Life and Other Things

A Very Bad Day

I had a very bad day today.

Today was a day where it felt like the universe was crumbling as I stood there and watched. Today was a day where I felt alone.

Today was one of those days that you don’t want to talk about. But as we know, not all days can be good days.

And we will be okay. And if we don’t feel okay, we at least deserve to know that we are not alone.

But I am ready to feel better, so here’s what we do:

Step one: Realize that these feelings are temporary.

Whether it’s one bad day, or a string of never-ending bad days – know that these feelings will go away. Remember that the sun will rise tomorrow. And the next day. This means that you have infinite chance to try again.

The hardest part is realizing that there are some things that are simply out of your control. You can’t always predict the way a situation will turn out, or how someone will react, or what will happen next. This is a big problem when you’re a control freak like me. But try to remember that the only things you can control are yourself and your reactions to the things that happen. Everything else will fall into place.

Step two: Talk to your person.

Whether it’s your best friend, significant other, or your parent – reach out to them. Don’t think that you have to try to deal with these feelings by yourself. You are not a burden. Remember that your people love you. They want you to be okay. Rant to them. Complain to them. Cry to them. Keep talking until you start to feel better.

Your person will remind you that you are loved, and important, and that you are not actually alone despite how this terrible day makes you feel. Remember that you would do the same for them, and they know this.

Step three: Be kind to yourself.

Write. Listen to music. Take a shower. Draw. Light a candle. Dance. Go to Chipotle. Read a book. Watch a movie. Bake cookies. Do something that will help distract you from your very bad day and give you a chance to calm down.

Treat yourself with the same gentleness that you would treat your best friend if they were having a very bad day.

For whatever reason, I feel like my writing is better when I’m feeling sad. These are the days when I write the most stories and songs. So take all those feelings you have, and put them into something better. This is what we’re going to call constructive sadness. If you can’t get rid of these feelings, you might as well put them to good use, right?

Step four: Cross something off your to-do list.

Start small. Do the dishes. Wash your clothes. Clear off the clutter on your desk. Cleaning is my favourite distraction on a bad day. At the very least, this will get your mind off of the very-bad-day thoughts and onto something productive.

This will help take some stress off of you knowing you have one less thing to worry about.

If that doesn’t help: put a blanket in the dryer and then wrap yourself in a blanket burrito. It works.

Step five: Find something to look forward to.

Countdowns are the best way for me to remind myself that better days are coming.

Think of anything and everything you have in the next few months, and remember that they will be good days.

It can be a holiday, a birthday, or something even smaller, like the fact that your mom is making tacos for dinner on Tuesday. If you don’t have something big to look forward to, you might just have to create something. Do you have a friend-aversary coming up? Someone’s half-birthday?

No? Well in that case, here’s a list of extra holidays that you can celebrate. Apparently November 19th is National “Have a Bad Day” Day. Which sounds like the perfect day to have a Pity Party. So, that’s something.

If all of those steps don’t work: I make a list of things to be happy about. On the really bad days, the list tends to be very short. But all you really need is one good thing to keep going. So here’s my list of good things today:

  • Today is Saturday and on Sunday I get to sleep in
  • I have mint chocolate chip ice cream in my freezer and ice cream is extra good when you are feeling extra sad
  • There are only 9 more Mondays until Christmas
  • My friend is coming from New Zealand to visit me for my birthday and he will be here in 20 days (!!!)
  • All my dishes are clean
  • I have friends who care about me
  • Tomorrow is a new day

Important things to remember:

– These steps may not work right away, and they may not work they way you want them to, but the point is that you try.

– Every single person you know has bad days, or a bad week, or a bad month. Being happy all the time is not realistic. No matter how perfect someone’s life may seem on Instagram, odds are they’re struggling too.

– You are not alone. You have friends who care about your well being. Maybe they’re far away and maybe they don’t answer your texts right away, but they still care.

– It’s okay to not be okay for a little while. It’s okay to have a few bad days. The point is that you make an effort. You stay close to your people. You keep going.

And if all else fails, we’ll try again tomorrow.

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