Thursday, February 9, 2012

Managing the "overpowering, bad days"

Tonight I came across an article online on the site, MindBodyGreen, entitled "10 Things to Remind Yourself on a Daily Basis" by Madison Sonnier. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the most brilliant articles I've read in the online world of wellness in a long time. I thought: "this article could not be more relevant to my life right now."

The article began with the following:

"Bad days can be extremely overpowering sometimes. When we're having a bad day, everything feels wrong and the day seems to get even worse as we sink further into frustration and despair. By the end of the day, all we want to do is pull the covers up over our heads and block it all out."

When reading this, I felt as if I was hearing my own thought process being read back to me. I can't better describe what it's like to feel overwhelmed on a bad day. One bad thing leads to another, and another, and another, and you find yourself in a downward spiral of stress - you're on edge, about to lose it, and on the verge of a breakdown. EVERYTHING irritates you, large or small. You go to the grocery store (in attempt to fix your bad day) by getting the ingredients for a perfect meal, and when you get home you discover that you forgot to get spaghetti sauce. Your dinner is ruined. Just when you think your day can't get worse, you spill a glass of water all over your bathroom floor and clothes and your socks get wet. Now your world really is about to end.

Despite the reality that life will always be difficult (we will always have our good and bad days), it's good to remind ourselves that we can push through. The article captured this concept so well through the 10 daily life reminders. I will share four that I loved (for the record, I loved ALL 10):

1. Do not lose sight of what truly matters. Does that clogged sink signify the end of the world? Are you going to remember or even care that the stranger you smiled at in the coffee shop didn’t smile back? When we’re having a bad day, we seem to zoom in on petty things and complain about them. Next time you’re pulling your hair out over something, ask yourself if it really matters.

I absolutely LOVE this point. Sometimes, after a really bad day, the clogged sink feels like enough to cause a meltdown. I am someone who definitely tends to "zoom in on" petty things when I'm already feeling overwhelmed, instead of letting them go right off the bat. This week, I had a doctor's appointment, emissions test for my car, and bills to pay. Instead of just getting them done with a confident, can-do attitude, I zoomed in, making things worse overall.

2. It is okay to be alone or pull back from the world. Sometimes we just need to step back and re-evaluate a situation, a relationship, or just life in general. When I went through my healing period, I spent a lot of time alone as I tried to become my own best friend again. If you need to go into hiding for awhile and work on stitching yourself back up, take the time to do that. It is so important to pull back and spend quality time with yourself every now and then.

This has been a huge one for me this year. Learning how to accept when life is not perfect and be okay with removing myself from others - even when this means choosing to be alone instead of spending time with the people I love. I am a huge believer that if we do not spend sufficient time with ourselves (yes, this means getting to know ourselves every day, no matter how old we are) that it's very difficult to live a productive, peaceful, and happy life (especially as it relates to our relationships with others).

7. You are enough. All of us have had times in our lives where we have thought, “I’m not smart enough or pretty enough or strong enough or exciting enough to do _____.” Give yourself a chance instead of forming limiting beliefs.

SO TRUE. No explanation needed.

9. Your feelings will not kill you. I know that heartbreak, grief, depression, or resentment might make you feel like you’re dead and breathing, but you have the strength to get through whatever life throws at you. Hold on and see yourself through it.

There have been so many times where I've felt like my feelings are going to tear me apart. "Dead and breathing" is a pretty perfect description of that intense type of feeling we've all encountered at some point in our lives. The other night, I called my brother and told him how overwhelmed and stressed I was and he said, "Margie, you always do this to yourself. You are an amazing woman and it's going to be okay." I knew David was right (even though I was secretly hoping for a pity party).

One thing I've been working on is trying to have more confidence in myself to overcome bumps in the road right when my initial stress sets in, rather than allowing myself to enter into a lengthy dwelling process. The other day I went to my doctor's appointment (which I was NOT looking forward to). I was completely frazzled and anxious sitting in the waiting room, resenting and dreading every moment. I pulled out my journal, took a deep breath, and wrote down a prayer, asking God to bring me peace and give me strength so I could just push through for the next hour...and it worked. Whoever your "divine" is, or whoever/whatever you might pray to, I'd encourage you to ask for strength as you navigate through these types of situations.

In conclusion, be sure to read all 10 pointers. You will not be disappointed!

What is one method you can use to push through the overpowering, bad days?


  1. Great points. And certainly comes handy on a day like today. I especially like No. 1.

    1. yay! happy to hear. I really liked #1 too. it definitely summed up my week!

  2. I LOVE the one about being enough! It really is so true, although it can be hard to believe when you're going through challenging times :). When I'm having a bad day, I allow myself a little time to throw a small pity party, but then I try to brush it aside and focus on my blessings and the great things that are to come my way the rest of the day - it's a great mental exercise!