With all of this and uncertainty about the future, it feels easier and easier to slip into a bad state of mind. Isolation has us missing our friends, our family, maybe even that boring ol’ desk job. It is essential to our health, now more than ever, to keep our heads above water and turn a bad day around.
The idea of reducing stress and negative feelings seems impossible to do while stuck in the blues, but there are small, everyday activities that can greatly impact how you feel at the end of your day. Engaging the body and mind together can create wonderful memories and experiences to help you turn a sucky day into a way-less-sucky day. Let’s pump up the serotonin!
Remember not to punish yourself if you feel like you’re not doing something “right”. Any movement made is more progress than complete stagnation. With that being said, here are 7 ways how to turn a bad day around.
It isn’t too hard to guess that here at Nora’s Kitchen Granola we all love to bake and cook for ourselves and our loved ones. So of course we recommend it as a mood-boosting activity! I always find myself with a sense of satisfaction after seeing all my ingredients magically transformed into a completed dish, it really turns my bad day around.
Cooking can be time-consuming, which is why it’s a great way to get your mind off of any stress you may be having. Your body will be thankful for the nutrients you’re putting in it! Learn the properties of your ingredients and how it will benefit your body.
Don’t know where to start? Ask your body! Are you craving something green or something hardy? There’s no shame in wanting to make something that just tastes plain good too!
Make your favorite childhood meal or make someone you know’s favorite food and surprise them! Imagine the smile on their face after finding a plate of freshly baked cookies on their doorstep. Turn a bad day around for both of you! Giving to others is a surefire way to brighten your mood, and nothing tastes better than a homemade meal prepared with love.
Try to get others in on the cooking action as well! If you live alone, have a cooking party over a video-calling app and show off your creations to each other! Try to make something that isn’t in your usual ballpark! Learning something new releases dopamine, and it can lead the way to expand your kitchen skills.
There’s a reason why they say a clean home makes for a clean mind, especially if you’re having a bad day. Cats are a prime example of how we may unconsciously feel when we’re surrounded by clutter and grime. They will become very very cranky and start going to the bathroom in places that they shouldn’t (which luckily, isn’t a side effect of ours). Visual overstimulation may be adding to your inability to feel like you can focus on your day.
You use your whole body to clean, which is great for getting in some light exercise your body may be missing from staying inside all day. It’s also a very distracting activity to keep your mind focused on something other than the fact that you’re having a bad day. If the idea of cleaning sounds stressful, just start with one bookshelf, one floor, or one room. Any cleaning done in the day is less than you’ll have to do later. It also provides the opportunity to spruce up rooms with some well-needed redecorating or organizing.
As you clean, you may stumble upon objects that bring back happy memories, or a forgotten item that would make a perfect gift for your friend! If letting go of items is hard, look to Marie Kondo and ask yourself what that object makes you feel. If it isn’t bringing you joy or providing service to you any longer, store it in a box and let time tell you if it’s worth holding onto. Freeing the house of dust and other irritants will also help boost your energy levels as your body doesn’t have to process all the nasty particles hanging around your home.
3. Write/Share Your Feelings
Do you know exactly what it is you’re feeling? Does it feel cloudy, static, or like a wildfire? Is it just, “I’m having a bad day?” Or is it something more specific? Help your mind process what it is you’re dealing with by putting it to words. Words can be the guide to clearing out what’s bothering you. Things never seem as scary when they’re just letters on a page.
This will also help you to organize your thoughts to lead you towards the next step or the solution to your problem. Taking issues one step at a time makes them easier to understand and work out, rather than blindly trying to piece it all together in your head.
If it still all feels like too much after you’ve written it down, take what you have and discuss it with someone you trust. Having another perspective can aid you in what you’re dealing with, and they can provide to you the encouragement you may need to turn a bad day around. Building a support system together can help turn your mood right around now and in the future.
And maybe you can help them out right back! Reaching out and asking for help inspires others to do the same. It means a lot to someone to show them you trust them enough to share your vulnerabilities. That person can be a family member, a friend, or even look into forums online to look for the advice! Keeping an active log of what you feel every day can show your future self how your up’s and down’s function and what truly helps you to aides when you’re feeling down.
4. Make Art
If words just aren’t enough to turn a bad day around, creating artwork of what you feel can also be a wonderful tool to transform your negative emotions into something you can physically experience. Translating your emotions and perceptions through marks and colors can give you a better understanding of what you’re feeling, and how to turn a bad day around.
We can all feel self-conscious about how we see our artistic skills, but that’s not the purpose of making for ourselves. Art for this purpose is purely for expression. Releasing what you feel in your inner world will give you an insight into your totally unique perspective of the world and how you fit inside it.
After creating something to release your darker emotion, make art of what you find beautiful! New appreciation for the things around you can be found in spending time with a flower, your favorite mug, or even your pet!
Create artwork to hang up in your rooms to remind yourself of the places and things that bring you happiness in the times you feel down. If you’re finding yourself massively frustrated with what you’re making, research the endless mediums of art to find what suits you or your idea the best. Painting, music-making, collaging or woodworking are all possible outlets. You’ll never know what will turn a bad day around until you try it!
5. Consume Happy Media
Movies, TV shows, books and video games are all created to take us away from our day-to-day lives to a world someone else has crafted. If you are feeling down, look for happiness in the things created to inspire just that! Engaging your imagination will stimulate your mind. Find what inspires you to think about yourself and your world differently.
Consuming media designed to make you feel happy may just be the trick to turn a bad day around. Sometimes all we need is to laugh for a while. Escaping to other worlds and situations can take your mind off of what’s bringing you down. Complete escapism can provide an easy pathway towards avoiding your responsibilities and emotions but use media as a tool to reflect on other people’s lives and stories to find how we are all connected by what we feel and imagine.
My momma always made it a part of her daily routine to escape to our garage at the end of a long day and dance until her legs were sore. I never really understood why she did it until I tried it for myself. Blasting my favorite music and singing my heart out became a wonderful outlet for transitioning to a more relaxed state after dealing with the worries of the day. Engaging with my body in a way that is fun provided a release of that hard-to-let-go stress.
Dancing and singing may feel funny if you’re not used to doing it, but for the purpose of turning a bad day around, it doesn’t matter what you sound or looks like doing it! Who are you making fun of, yourself? Nonsense. Being still for too long during the day slows down your body, which is why this is the perfect method for some low-grade aerobics to get your heart pumping.
Listen to the songs in high school that you scream sang with your friends. Listen to instrumental jazz while you go about your day to soften the mood of your home. Especially if you feel alone, music can help fill in the empty spaces. Make a playlist of songs that make you feel vibrant for the next time you’re feeling down. Dancing and singing have long been a part of our culture as a species and when you try it out for yourself, you’ll discover why!
7. Check In With Your Most Basic Needs
It’s easy for the intellectual part of our minds to forget the basic things we need for survival. I can’t count the number of times I’ve forgotten to drink water during the day and then wonder why I’m feeling so exhausted after doing nothing. Search for the root of why you’re feeling the way you are and then dig a little deeper. You may find that some of your emotional issues are derived from basic acts we can do for ourselves.
Do you feel nourished and hydrated? Do you feel clean? Do you feel rested? If you’re like me and are prone to forgetting about your needs, make a checklist of daily rituals to be sure they’re being met. Completing a list of tasks can make you feel accomplished, even if it’s just brushing your teeth and taking out the trash.
If your energy levels heavily fluctuate throughout the day consider throwing a nap into that to-do list! Sleep is so essential by providing the downtime your body needs to heal.
And besides our physical needs, don’t forget about our mental needs. Be sure to ask yourself if you’ve been outside at the end of the day. Especially now, being out in the sun for even 15 minutes can turn a bad day around while doing wonders for your mental health. Do you need to see the stars? Feel the grass in between your toes? Being surrounded by living things helps remind you that you too are living right beside them. If you need stimulation, play a game, read a book of poems, or go bike to a new part of town you’ve never seen before. Try to find something new every day to keep life feeling exciting to prevent future periods of boredom.
Your emotions are your guide to what your body needs to heal. Turn a bad day around by listening to what they’re trying to tell you. They’re never trying to hurt you, they are just the messengers of what you are experiencing. Remember though, there is a difference between feeling sad for a while and something that’s pointing towards a larger issue. If you’re feeling completely hopeless or depressed reach out to a medical professional or call the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) to talk with someone who’s made it their purpose in life to help those who feel alone.
To quote from my favorite video game, “Remember that bad times are just times that are bad.”
Written by Drew Valentine