience of pure bliss and joy, I do want to share a few things you can do to turn a crappy day around AND avoid unreasonable things like profusely apologizing, avoiding folx and offering refunds.
Step 1: Pinpoint the Problem
Before you can “fix” anything you need to get real with your feelings. Feel the feelings, friend. Get specific about what’s wrong and be aware of early warning signs that your resilience is dwindling. In my example, crying over the babysitter cancelling was an early warning sign that my resilience was already pretty low.
Example: Instead of saying, “I feel awful today,” be specific and say “I’m upset because I feel behind after coming back from vacation and now the babysitter isn’t available,”. Having a concrete reason for your unhappiness helps you be present with it and honor the feeling.
Step 2: Find Some Gratitude
One of the simplest ways to turn your day around is to focus on what you’re grateful for. I know, I know, sounds cheesy, but neuroimaging studies have shown that it’s almost impossible to be in a state of gratitude and misery at the same time.
Example: As soon as you start to feel yourself downward spiraling, stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself: What are three good things going on in my life right now? Write them down and then share them with someone or say them outloud.
Step 3: Take Action
After you feel the hard feelings and find some gratitude, decide one small action you can take to feel better. This can be so small. You don’t need to move mountains today. What’s one small action that would make you feel better?
Example: Send the email you’ve been dreading to send, move your body, nourish your belly, get some fresh air. What’s important is your brain records a “victory”. And bonus tip here, this works even better if your action somehow benefits someone outside of you. Maybe you take a second to compliment your peer or give your partner a hug or take your dog to the dog park to play.
Step 4: Change Your Scenery
It can feel really easy to hunker down at your desk or not leave your house when you’re having a bad day, but changing up your routine can signal to your brain that what you’re currently experiencing isn’t all that’s out there. The key here is to put yourself somewhere different.
Example: After my phone call, I popped my headphones in and put the baby in the stroller to go for a walk. I turned on one of my favorite podcasts, Code Switch, and listened to an amazing story about the editor finding out her true genealogy. It took me so far away from what I was currently experiencing and reminding me other people are having lived experiences too.
Take a drive, go for a walk, take your computer to a coffee shop, go eat lunch in the park, read a story about someone helping someone, listen to a breathing meditation, change your environment.
Step 5: Come Back to Realistic Expectations
Often hard days happen because our expectations fail to be met. My expectations were that I would have support that day, that my sweet babe would sleep, and that I would get all my calls done and feel good about them. It’s important to learn how to rewrite expectations if your circumstances change.
Example: When I learned that the babysitter had cancelled it helped me to readjust my expectations for the day, to know my calls might feel rushed or chaotic and to let the participants know ahead of time that things had changed.
Another way to rewrite your internal dialog is to write down a few things you’ve already accomplished. You took a shower, you went for a walk with your kiddo, you wrote out your to-do list. Next, make a very short and doable list for the rest of the day. No more than 2-3 things. Tell yourself that accomplishing this short list will be a huge victory for the day.
Step 6: Reflect
When we have shitty days, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on what happened before we say sayonara. By taking time to reflect, either through journaling or with a trusted human, you can learn what your triggers are and start to put systems, tools and boundaries in place to support you.
Example: For me, I need to get a back-up babysitter. I need to have more on-call support available and during COVID this is tough, but still doable. I need to continue to be honest about my feelings and make sure I’m doing things throughout the day to fill up my cup so I don’t get depleted.
Get as precise as possible about what helps you turn your bad day around so you can replicate it in the future. Is it a call with a buddy or a walk alone in the woods? Make a list of what strategies work best for you so you can easily lean on them in the future.
Think about whether there is something bigger going on either in your relationships or career and does it need to be addressed? Are there larger, more impactful actions you need to take?
Please know I’m always here to support you as you navigate these spaces. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your business, career or relationships, consider booking a free discovery call and we can chat about some specific strategies for you. Hang in there, friend, and remember you have options and you are in control.
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