Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound from It
So today didn’t turn out as you planned. But it doesn’t mean you’re weak to have a bad day or to struggle. It simply means that you’re human, and you’re not bad just because your day was bad.
“Not everyday is a good day but there is something good in every day.” — Alice Morse Earle
It’s not the end of the world when you have a bad day, but it can feel like it. You may have had plans that fell apart, experiences that set you back, and interactions that only did harm.
You may have started the day thinking you could take on it all, only to find you could hardly get out of bed. When you have a bad day, you can forget to look at the good.
A few things can also come to your mind:
“I am not good enough.”
“This day represents my life.”
“Things will not get better.”
These self-defeating and limiting, negative thoughts only worsen your bad day. And they are not true! The bad things that happen do not define you. It is not all there is to you.
Sometimes, self-care helps us to remember why we are worth it. It helps us to recharge and reset our mindset. It helps us to know that there are still options and that the day isn’t over yet.
When you indulge in self-care, you positively affect your mental health so that you see things more clearly. Your thoughts of not thinking you’re good enough turns into “I am worth everything.”
Self-care leads to self LOVE.
Love yourself today, no matter how hard it’s been. That’s the way to find yourself amidst the hardships you have. That’s how you centre yourself and regain focus and live a more meaningful life. Give yourself some credit and compassion.
Here are 7 ways to rebound from a bad day using self-compassion as a tool. If you had a bad day, these are for you!
1. Make a Gratitude List
On a study on gratitude, psychologists Dr. Robert A Emmons and Dr Michael E. McCullough conducted an experiment where one group of people wrote out gratitude lists for ten weeks while another group wrote about irritations. The study found that the group that wrote about gratitude reported more optimistic mindsets in their lives.
Overall, having a gratitude list improved well-being and made one truly grateful by counting the blessings in their lives.
Write a list of what you are grateful for. Make it as long as you like. Be introspective with this list.
What has given you the most joy? What has set you up for better days? Keep a tally of triumphs in mind, especially when you do have the bad days.
Figure out what you DO have. That will help you feel better about yourself and your day. All is not lost.
The day doesn’t define you, and you still have things to value that surround you. These could be material things, spiritual connections and experiences, relationships, basic needs, emotional and mental well-being, physical health, progress towards hopes and dreams, and simply being alive.
Focus on the good you still have. Then, the bad day won’t have a say any longer.
2. Write on a Journal
According to Positive Psychology, journaling affects your overall mental health, which also affects physical health and aids in the management of stress, depression, anxiety, and more.
All you need is a pen and paper. Or you could do an online password-protected journal such as Penzu. The key is to get started and not pressure yourself on how polished or perfect it is. You don’t need to have prior experience to start journal writing. Just start.
Write out everything that is bothering you for 15 minutes. This helps with rumination, processing problems, and can even aid with brainstorming solutions. It is overall a cathartic experience to write out your thoughts and feeling.
You can just start and let the stream of consciousness flow too. However you approach it, you can find patterns of thinking that no longer serve you and start to transform your overall mental state. This will impact all areas of your life and is a great coping skill.
Verywell Mind suggests different types of meditation:
Basic meditation is mainly focused on breathing.
Focused meditation is when you focus on thought, idea, visualization, or any one thing.
Activity-Oriented meditation is when you combine meditation with an activity of your choice.
Mindfulness meditation is just about being present and can be done at any time, which can also include grounding techniques or focusing on the senses.
Spiritual meditation connects your meditation to your spiritual or religious practices.
Each type of meditation can help you overcome negative thought patterns, worrying about the future, dwelling on the past, or struggling to overcome a bad day. It shifts your mentality and helps you focus on the present or any one thing you truly want to focus on.
You can do a guided meditation which is where you let someone else guide you. There are many on Youtube, meditation apps, websites, DVDs available, or even local or online classes.
Here is an example of a meditation you can do:
Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Rest your body, release tension, and unclench your jaw. Tighten and release each muscle group in a body scan for progressive muscle relaxation.
Focus on your breath, taking a few deep breaths. Let your belly expand when you breathe in for diaphragmatic breathing. Take a deep breath deeper than you’ve breathed all day, exhaling out send the breath to your toes. Empty yourself completely of air, then return to normal breathing.
Next, focus on the idea of self-love and let it erase negative mindsets. Think about the ways how you’ve been judging yourself, with the narratives coming up that your mind may create.
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for doing the best you can even if the outcome wasn’t what you planned. Forgive yourself for not knowing then what you know now.
Give yourself unconditional love and release the judgment totally. Take your time meditating on this because you matter. This is particularly important on a bad day.
4. Do a Yoga – Child’s Pose Posture
Yoga Outlet says:
“Child’s Pose is a simple way to calm your mind, slow your breath, and restore a feeling of peace and safety. Practicing the pose before bedtime can help to release the worries of the day. Practicing in the morning can you help transition from sleeping to waking.”
When you do Child’s Pose, it can be between difficult positions in yoga, or it can be anytime you feel you need a rest. It helps you recover from difficulties and relaxes the mind.
It also has the physical health benefits of elongating your back, opening your hips, and helping with digestion. You don’t have to be a yogi to adopt Child’s Pose. You can do it anytime you want.
Rest your buttocks back on your feet. Knees are on the floor. Elongate your body over your knees with both arms extended or tucked back, with head and neck resting on the floor.
Take deep breaths. Then, get comfortable and take a breather. If you need more direction than this, a quick internet search may be helpful.
Do this pose as a gift to yourself. You are allowing yourself to heal, rest, get time for yourself, recover, and recharge. When you have a bad day, it’s there waiting for you.
5. Positive Self-Talk
Engage in positive self-talk. This is essentially choosing your thoughts.
When you have a negative thought, such as “I can’t do this,” replace it consciously with the thought “I can do this.” Give yourself positive affirmations to help with this.
Healthline says that negative self-talk fits into these four categories: personalizing or blaming yourself, magnifying or only focusing on the negative, catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen, and polarizing or only seeing back and white.
When you stop blaming yourself for everything and start focusing on the positive, expecting things to work out, and seeing the areas of grey in life, you reverse these negative mindsets and engage in positive self-talk.
When you engage in positive self-talk, you change your mindset to one from defeatist to determined. You can then make progress and move forward from a bad day if you learn how to talk to yourself. This is also about giving yourself compassionate self-attention.
When you speak words of kindness to yourself, your brain responds with a more positive attitude. That attitude will affect everything you do. It’s how you take care of yourself.
Check-in with yourself to know when you are having negative self-talk. Are you seeing patterns? When did they start to become a problem? Are you able to turn these thoughts around?
A positive thought can change the outcome of anything. If you are thinking positive thoughts about yourself, there is nothing you can’t do.
6. Use Coping Skills
Use your coping skills. This means not letting your thoughts take control of yourself.
You can distract yourself and escape a bit. Do things you love. You can exercise, listen to music, dance, volunteer or help someone, be in nature, or go somewhere. Watch a movie or read a book.
For more coping skills, search the internet. Your Life Your Voice has a downloadable worksheet that has 99 coping skills listed. You can also make your own.
It isn’t about repression. It’s about redirection. You can’t stay in thoughts that are no longer working for you. You can’t keep worrying or it will affect your health, and you have to stop yourself from spiralling into depression or other mental health struggles easily triggered by your ruminating.
So, sometimes, it’s okay to get out of your own way. Give yourself a break from the things going on in your head. Escape, for now. You can always come back to a problem later. This may even help you figure out the best course of action. Sometimes, we have to step away before we can find a solution.
If you are pulled into a different focus to escape, what is going on has less of a hold over you. It is less overwhelming. This is how you take control.
On a bad day, you may not feel like addressing what went wrong. You may need a break. So, take one.
Life is meant to be lived. You can’t live by staying stuck in your mind. The better you cope, the better you feel.
7. If Bad Day Turns Into Bad Days
“I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” –– Jim Carrey
If you are feeling out of control, depressed, or unstable for two weeks, it’s time to call a mental health professional. This is not because you have failed in any way. It’s because you are human, and you simply need help. You simply need to tell someone about your struggles.
You may not be able to quickly rebound from a bad day, and that’s fine. Feel what you feel. But don’t let it consume you.
When you talk to a professional, share the techniques that you have already tried here and whether they were helpful. They may tell you additional ideas or gain insights from your struggles of not being able to rebound from a bad day or days. You can use these techniques to gauge your mental health as well.
Does a gratitude list or a journal help you in any way? What comes up for you when you meditate? Are you able to distract yourself at all? Does positive self-talk come easily? Does Child’s Pose relax you? Does anything relax you? Do you experience trauma or any mental health issues when you try to engage your mind? Do any coping skills work?
These questions are important for a therapy session. Good Therapy has a directory of therapists you can search through. There are even online ones, such as Better Help.
If you’re having more than just a bad day, they will want to know. If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay too. You just need to try these tools and figure out how you’re feeling. That’s all that’s required of you.
Keep taking care of yourself. Any progress is progress, no matter how small. Give yourself a chance to get better by reaching out.
If you had a bad day, don’t let it stop you.
Know this: It’s okay not to be okay. You have a right to feel what you feel. You don’t have to apologize for feeling. That is important to acknowledge. But there is something you can do about it.
You can invest in yourself via self-care.
Start writing gratitude lists, journaling, meditating, resting in Child’s Pose, engaging in positive self-talk, using coping skills, and getting help if a bad day worsens.
You are not alone in this. Everyone has bad days from time to time. You just need to know that you ARE the positive things you tell yourself – you are good, you are worth it, you are enough, and you are going to get through this.
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