Bad days are a part of life. We all have them. No matter how many yoga classes you attend, how smoothly your life runs, or how strong your willpower. The secret to thriving is learning how to move forward in spite of bad days, instead of aiming to never have one (the curse of a perfectionist) or letting them send you into a "now I've blown it" tailspin.
Here are some tips for dusting yourself off and getting back on track after a bad day happens.
Do you have permission to have a bad day? Make sure that your inner-perfectionist (the one who requires all-or-nothing success) isn't running your show. Are you knee-deep in self blame or guilt for things that may have contributed to your bad day (or for the way you reacted to it)? As long as you are busy beating yourself up, you won't be able to move on. Instead, try on the idea that an occasional bad day is simply to be expected. It doesn't mean you failed, it means it's time to implement the "bad day plan."
Are you ready to move on and what do you need to let go of so you can? This is an important question. Are you ready to move on from your bad day or do you need it to continue for a little while longer? If you are busy beating yourself up, feeling miserable, or drowning your sorrows, or if you are feeling indignant and victimized, you're not ready to stop having a bad day yet.
What do you need to let go of in order to start to shift into a different space? Anger, hurt, frustration, or negativity are all common answers.
What do you want to move on to? How do you want to be? How do you want to feel? What do you want your mindset or mental attitude to be? Your posture? Your facial expressions? Breathe into what you want. Take a look in the mirror and make sure you aren't still carrying your bad day with you--or you aren't trying to cope by stuffing things down and numbing out. It's amazing how often we do this.
What helps you feel grounded? An important step in moving on from a bad day is connecting with the present and letting go of the past. What helps you to be really present in this moment--completely here and alive? For some people deep breathing or physical activity helps. Some people like to journal or spend quiet time alone. Take some time to get centered and to set your intention for how you want to BE in the present moment and into the future.
What kind thing can you do for yourself? This is what we do for others who are having a bad day. What can you do for yourself (and no, a pint of ice cream doesn't count)? Can you call a friend or rent a movie? Buy yourself some flowers? Schedule a massage or a long bath or buy some new nail polish? Bad day recovery days are prime times for self care.
What's one thing you can commit to that is a positive action? It doesn't need to be big. Pick one small step or action that signifies that you are moving in a positive direction. Do a good deed or a short workout or clean out one drawer. You'll know the action that fits. You're goal is to take the first step toward getting on a more positive track and when that's done, take the next one.
This article was previously published at TooMuchonHerPlate.com where Melissa McCreery shares tips and resources for moving beyond the 3 Os - overwhelm, overload, and overeating - so that you can create a life you love. To get useful tips and strategies for making changes that last, join her free newsletter and sign up to take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz.