Today, I woke up with the feeling that today is going to be a bad day. I knew something bad was going to happen, but like most of my so-called morning premonitions, I didn’t know what.
My gut feeling is usually right about something, but it is generally clouded by emotion that makes it difficult to trust. When my gut feeling and emotions collide with my OCD brain, that catastrophic thinking begins to take full affect and I just want to bunker down in my bed and hide from what “might” be a bad day.
Response is EVERYTHING!
What makes a bad day? Usually a series of unfortunate events or one single unpleasant event that just puts a person in a bad / negative mood all day. It may be other things, but personally, that is how I define my bad days.
Bad things unfortuantely happen. I like to think of it as the Universe’s way of balancing itself. The good news though, is that we don’t have to let ourselves be affected by it. It is all in how we respond to things that affect our overall day.
This morning, I woke up expecting something bad was going to happen. Could it be something catastrophic or just something as little as stepping in gum? There is no way of telling; so I just have to go with the flow and cope with whatever might happen.
Response is everything! How we choose to respond to situations, determines how that situation is going to affect our mood for the rest of the day. One little thing can be the catalyst for bigger things that can just make the day suck.
Creating A Bad Day
I strongly believe that we create our own bad days. I say this, because I rarely experience a bad day. I do have bad days, lots of them, but I respond differently to them.
It is so easy to create a bad day. Generally, it starts with something stressful we are going through in life, something we might not even know is stressing us out. Maybe being exhausted from working two jobs, family problems, a sucky job with a horrible boss, finances are tight, or maybe, heck, all the above. Stress can trigger bad days. Often times, I don’t realize just how stressed out I am until I take it out of someone or something; and that is the starting catalyst to a bad day.
Have you ever woke up feeling good and looking forward to a great day, but later, you come home exhausted after having the worst day of your life? Yeah, me too. My bad work days used to begin with something simple.
Like having to wear something ridiculous, because I ran out of clothes before laundry day. An embarrassing run in my pantyhose that I don’t realize until I get to work. Coffee machine is not working. A dork cuts me off in the parking lot. My boss leaves me a mysterious angry-sounding message on my voicemail. All these little things can trigger a bad day; however, if you respond to them in a positive way, your day will likely get better.
Tackling A Bad Day
I start with acceptance. (If you haven’t noticed, I am all about the art of acceptance.) That is because acceptance is a powerful tool, as long as you don’t think of it as being defeated. Instead, think of acceptance as being the bigger person and moving on.
When my day starts out crappy, I accept it. I often say to myself, “So, this is how it is going to be.. Well, okay then! I guess 1 bad day out 364 good days is just inevitable.” Because it’s true! Looking at my life, I rarely experience a bad day, but I know balance requires me to experience a couple bad days here and there.
However, I can tell you that streaks of bad days mean something is absolutely wrong and something in life must be immediately addressed and resolved. Or wear black socks, my family believes wearing black socks is the key to ending all bad days. Does it work? I don’t know, I haven’t tried it yet. But, I do know it never hurts to try, especially, if you are already having a bad day.
For the little things, we can leave the black socks in the sock drawer. The important thing is to react positive to bad things. For example, let’s talk about those bad things that used to trigger a bad work day for me and how to look on the bright side.
- The ridiculous wardrobe: Look, I am not alone in the world procrastinating laundry day. I am also not much of a fashionista, so my wardrobe is kind of limited. But I do own a few things in my closet that I hate to wear and only wear if necessary. BUT, I have to remember, at one time I must have liked it; otherwise, I wouldn’t have bought it. Also, its just one day I have to wear it and I will do laundry as soon as I get home after work (Lesson learned!). I can always cover it up by wearing a jacket or sweater (luckily every office I ever worked in feels like the Arctic). Furthermore, this may be a little over optimistic, but maybe I will set a new trend in the fashion world. It’s just for 8 hours. I will be fine.
- Embarrassing run in pantyhose: A former boss of mine once told me not to sweat the small stuff while tossing a small bottle of clear nail polish at me. Clear nail polish stops pantyhose runs from getting worse. She advised me that if pantyhose were part of my wardrobe, it would be wise to keep a bottle of clear nail polish in my purse. I obviously did one better and never wore dresses to the office again, but it’s still solid advice to pass on to others. Anyways, the point is, women get it. If you have a run in her pantyhose, don’t worry. If you address it to your boss, they will most likely allow you to make a quick run to the store or just let you bend the dress code for a day and ditch the panty hose for a couple of hours (especially, if it happens towards the end of the day). There is no need to get upset over the things you cannot control and others will often understand.
- Coffee Machine isn’t working: Nothing more ruins my day than a day without coffee! These are the days I focus more on the clock rather than my work; counting down to lunch time when I can get coffee. But, this distraction can cause me to make mistakes in my work or fall behind, creating a bad day for myself. So, best to let it go. Get a soda from the vending machine or grab something on break (if allowed). It isn’t the end of the world and you may find, you are just as strong without it.
- Road Rage: I do not understand drivers who cut people off and then flip them off, as if the person they cut off were in the wrong. Blows my mind. I can let it go, because I can quickly recognize that person is obviously having a worse day than me. But, I know some people who would take that personally. They wouldn’t be upset that a 1 ton vehicle cut them off, but more so that the driver of that vehicle flipped them off. This is how one creates a bad day, because I know some people who would just dwell on this incident all day, causing them to make mistakes and experience an overall bad day for themselves. It’s best to just let it go. Of course, drivers shouldn’t cut off other drivers or flip off people they truly do not know, but this is how bad days spread. By reacting to another’s person’s bad day, can cause you to have a bad day too.
- Angry Voicemails: It’s one thing to receive a voicemail from an angry client who is upset at the world, but one from your boss is the worst! But don’t sweat the small stuff, remember? I learned along time ago, bosses are stressed. Every single one of them, no exceptions. Some might lead you to think they are not stressed, but I guarantee they are just handling stress in a different way. I have worked with a few bosses/supervisors who were just quiet when they were experiencing a stressful day, but I have also had the pleasure (sarcasm) of working with bosses/supervisors who just tore the heads off of anyone who were within several feet of them. I cannot tell you how many times I have received an angry vauge voicemail from a boss. I walk into their office wondering if I am going to get fired or something, but turns out my boss was just upset over something that had nothing to do with me. If I had taken their rude voicemail personally, it would have ruined my entire day. Instead, its just another person having a bad day and if I react negatively to their bad day, I will end up having a bad day too.
- Bad days are contagious. Some people with bad days want other people to have bad days too. They want others to feel the way they feel to make themselves feel better. But, there are those who don’t know their bad day is affecting others.
- Don’t take it personal: Do not take it personal when you walk into a person’s bad day. Be kind, understanding, and let it go as soon as you move on.
- Accept bad days: Sometimes bad days are inevitable and bad things happen. It is like a natural balance of things, so it is best to not respond to things we cannot control.
- It is okay to feel: It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated; just don’t let it ruin an entire day. Learn to let go of the little things and try not to dwell too much on the big things.
- Look on the bright side: I am a strong believer that there is a bright side to everything; it just requires a bit of creative thinking.
Bad Things Can Teach Good Lessons
We can’t prevent all bad things from happening, but we can certainly prevent ourselves from having a bad day by better responding to bad things that do happen.
This morning, my youngest got onto the counter, grabbed her sister’s morning drink and poured it out onto the counter. No big deal, right?
Well, unfortunately, it is very upsetting for several different reasons:
- It is wasteful. Even if Marshall, the Paw Patrol toy had a good time, it is still wasteful.
- It was a Pedisure Gain and Grow milk-drink for my oldest who needs the extra calories and nutrients.
- Pedisure is not cheap, a 6 pack costs nearly $12. That is $2 per 8oz bottle. Totally not cheap at all.
- A septic tank smells better than dried Pedisure milk. So gross!
So, how does that saying go? “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” Exactly! Sure, it’s an expensive waste. Sure, I probably could have done something to prevent it. But, it happened and it is now done and over with. I refuse to let this small thing ruin my entire day by putting me in a bad mood.
This means that I have to let it go by calmly recognizing that such an incident sucks. I will not get upset, otherwise my girls will get upset and that might put them in a bad mood all day too, creating a bad day for everyone!
Instead, I explain to them that it is a waste and have them both clean it up. This way, if they spill anything again, they will continue to tell me about it, because they will not be afraid of getting into trouble. If I yell at them and clean it up myself, it might teach my kids to lie about messes and expect me to clean up their own messes. If I blame them, they will think it is okay to blame others. Remaining calm teaches them to remain calm, admit when they are wrong, and take self-responsibility. In short, there are good lessons that can come out of bad things that happen.
Take Control Of Your Bad Day
Remember that you can prevent a bad day from happening by better responding to the bad things that happen during the day. It isn’t always going to be easy. Bad days are inevitable, but it’s up to you on how that bad day affects you. Also, you can always wear a pair of black socks to help fight against a bad day or two. 🙂