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Bad Day Rehab: Things to Do When You’re Down in the Dumps

Sad days, bad days, miserable days, living nightmares… We all have them, and we all cope with them differently. Some days, something as small as spilled coffee or a traffic jam can set you off, while others, it feels as though the world is crashing down around you and there’s nothing you can do to salvage what’s left of your miserable life.

No matter how bad things get, know that happiness is in your control. That may sound bizarre, especially when you don’t seem to have control over the things the fate gods are mercilessly flinging your way. But that’s exactly the point – ultimately, happiness is an inside job. Life is too unpredictable (and sometimes darn unpleasant) to let external events determine how you feel long-term.

So help yourself out! There are things you can do to make any day better. All it takes is a couple baby steps. Here’s a little cheat-sheet of things you can do to turn that frown upside down (you know, after you visualize smacking me in the nose for saying that) :

  1. Talk to a friend. In times of need, a good friend can be the closest thing to magic. Sometimes, all it takes is a compassionate set of ears to help your troubles melt away. Although it can be tempting to avoid seeking help due to pride or fear of being a Debbie Downer, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you trust and talk to them. That’s what friends are for!

  2. Have a treat. I’m not advocating for ferociously eating your emotions, but life is short. If your body and soul are craving some good ol’ Häagen-Dazs, a hot drink from your favorite coffee shop, chips and guac, or some candy from the drugstore, go ahead and indulge! Depriving yourself after a hard day will only make you more distraught. Pick one of your favorite treats and savor it slowly. If you’re worried about portion control, opt for one get-and-go portion rather than buying a whole box. If you’re not, then screw my advice.

  3. Pin your dreams. Sit in bed with a blanket and some hot tea (or your treat of choice!) and get on Pinterest. Taking some time to gather photos and stories related to travel, fitness, or project and event planning, can motivate and inspire you to look beyond the day’s troubles and find the big picture.

  4. Make a playlist. Mellow or upbeat, there’s nothing like finding a song that gets exactly what you’re going through. Play your go-to favorites, or browse Soundcloud or Spotify for a tune refresh.

  5. Write it out. Running from your emotions can be tempting in times of trouble, but that is not the way out. Whether or not you have someone you can talk to, getting everything down on paper is one of the most cathartic things you can do.

  6. Bake a little. Cooking and baking can be very therapeutic. Try one of the recipes you’ve bookmarked for a rainy day and enjoy the process without being attached to the results.

  7. Take a walk. Walk outside, go to a museum, people-watch in a cafe… A little change of scenery helps relax the mind and put things in perspective.

  8. Watch a movie. Netflix a movie of your choice. Get your tea, get your snacks. Turn your phone to airplane mode (or turn it off if you feel emotionally stable enough). Enjoy.

  9. Get moving. It might be the last thing you want to do, but exercising is one of the healthiest and most effective ways to blow off some steam. Pick something that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out (there’s got to be something!) and commit to doing it for just 15 minutes. If you end up going on for an hour, then hey! You go, Glen Coco.

  10. Remind yourself that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to admit that you’re having a bad day. Everyone goes through rough patches, and your feelings and problems are just as valid as anyone else’s. Allow yourself some time to recover, and set the littlest goals to get yourself back on track.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Words by Tatiana Elghossain
 // Photography by Elliot Liss // Featuring Kelsey Lee.

© 2015 Reef Magazine

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