Have you ever had a bad day? A miserable week? A slump? The blues? Yeah, me too. Most of the time I am fine just to wake up and do another day, but sometimes I get down in the dumps and have a hard time shaking it off. When I’m in the middle of it, I can’t always remember what I did before to shake it off, or what I can do to feel better. So I made this list as something I can come back to when I need the reminder of how to shake off that miserable day.
The First Step is Always to Pray
“Jesus, I don’t like feeling like this! I need your help. Give me your wisdom. I want joy and peace in my life.” It doesn’t matter what you pray, just invite him to guide you through the process of figuring out what’s wrong and how to fix it.
Can You Identify the Root?
If you know what is at the bottom of your feeling rotten, can you do anything to fix it? Maybe an apology will set things right? I too often take on the mood of the people around me – once I realize that’s what I’m doing, it is easier to let it slide off me. Checking the calendar is sometimes a good clue, too – I know lots of people who have no idea PMS affects them until they look at the dates… If you can’t figure it out, then make the decision to quit dwelling on your negative feelings and instead commit to work to find joy again.
Refuse the Lie; Review the Truth
So often a miserable day is accompanied by negative thoughts about ourselves. Listen to what you are telling yourself. Is it true? Instead of allowing yourself to feel useless or less than or not good enough, refuse to accept those lies. The truth is that you were made by a loving God who created you the way you are on purpose. He gave you skills and talents and the ability to do hard stuff. His desire is for you to live with joy and peace no matter what the situation around you. That means there is a way for that to happen. You do have the power to change your thinking, and when you do that, you control how you feel.
Stuff You Can Actually DO
Seriously, this can actually help in just a few minutes. Stop what you’re doing and take in a deep breath. Hold it. Let it out slowly, all of it. A good belly breath is 4 counts in, hold for 7, let it out for 8. It does wonders to calm you and regulate your heart rate; it also gives you extra oxygen and clears out the stale air from the bottom of your lungs. Perhaps best of all, it signals your brain that you are ready to start anew. You are better able to decide how you want to think and feel.
Drink a glass of water
Great for your health, something we all need more of, and it feels good to know you are doing something good for yourself. Dehydration can make you feel lousy. This may be all you need to clear your head and snap out of your funk.
I know we can’t all drop what we’re doing to get to the gym or pop in a workout video, but we can all get up and stretch. Get your body moving somehow – go up and down the stairs a few times, have a dance party with your toddler, find a pick me up workout on Pinterest or use an app to do a 10 minute workout. It helps.
Check something off
Have a look at your to do list – is there something you can tackle in the next few minutes? Checking off something that needs to get done can be very satisfying, especially if part of your miserable day is feeling overwhelmed at all you have to do.
Ask for a hug
Physical contact can do wonders. You don’t need to share how you’re feeling if you don’t want – just let that tension melt away. If you have little ones that are driving you bonkers, asking one of them for a (nice, gentle) hug goes a long way towards softening your heart to them, too.
Writing out your thoughts can help you sort through them and see things in the right perspective. Then it’s easier to take the right next steps.
Do something for you
Read a book. Have a bath. Get crafty. Changing what you are thinking about and investing in yourself does wonders.
Get out into nature
It’s uplifting and refreshing. If you go for a walk, you’re getting in some exercise, too!
Call a friend / sister
Not necessarily to talk about your troubles, although the ones who know you best would often be good ones to offer decent solutions. Just making that connection reminds you that you are cared for and appreciated.
If you find it’s the same situation that sends you into a bad mood, be prepared for next time. Last year I had trouble reacting well to my then 4 year old’s behavior. (He was acting like a four year old…) Once I found this phrase somewhere “Don’t add to the chaos – bring the calm,” I had a tool to help myself not overreact, and instead help him find a way out of the crisis, and avoid falling into this pit of “I can’t do this! I”m a bad mother…” Find a phrase or verse that can be a tool for you, and use it.
I hope you never have a miserable day. If you do, I hope you can shake it off fast and get back to living with the joy and peace that God wants for you. What would you add to this list? What works for you?