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How I survive my worst days (5 things to do to feel better)

girl on her cellphone

We all have ups and downs, but some of us swing higher and lower than most. I’m one of them and today was a real low day. I mean crying at my parents’ place all day with no fucking idea what the future holds. I mean questioning everything and not for the life of me seeing my place in my own life.

Honestly it was a downright sh*tty day.

Everyone has their worst days… surviving them is part of life.

I felt I was stuck in a downward spiral and the world was contracting around me. I knew the day was going to get worse and worse, hour by hour. I felt restless, dissatisfied, sad, and impossibly anxious. I sat there stewing and trying to remain calm in the knowledge that emotions are fleeting.

I like to think of myself as the eye of a hurricane. I feel most calm within the process of change. Really it’s complacency that leads to the downs. Maybe that what makes me dynamic instead of static. But for me, it’s the twin pillars of complacency and stagnation that are my kryptonite. And it’s kryptonite that turned this day shitty.

I accept that today is a shitty today but that tomorrow is another day with the opportunity to be great.

With this attitude, I have learned to survive my worst days.

These are the 5 things I do to feel better.

2girls

1. Communicate with loved ones

Bad days make me feel lonely. When this happens, I try to communicate with my support network. For me it encompasses both friends and family. I try to tell them honestly that I’m having a down day and that I could use a supportive voice. They’re not always available and sometimes they inadvertently make things worse, but more often than not, my true friends step up.  Don’t dwell on the bad, try to evoke them to strike up a uplifting conversation to help rather than discuss the negatives.

2. Exercise

I know I’ll do much better if I can force myself to hang up on Dominos, eat healthy, and get some exercise (as much as I don’t want to).   Chemically and mentally, exercising can really spark a different in your day and perhaps change it around completely through the cathartic release.  Try to talk to someone at the gym while working out as it can change your mood around to just have the opportunity to vent, physically and vocally.

3. Rest

On shitty days, I find myself attempting to be productive but I ultimately I come to the realization that I’m not doing my best work. Therefore, something that I’m still practicing and learning, is that when the day is shitty, I try to remember to remember that tomorrow is a new day. I want to redeem the down day by tackling every problem, but most can wait until tomorrow and that is okay. Don’t overburden yourself by worrying about a million things at once. Try to weed out those that can wait and take on one challenge at a time. The best thing is for me to get some sleep, if I can. Otherwise, I just try and rest. Feel good in your skin through the relaxation. Sometimes I feel drained all I want to do is scarf pizza, down a tub of ice cream, and just sloth it on the couch and marathon a TV show. Of course I know in the back of my mind that after the short-term satisfaction of downing a tub of chocolate chip ice cream isn’t the best thing for me but it’s okay to be kind to yourself and indulge every once in awhile… especially if you went to the gym first.

4. Celebrate the wins

I try to notice when good things do happen and try to acknowledge and celebrate them.  Moreover, I try to be in tune with my emotions to realize when my mood has lifted (if even just a little) and when things are starting to look up. When this happens, I try my best to not dwell on the past but instead I stick with the present and honor the good things that are happening to me and around me.

5. I am enough

I try to remind myself that I’m okay the way I am. There are aspects of myself and my life that I wish I could change, but I try to remember that who I am right now is enough and that each day is a new opportunity. I try to have patience. This is the toughest part. I believe this is not a zero sum game and the key is incremental improvement.

I try to keep moving forward and keep my energy continually moving up and up. It’s hard but I try. Sometimes all this works, sometimes not so much.

At the end of the day, I’m here right now and life will continue, and Little Orphan Annie was right about tomorrow.

Written by Leah Wald

At 25, with a resume that looks like I’m 40, recruiters say I’m fucked and some days I agree with them. When I’m not writing, you can find me horseback-racing, surfing, ranting endlessly about my love for my home city of Washington D.C., smoking cigars, and drinking wine.

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