5 Ways to Game Your Bad Days

I recently read somewhere, “you’ve survived 100% of your worst days so far“.  And if you’re reading this, it’s probably be true. You’ve made it here mostly intact.

I’ve had some days when life’s gutted me so badly that I thought:

I’m really not going to make it through this one, am I?

How am I supposed to go on?

Nothing’s going to be the same ever again.

And sure, some bad days are worse than others, but I’ve found that it’s the way I choose to react that makes all the difference.  So here’s my take on 5 ways to game your bad days.

1. Let It Out. Without hurting anyone (no yelling at your colleague and chucking your coffee mug). If this means sobbing in the back of a cab, screaming into a pillow until your throat is sore, scheduling your first appointment with a therapist, taking that boxing class, or talking it over with your friend, get it done. Get it out in the open so it doesn’t fester and actually kill you. Keeping it together will be hard enough, and it’ll leak out of you eventually.  It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just needs to be out. You are entitled to your feelings. They can’t be wrong, they’re yours.

2. Creature Comforts. Clothes, food, movie, music, sleep, all the above.  For me, I put on my pineapple robe, get food delivered, lie down, and watch Friends/The Office/Veep bloopers followed by stand up specials, play Christmas music, and/or sleep, and get off the grid. It’s like a sleepover but with yourself.  If you can’t go full out at the moment, then at least loosen your tie, undo your ponytail that’s giving you a migraine, take off the blister heels, and drink some water.

3. Make Space. Before flying off the handle.  Sometimes our initial reactions are so extreme that we need to take a step back and come down to earth. In this case, make space, literally and figuratively. Go somewhere else, anywhere else, and let some time pass before you revisit your feelings and decide how you feel. Walk to another room, go for a drive, people-watch in the park. Take things off your mind before you come back with a fresh set of eyes.

4. Go Home. Actually go home, do the things and find the people that were your home before everything went south.  If this means arriving unannounced at your parents’ house, reaching out to a friend you haven’t talked to in years, or going back to the place you spent hundreds of hours at, then that’s home. Life can feel awfully misaligned at times. Revisit who you were when you decided to become who you are now.

5. Share. Sometimes bad days, the ones that you thought would do you in, become bad months. And bad months become bad years. Yet, you survive. For what? To be forever changed by your experience.  There was you, before and after, and it defines you. If this is the case, share the pain. Tell your story, share your truth, and don’t look back. Exchange your bad days for process, release, and closure. What might feel like a deeply isolating experience could develop community for those going through the same thing.

Everyone has Bad Days. Sometimes, bad days are the ones when your alarm doesn’t go off, you burn yourself making coffee, you trip on the way out the door, only to find that you’ve locked your keys inside. Other times, bad days are the phone call you get, and everything changes afterwards.  Appreciate the little things and the people you have now, because “the miracle is the shortest time”.

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