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!