1. Remember that it’s only one day
When all is said and done, it really is just 24 hours—if it lasts ’til the next day, then that day is just 24 hours. Crappy days (and we’re talking crappy days with no underlying mental health or emotional cause or reason here, guys) sooner or later run out of steam on their own. It’s like a super-awful bug that swims around in your life before you flush it out. It will get flushed out.
I can hear some of you rolling your eyes at the idea of adding to your already rubbish day by throwing yourself into the scary world of exercise. But hear me out—the endorphin rush when you come off of a run or a walk is pretty damn good; knowing you can do something awesome in yoga or letting all your frustrations out in tennis or karate or boxing or whatever you like doing—it’s pretty safe, pretty fun and can easily help rescue a bad day.
3. Breathe in, breathe out
Yes, it’s obvious, but this time be really conscious of what you’re doing. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, breathe out through your mouth for four seconds. Very relaxing and can help calm you down when you (naturally) start raging against the cruel, cruel world.
4. Reward yourself
This one works well at work—if you’re stuck in a job that happens to be boring or time-wasting as hell, make sure you set yourself little targets and goals. If you manage not to yell at Garry from Accounts as he slinks like a lounge lizard and throws you a creepily assessing look, then you’ve earned some precious YouTube time. Then remember the next time Garry does it, you’ll be on your A-game and shut his creepy ass down.
5. Enjoy some nature
Not easy in a city—trust me, I know, every park in my hometown has long since been turned into public squares where the only greenery is on the salads in the restaurants they’ve since constructed—but there’s always somewhere you can go just to get away from it all for a minute or two. A plant or flower on someone’s desk can be used in a pinch.
6. Make it a funny story
Think about how you’ll feel about this in a few days when (hopefully) you’re back to your usual awesome self—you’ll recognize that it sucked and that there was probably something funny in there you can tell your friends and family. If you’re somewhat of a comedian, it could even make a great bit for your next stand-up set.
7. Drink plenty of water
This is just a bit of science here—if you keep hydrated, then you’re gonna be fine. Water is very good and not getting enough of it can lead to all kinds of pretty crappy things like headaches, nausea and general feelings of tiredness. Which, obviously, is not going to be good when you’re dealing with a bad day.
8. Sing it out loud
Yep, singing. Doesn’t matter if you’re the next Adele waiting in the wings or if you’re like me and think that outside of your own home, your singing voice should be kept in a locked security box should it offend anyone else. Whether it’s rock, country, classical, hip-hop, R&B, pop or whatever genre that takes your fancy, just go ahead and sing it—or at least mouth it—with gusto. A bad mood was once lifted with a well-timed iPod shuffle and a rendition of a Swedish pop song.
9. Embrace your misery
Enjoy the fact that you’re miserable—most days you’re nice and pleasant and everything else but haven’t you ever wanted to just let loose every dark thought and curse the heavens? I remember a crappy day of my own—soaked to the skin from the rain, late due to an even later bus, my mind turned into that of a villainess from the 1930s movies, plotting revenge against everyone who had wronged me today. By the time I got home, I had planned several acts of mayhem, considered several evil schemes and felt wonderfully relieved when I got back in time for a re-run of To Catch a Predator. Nice.
10. Have a dance party
Shame really is a state of mind, rather than a requisite—hence my next suggestion: dance party! Even if it’s just you and your headphones and music player of choice, there’s no reason why a damn good strut and grind to your song of choice can’t be the ideal remedy for banishing the cobwebs of an awful day. Don’t give a shit about what other people think—if you want to dance it out, then that’s your business. Probably best not to do it in an office meeting though—doing the cha-cha slide in the middle of a PowerPoint presentation does give the wrong impression.
11. Treat yourself to something sweet
Or salty. Or sour or savory or whatever. There’s very rarely an excuse to ever not treat yourself but on a pretty shitty day. I personally enjoy a cupcake or some low-fat fro-yo. Admittedly the fro-yo does have a brownie in it, but you know, it all cancels out in the end (it really doesn’t but sugar makes the lies go down). Regardless: go have something you love to eat. Food is meant to make us happy as well as sustain us.
12. Make plans
Sharing misery can actually be reflective so I’d recommend making plans with some good friends for the evening of the awful day—it doesn’t matter if it’s chatting hotties up at a bar or a pizza-and-Homeland night, the important thing is that you talk and you unload all the miseries. It works either way—if your friends are equally miserable, then you’ve got solidarity. If they’re all happy, chances are they’ll be supportive and be extra awesome to you. Win-win!
13. Get your cleanse on
Not like a juice cleanse or a fluids diet or whatever—if you want to do that, fine, but honestly I wouldn’t attempt that on a great day, never mind a really bad one. I’m talking about clearing out the clutter in your life, sweeping away and cleaning the crap. The closet that needs rearranging, the floor that needs hoovering, they’re all good ways to channel all your anger and pain and upset into something pretty productive instead of curling up on your bed and whimpering whilst listening to Lana Del Rey. Although let’s be honest, that works too.
14. Take a nap
My favorite one—I literally am addicted to napping, it’s clearly the invention of someone utterly lovely and wonderful who wants everyone to be happy. Taking a nap is basically like putting a pause on the day. In a perfect world, everyone’s laptops and TV screens would come up with a message around 2pm saying, “Have a nap, go on you deserve it.” Everyone would be happier and it’s a great way to help alleviate the pain of a bad day by literally telling the bad day to go away for thirty minutes.
15. Know when to call it quits
This is when all else fails—when every other avenue has been made impossible and you’re suffering an absolutely crappy, utterly irredeemable day. The best advice I can give you is to call it a day—there are some days where trying to tough it out isn’t going to be character-building, it’s going to be exhausting. You need your bed, you need reality TV and you need comfort. That’s absolutely okay—the human body isn’t perfect, sometimes it needs time to reboot and restore. Go forth and watch all those guilty pleasure lifestyle choices, you’ve earned it!