Bad days. We all have them. After all, we get 365 days a year, so fate demands that some of them be bad. If your bad days are starting to outweigh the good ones, you should talk to someone. If you’re just feeling blue, though, here are 10 simple ways to make any day a great day.
1. Eat a real breakfast
Breakfast bars are not food! You need a little protein, a lot of complex carbs, and a handful of sweetness to motivate you to eat breakfast again tomorrow. If you have to go to bed and get up earlier to fit breakfast into your schedule, then by all means, do it. (Getting up earlier also reduces the risk of depression, so it’s a two-for-one.)
2. Drink enough water
In developed countries, we’ve had nearly universal access to clean water for decades, so there’s no excuse not to drink plenty of it. Cold water boosts your metabolism, and hot water with lemon and honey is just about the cheapest and most comforting cuppa in the world.
3. Brush your teeth
Every time you eat, brush your teeth. Not only will it discourage you from eating again (thus preventing slow weight gain from snacking all day), but it’ll also make you feel more comfortable interacting with others. Healthy gums are linked to a healthy heart, and a bright smile is the best accessory you could ever wear.
4. Say the names of the people you talk to
When we’re tired or stressed, we tend to retreat within ourselves and dehumanize people. If you use people’s names when you talk to them, you’ll immediately feel more connected to, comfortable within, and supported by the humanity around you.
5. Do your best – within reason – on every task
Rewards and recognition kill motivation. Don’t do a good job for the sake of others. Do it for the sake of feeling good about yourself and your place in the world.
6. Be sympathetic
We all have bad days, and some of us simply aren’t emotionally mature enough to deal with stress appropriately. Be grateful that you have been blessed with an emotional IQ that allows you to deal with stress gracefully.
7. Think about the big picture
Will this matter tomorrow? Next week? Next year? When you’re dead? No? Then it doesn’t matter now. (This isn’t universal, but it applies to more things than you’d imagine.)
8. Take a walk
Even moderate exercise that doesn’t break a sweat will release endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that flood your body and wash tension away. Not only that, but when you see things from a different perspective physically, it can nudge your brain into doing so mentally.
9. Eat a healthy lunch
This is especially important if you skip breakfast or eat fast food for dinner. Eat lots, but eat light. Soups, salads, and sandwiches are great, and you can take half back to the office to eat as an afternoon snack. You won’t feel tired in the afternoon, and you’ll keep the stress-related weight down as well.
10. Just say no
In our quest for perfection and acceptance, sometimes it’s difficult for us to say no when someone asks us to do something. When you’re feeling down, though, nothing is worse than piling on more obligations. Even Atlas has to shrug sometimes.
If you start feeling like the down days are coming faster and more furiously, try to nip them in the bud with these simple techniques to bring a bit of cheer and relaxation to your day.