Bad days can be extremely overpowering sometimes. When we're having a bad day, everything feels wrong and the day seems to get even worse as we sink further into frustration and despair. By the end of the day, all we want to do is pull the covers up over our heads and block it all out.
When I clawed my way out of a depressive phase last year, it was a daily challenge to keep myself from falling back into that phase again. I had to go through a process of re-building my self-esteem and re-evaluating my life. But there were days when I was not very successful with these things and the negative thoughts that stayed with me for so long would interfere again.
It sort of felt like climbing up and over a steep hill and every time I let a negative or discouraging thought sink in, my foot would slip and I would roll all the way back down to the bottom of the hill and have to start all over again.
On the bad days, I would feel like it would never end and that I would always be unhappy.
To achieve mental balance, I have to make a habit of reminding myself of a few important things that I think we all tend to forget when there is a black cloud looming over our heads.
1. Do not lose sight of what truly matters. Does that clogged sink signify the end of the world? Are you going to remember or even care that the stranger you smiled at in the coffee shop didn’t smile back? When we’re having a bad day, we seem to zoom in on petty things and complain about them. Next time you’re pulling your hair out over something, ask yourself if it really matters.
2. It is okay to be alone or pull back from the world. Sometimes we just need to step back and re-evaluate a situation, a relationship, or just life in general. When I went through my healing period, I spent a lot of time alone as I tried to become my own best friend again. If you need to go into hiding for awhile and work on stitching yourself back up, take the time to do that. It is so important to pull back and spend quality time with yourself every now and then.
3. You are not always in control. You cannot predict when certain things will or should happen, or how everything will turn out. Sometimes you just have to stop pushing and let go.
4. What other people think is irrelevant. I was a miserable slave to the opinions of others. It got to a point where I was trying so hard to please everyone but myself. Don’t let your immediate reaction to criticism be to change whatever it is you’re being criticized for. Do whatever feels right to you, regardless of what other people have to say about it.
5. Don’t give up. If you’re fighting for something that means a lot to you, do not stop fighting whenever you happen to fall short. Remember why you are fighting for it.
6. You don’t have to know all the answers. No one ever has life all figured out. We are always learning and growing. Life itself is a mystery and it’s okay to feel clueless sometimes.
7. You are enough. All of us have had times in our lives where we have thought, “I’m not smart enough or pretty enough or strong enough or exciting enough to do _____.” Give yourself a chance instead of forming limiting beliefs.
8. Stay present. Try not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. Take everything one day at a time.
9. Your feelings will not kill you. I know that heartbreak, grief, depression, or resentment might make you feel like you’re dead and breathing, but you have the strength to get through whatever life throws at you. Hold on and see yourself through it.
10. You are human. This is probably the biggest reminder of them all. You will make mistakes. You will hurt other people and other people will hurt you. You won’t always feel happy and positive. Next time you feel the urge to beat yourself up over any of these things, remind yourself that you are an imperfect human being instead.