Sometimes a day can just feel challenging. You’re tired, have what feels like a hundred things to do, didn’t sleep well, have a pain in your knee, forgot your aunt Mary’s birthday, the kids are screaming, you get a flat tire, run late for every appointment and eat far too many chocolate bars to keep you going.
We’ve all experienced many of those days when life just feels like hard work. A day (or more) you just want to write off and forget about.
While the heaviness of these days can feel all-consuming, there are some helpful ways to turn your day around, no matter how crappy it is.
1. Pause and breathe.
It sounds simple, and it is, but stopping whatever you are doing when the going gets rough and simply centering yourself by focusing only on your breath can make a dramatic difference in your stress level. Take two minutes, longer if possible, to breathe in through your nose for four counts, then out through your mouth for four counts. Repeat this until you feel calmer, clearer and ready to jump back into your day with more focus. This alone can help a crappy day feel far easier.
2. Practice a morning ritual.
I’ve written about the value of having a morning ritual before here. I very much doubt you plan to have a crappy day, it just becomes that way as things get busier, or there is an expected turn of events, and/or you choose to respond to something in a way that doesn’t support you in feeling happy and calm.
One of the best ways to set yourself up to respond calmly and with positivity to whatever may occur in your day, is to create and practice a morning ritual so that before your day can become too crappy you have already invested time and intention into serving your own highest good. This will pave the way for a smoother day.
3. Choose your response.
Things won’t always go to plan. As frustrating as it might be, you can’t always be in control of everything that happens around you. What you can control, however, is your response to what happens around you. You can choose your emotional response and your thoughts in any moment. When your day is feeling crappy, remind yourself you are fully empowered to shift your emotion or thought and then pick the response that will serve you best.
4. Don’t over schedule or over commit.
One of the quickest ways to get yourself into a tizzy is to over schedule and over commit. You’ll feel stressed and behind before you even get your day started. Be realistic with what you can achieve in one day and then schedule accordingly. Not sure how much you can do without feeling over stretched? Start marking down what you do achieve in your day and over the course of a few weeks you will see whether you are spot on or could scale your commitments up or down.
5. Prepare to nourish yourself.
This applies on all levels – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually – but here I am referring to your physical nourishment from food and drink. It’s very challenging to remain calm and centered when you are running on processed foods, refined sugars and starches, an excess of acidic foods and/or are dehydrated. What you consume has a direct impact on how balanced and happy you feel so take the time each day, or the day before, to prepare nourishing, nutritious foods that you can easily grab and go or whip into a quick healthy meal at home. If your day turns crappy, you’ll at least be nourished and in a better state to choose your response.
6. Be grateful and take the lessons.
Even when your day feels completely overwhelming or emotional, there is always something that can be learned from your experience. Perhaps it is to get up a little earlier on your busy days, pack the kids lunches the night before, to not over commit or to really appreciate the generosity of others.
Likewise, there is always something to be grateful for despite how unhappy or stressed out you may feel. How about your warm bed, comfy socks and tea waiting for you at home, the smile from a stranger, the sun shining, being alive. When your day feels heavy, take a one minute mental break to list out some of the things you are grateful for in the moment. You will feel instantly more energized.