Life can be rough. If you don’t agree with this statement, maybe you should just double check that you are, in fact, alive.
Whether you’re fighting the black dog of depression, chronic pain, or just a 4-star hangover, we all have bad days: days when we’d rather stay under the duvet and listen to Leonard Cohen, days when we don’t feel physically able of pretending to be even remotely normal, days when you keep the curtain closed and watch reruns of 90’s sitcoms without ever cracking a smile.
The following tips are ways I have found of getting through the bad days (and no, I’m not just talking about the hangovers, although the balance of my bad days is unsurprisingly skewed in this direction). Please note that the following is not to be considered actual medical or mental health advice and that overuse of any of these techniques may result in you losing your job, your home, your self-respect and all of the fucks you have to give.
Let the bad advice commence:
1. Be your own cheerleader
And give yourself props for everything you successfully accomplish today. You got out of bed? You’re a champion. You showered, like with soap and everything? Way to win at life!
When days are dark, you need to make yourself feel good about the little things because…
2. The little things are important.
Everything you successfully tackle today is a tiny victory, a mini- win that will go towards bolstering your self-confidence and turning your bad day/ week around. Don’t do more than you think you can handle, but in saying that, you can probably still handle more than you think.
3. Dial down the A-type vibes
You don’t have to lower the bar on a permanent basis, but it’s okay to crawl under it occasionally. No one likes a slacker, but on a bad day, it’s okay to just get by. It’s okay to put the hard things off until tomorrow if they can wait that long, to cancel social plans, to put the chicken back in the freezer.
It’s okay to put in 80%, instead of 110% sometimes. Of course, no matter how much you might want to bug out of life completely on a bad day, there are some things that will still need to get done- but maybe they don’t always need to be done perfectly.
Want chocolate cake for breakfast? Want to read celebrity gossip magazines all night? Go for it. It’s all good. As long as your bad days aren’t an on-going, prolonged thing, you should allow yourself to revel in all of your nastiest vices every now and then. Skip gym, eat donuts, smoke a cigarette, re-watch every episode of How I Met Your Mother- do whatever it takes to coddle yourself with the things that make you feel comfortable and safe.
Spoil your inner child for a while- it’s knows where your happiness is hiding.
5. Put a time-limit on it
Yes, so far I’ve said you can slack off on your diet, your job and your personal hygiene, but slacking will only bring you relief and joy when you use it with restraint. Slacking all the time will ultimately become a reason in itself to feel shitty.
Try to limit the really crazy breakdowns and crying fits to minutes, the sad-faced moping to the hours and your general downtime to just a few days. That way you can really let loose and stew in your own sadness- because you know the time will come to strap on your ass-kicking boots and get over it. Putting a time limit on how long you’re allowed to feel bad will also remind you that everything that’s making you feel crummy (even when the ‘everything’ is actually ‘nothing’) is temporary.
Soon, you’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be great. You’ll get off the couch, wash your hair, eat a piece of fruit, do some sit-ups and head out to take over the world.
But right now it’s okay to put your ‘best life’ on the shelf so you can get by with a normal one.