How to Deal With Brutal Days

Maybe it’s the slow start to the warmer weather. Perhaps it’s the stress from taking on too much between professional and social engagements during the summer months. Maybe some of us are merely at a crossroads and the summertime has allowed for more time for self-reflection, especially as September (historically the real start to the “new year”) looms less than two months away. Whatever the case, it seems a few usually positive and upbeat young professional (YP) friends have recently been plagued by days of feeling a little down in the dumps. From time to time, we all have those swearword-inducing days where we are bombarded with a million things that all go wrong – from a mistake at the office to an argument with your significant other (SO)- or we are just hyper sensitive or sad in general. Here are a few ways to handle those bad days that you just want to end.

Hit the Gym
Even on those days where all you want to do is get home to your sweatpants, take-out or delivery and bed, we are always shocked at the power of a good workout to alter our mood. Even hitting a cardio machine for 30 minutes has the ability to revitalize the body and mind and release all that pent up aggression from the day. In fact, we tend to work out harder when we are having bad days, with a mental goal to release any irritation, aggression and sometimes even anger at the gym by pushing a little harder, sweating a little more, and really getting our blood pumping until we have literally worked it all away. Though it may not release as much adrenaline, a yoga session has the ability to calm, refresh and relax by silencing the mind and through building on the positive, infectious energy of others in the room.

Be Mindful of What You Eat and Drink
If you are already having a bad day, indulging in a pizza binge or multiple cocktails after work may only make you feel worse. Eating heavy, greasy foods will make you feel lethargic, bloated or guilty for breaking that diet, especially after that indulgent cottage weekend. A decision to drink on a down day may also mean that you are using alcohol as an escape. Even coffee can affect your mood, with too much leading to increased anxiety and irritability.

Call an Old Friend
Sometimes, nothing makes you feel better than connecting with an old friend or family member, someone who knows you well and loves you unconditionally. Not only will the sound of their voice lift your mood, the person on the other end of the phone may have some interesting pieces of information or hilarious personal anecdotes to share if you haven’t spoken in a wjile. Furthermore, they generally care and are there to listen to your trials and tribulations, an interaction unlike a superficial banter with an acquaintance at an event. 

Stay Off Social Media
If you are having a down day, social media will make it even worse. We recently discussed the images we both create and buy into of others on networks like Facebook and its ability to make one feel inferior when they see their friends postings of their recent “epic” vacations, “perfect” relationships and everything else people like to brag about via ever-so-accessible social media channels. Furthermore, no matter how many people you may interact with online, the reality is that, if you’re feeling lonely, it can make things even worse when you realize that you are still physically sitting all alone and that most of your social media attempts for interaction or attention are surface level or pretty meaningless.

Stimulate the Senses
Listen to your favourite music, or a song that reminds you of that amazing day you’ll never forget, that successful business trip you had, or even of simpler times of summers past when you were a care-free teenager. Smell may have the power to stimulate positive feelings, whether the aroma of a spa-like candle or a splash of your SO’s cologne or perfume if he or she is out of town. Though we caution not to binge, taste something that you can savour and that will comfort without the accompanying guilt of a gluttonous meal – like a piece of chocolate, a flavoured tea or even ice cream.

Think About Tomorrow
Remember that you won’t feel like this forever, and that everyone has bad days. In competitive cities and with high expectations for ourselves, it is easy to feel only as good as our last success, or to focus on the shortcomings of our professional performance or personal life, rather than on the good things we have going on for us. Remind yourself of all the things you have to look forward to – your cousin’s wedding, your summer holiday or the birth of a new baby. Maybe go to sleep earlier so that you may wake up fresh and ready for what will hopefully be a bright, sunny, productive and happy day.

Cover image courtesy of Tumblr