Monday, March 22, 2010

Remedies for a Rotten Day

Saturday I was reading this article on MSN Lifestyle about coping with a bad day and thought, “Boy, I really need to remember this.” It seems like almost everyone I know is going through something stressful. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, but all of it can lead to stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed. And as I mentioned on Friday, I fall into the “glass half empty” spectrum, so I struggle with positivity.

One pattern in particular that I’ve noticed is that my day can start off perfectly fine. Everyone is happy and energetic, on their way to their various tasks for the day, and then BOOM! Something negative happens: complaining, fighting, something not going as expected, a long line, frustration, or (heaven forbid) someone gets sick. I can usually pinpoint that exact moment when my day is going to go downhill, and fast. This pattern is even more evident since I’ve had a house full of kids and hubby over Spring Break. The more people there are around here, the easier it is for things to go wrong.

That’s why this article intrigued me. Often, I just need something to change the trajectory of my day, to move it up instead of down. Anything to get me off the free fall ride! The author addresses many options in this article, but I’m just going to touch on the highlights.

-Conduct a love or gratitude inventory.
-Haul out the photo albums and reminisce.
-Sing and/or dance.
-Give yourself some time off.
-Treat yourself just as you would a friend in the same situation.
-Eat chocolate (hey, it has endorphins! Do brownies count?)
-Pay someone else a compliment.

Some ideas of my own:

-Work out: This is becoming one of my favorite stress relievers, despite the fact that I’ve never been an exercise person. Whether I do 10 minutes or 45, I always feel less stressed afterwards. Sweaty, but less stressed. ;)

-Clean up or organize something: The messier my house, the more stressed I am, but I’m not inclined to do anything about it. Go figure. But I find that if I just clean or organize 1 thing, then I feel like I can breathe a little easier. And each time I pass that little spot of neatness, I smile.

-Give yourself permission to call a friend: Talking through something with a friend helps me feel tremendously better, but I don’t often do it because I feel like all I ever do is whine about what’s going wrong. But I have to remind myself that often, I’m looking for answers. I’m not just whining to be whining, I’m trying to find a solution, which I think is more proactive than just venting for the sake of hearing my own voice. So I’ve started giving myself permission to talk to a friend, either over the phone or meeting for coffee. It always ends with a smile.

-Open a window: There’s nothing like fresh air to brighten my mood, but I have a confession to make. If I had a choice, I’d live/work in a cave. Ironic, since my office is in the sunroom. I think that’s God’s way of making sure I see sunlight at some point during my day. On these nice spring days (or in the fall, my favorite!), I’ll open a window and let in the light and fresh air. Then I wonder why I don’t do it more often, because one deep breath slows my heart rate and releases tension from my muscles.

-Coloring therapy: My mother-in-law was telling me the other day about a doctor who promotes coloring therapy by offering coloring books for adults on his website. Apparently, the repetitive motion, color, and creativity of coloring helps calm and focus the mind, thereby reducing stress. She teased that our entire family might get coloring books for Christmas. :) But I can see the point. My children and I might need a coloring date sometime soon.

-And let's not forget the best pick-me-up of all: Reading a good romance novel! The only problem with this one is once I've started, I don't want to stop!

Now if I could just remember to use these! It’s so easy to forget when I get caught up in the craziness of life. Hmm… maybe if I post them on my desk somewhere, right at eye level?

Do you have any ideas to help remedy a rotten day? Share them with us!



Playground Monitor said...

I was in a terrible funk Saturday and decided to go to Lowe Mill, which is an old textile mill that houses a real diversity of artists of all sorts. I spotted some paper bead jewelry and thought, "Maybe I can do that."

So I spent last night researching how to make paper beads and after church today I stopped to get a few supplies. My efforts aren't as good as the photo above but I'm just getting started. The trial and error of it got my mind going in a new and better direction.

Now instead of a funk, I just have glue-y fingers. ;-)

PM's Mother said...

A good Pity Party never hurt anyone. I have found a good way to cope with this is to wallow in self-pity for an hour or until you cannot stand yourself and you will be over it.

PM, I thought I taught you how to make paper beads many years ago. All you need is some old colorful magazines, a large needle, some glue and some dental floss.

Smarty Pants said...

Watching a stupid movie usually helps me. One that would never win any sort of prestigous award, like Dodgeball. I actually bought it on Blu Ray the other day and I can't wait to watch it. Some of the best quotes ever. "No one makes me bleed my own blood. No one!"

Just can't help but feel better after that.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I read somewhere that you can change your mood by first listening to music that matches your bad mood (sad, angry, whatever), then switching to happy, upbeat music.

Instigator said...

I was in a foul mood yesterday afternoon. I snuggled up with the girls in the bed and we put on a movie. By the time 30 minutes had passed I was smiling and laughing right along with them.


LeaAnnS said...

Comfort food. 'Nuff said.

Angel said...

Oh, don't even get me started on comfort food! I had to weigh in with the trainer today. She wasn't happy with me!


catslady said...

I always loved coloring with my children and to this day my youngest (23) tells me how upset she was with me because I stopped. I think she was in high school at this time and I was embarrassed thinking I was too old and so was she. I was wrong. And she is in college now for graphic art lol.

I play mindless computer games sometimes to relieve stress or sing along with music but nothing, nothing, nothing works like getting lost in a good book!!!

Angel said...

I'd love to learn something new, PM. That sounds like fun.

SP, I usually get the hubby to pick out a stupid movie for me to laugh to. Or I hunker down with Shaun of the Dead. Love that one!


Angel said...

If I'm in a foul mood, the kids seem to sense it and get aggravated themselves. If we tried to pile up in the bed together, they'd kick and fight, griping at each other until I want to scream. Usually, its better if I just stay away. :)


Angel said...

Mindless computer games = Bejeweled! Love that one.

I can vividly remember my mother coloring with us when we were kids and how much I admired her neat coloring.


Problem Child said...

I'm a fan of the restorative nap. Just like grumpy children often need a nap, so does a grumpy PC. :-)

I also shower and wash my hair. I just think I think better with clean hair. The time in the shower also gives me a few minutes to come up with a plan of action.

Kathy said...

Great list! But you know you can always call me.... ;)

I love to watch funny movies and read when I'm down. Lately, I'm learning that staring at a wall for about 15 minutes 2-4 times a day while your neck is stretched off your shoulders enhances the thought process and forces you to relax or you choke.

Angel said...

Ah, Kathy, traction is such a fun thing. NOT!!


Christine said...

Right now I am living one domino at a time. We have so much going on with DH's hip and my FIl dying that I just try to live in the moment. I am not good at it, but I try. I am also giving myself a break from writing for another week. I need it. I need to decorate and clean and be.

It's okay to take a break.