The day started like any other, I got up, thought through my day thinking it was Friday and then BAM it hit, it was Thursday. Which then put me into overdrive as I had earlier appointments than expected. Rushing to work, I stopped to grab a bagel to eat on the way. I took a bite, and it was stuck halfway down. Coughing, choking trying to get it out. My mind scrambled to figure out how to push it the rest of the way down, so I tried to take a drink, but it only made it worse because now I had liquid on top of the bagel. Next thing I knew my body was taking care of it for me and I started throwing up with nowhere for it to go as I was in the car, I tried very hard to hit the floor but ended up puking all over myself.
Pulling over to try and fix the situations did not really help as all I had were those fast-food brown napkins that seemed to make the situation worse. All this on a day when I’m running late. No way to turn around to get clean clothes. After some frantic scrubbing of my clothes in the office sink, I went into my appointments with wet pants and feeling gross.
I laugh about this day now. When I told a friend they asked how could I laugh at this? And how could I go through my day feeling like that, along with the embarrassment? Turning a bad day around is about our own reactions to it. Here are some tips to help.
Breathe. First thing to do is to give your mind the oxygen it needs to be able to think. Thinking is highly important when chaos hits. Take a few deep breathes.
Think: Determine what is in your control and what is not in your control. Then focus on what is in your control. In my situation, what was in my control was that I could try and clean up. But when the cleaning only worked to a certain extent then I had the choice to cancel appointments to return home or do my job in my current condition. For me this was an easy choice because being comfortable is a lower priority than helping someone.
Do the Next Thing: There are a couple of reactions to bad days: One is to freeze and check out for a bit. Another is to ruminate on the bad thing. Both have the potential to make the day worse. We need to have a jump start to break out of them which is focusing on the next activity you can do. For me, the next thing was turning on my computer and starting my workday. By taking action it allows our brain to relax and it releases our emotions. This is because it gives us a sense of control which starts the process of changing our thoughts spiraling down a negative hole to something more neutral.
Be Grateful: Find something in that moment to be grateful for. We manage situations better when our brains have doses of serotine and dopamine which are two critical neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions. The easiest way for our bodies to naturally make them is to names something you are grateful or thankful for in the moment. For me it was that I didn’t die from choking on a bagel.
Bad days happen to all of us. It is possible to make it through and even turn it around. If you are finding that you are having multiple bad days, we are here to help you find ways to turn them around.