According to every news source ever created, Bill Murray and our resident groundhog (that we as a society decided was basically a deity in the 70’s- LSD, man), saw their shadow this past Groundhog’s Day. This means six more weeks of lovely, grey winter and likely, a bad day or two. Don’t you love the winter/spring transition? The grey slush slowly turning into creepy brown ice dusting the 2-inch thick, salt-coated used-to-be sidewalks … so aesthetically pleasing.
The grey-ness of winter contributes to widespread depression throughout the world. Also, winter sucks. So, even people without actual depression are much more likely to feel depressed, and therefore more susceptible to experiencing ‘bad days’. Except, when we’re having ‘bad days’ all the time and an entire bottle of red wine with your solo dinner 2 nights a week is turning into a 4 times a week-type thing, should we re-evaluate? MAYBE.
How to Make Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days Suck Less
(Adapted from book by author Judith Viorst)
A very under-rated children’s book, IMO.
Bad days happen to every single person in the entire world. There is not a soul that I know (to be honest, not really that many people- I did a Facebook purge last month). SO, let’s say I know about 1,100 people. Not one of them has never had a bad day. I can guarantee you that. A bad day can literally be triggered by absolutely anything.
Here are some tricks and tips to get you through your rockier days. Instead of going to the campus/local bar to preach to the bartender about the unfairness of patriarchy being spelled with ‘ch’ instead of ‘k’ because of gender neutrality, try one of these:
But first, a Zack Morris timeout.
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- Make a pros/cons list if applicable – for example, what are the pro’s and con’s of the fact that my professor extended he deadline on an essay, but changed the entire topic guideline? (Considering you’ve already drafted the old assignment and he’s being a stubborn dick and won’t let you use the old topic). Make a list about it!
- On that same note, make a plan for how you’re going to fix whatever is wrong, if it is fix-able. Try something like this for a helpful guideline about where to focus your priorities.
- Eat your favorite foods. Indulge. Whatever gets ya through.
- If you’re pissed off: Work out. Honestly just beat the shit out of the day with some good cardio.
- If you’re stressed: Time-permitting, taking a relaxing bath is ideal. Second best, the shower is your best option-super warm, smells really nice, and also if you get sad there’s usually room to sit down and cry. Score.
The tips and tricks below apply to a more severe type of bad day, but will definitely still brighten any and all bad days.
Intro to Dealing with S.A.D. / Anxiety / Depression – Based ‘Bad Days’
There’s a mental health issue known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), which basically affects mostly people in northern climates, or extremely southern. It’s a form of periodic-depression. This is because in places like Canada, we have a legitimate winter where the months of November through late-March are grey. I kid you not, the fucking world is in greyscale for 5 months.
You don’t leave your house because the air hurts your face, so you get legitimately ZERO vitamin D (usually recieved from the sun). This is the “cause” of S.A.D. A lot more people suffer from S.A.D. than the number actually treated for it (via UV lamps, medication if severe, etc.).
Seasonal Affective Disorder, as you know, is not the only prominent mental illness that can cause someone to have a bad day. The two most common are generalized anxiety disorder (‘anxiety’), and major depressive disorder (‘depression’). I personally have had both for years, so I have some experience. Thus, I’ve got some real world knowledge to spit at ya.
The Doctor’s Recommendations for ‘Bad Days’ (and how feasible they are):
- 30 minutes of cardio 4 times a week will reduce your anxiety
Internal thoughts: I legitimately can’t get out of bed and you want me to run a 5K. Yeah. Ok. Sure. Sounds very doable. Just do it. Nike. Yolo.
- If you stop drinking coffee before 6 AM (not a typo), your insomnia will probably go away
Internal thoughts: School will surely go well without caffeine. So well. So, so well.
- Practice deep breathing exercises to lower heart rate and reduce anxiety
Internal thoughts: Are you fucking kidding me.
It’s OKAY if you cannot do these things. No one can fucking do these things.
But, remember that there are so many more productive ways to distract yourself from your own mind aside from turning to vices such as hard drugs and alcohol.
My Personal Recommendations:
Listen to your favorite music (even if it’s from when you were in that 14-year old teen angst phase). Some of my personal favorites to bring on some good feels on bad days include:
Doctors give annoying advice. But, the exercise/fresh air thing is pretty legit- with some alterations. The city I live in is on a lake. So, there’s these cute little look-out points all over town. My personal favorite is one that requires a solid 20 minute drive (at least four, good, queued songs) and has decent sitting rocks. You know the type. So far, I’ve seen 3 adorable ducks. So. There’s that.
Walks are chill AF, too- weather permitting.
Coloring Books/Tactile Things
Think: the new Fidget Cube (which I legitimately own), which lets your mind calm down while your fingers work away at whatever it is you’re overthinking about. Actually works, and has sides that make no noise, making it the perfect option for the workplace or university classes.
Same deal goes with therapeutic coloring books- the goal being to distract your mind from negative thoughts via pretty colors and shapes. I also own one of these and they’re actually sick. However, I am convinced that I’m potentially color-blind because my mandalas absolutely do NOT look like the one on the cover of the book. They often clash in ways you didn’t know colors could. But whatever. It’s mind-consuming- all that matters.
Do something you love to do, or at one point loved to do. At least try.
This could be anything ranging from artistic realms of writing/reading poetry or literature to watching your favorite movie from when you were 16. Paint. Yoga. Cook. Juggle a soccer ball. Watch your favorite TV episode of all time. (Hint: The Office Series Finale never fails).
Similar to the advice above, write down what’s bothering you, and fucking doodle all over it until life makes sense again:
Real story about how I managed to study for my mathematical economics final. (Just as hell-ish as it sounds).
Sounds weird. Works like a charm. Whenever I’m feeling panicky or anxious and I know my medication is currently having a “bye, good luck today, sweetie!!!!”- style day, and I can’t get out of bed, I nap. And then I clean. Anything. If it’ll get you out from under the covers at 3 PM to re-organize ONE shelf, you’re done. Good job. Day done.
I understand how cripplingly difficult a depressive/anxious bad day can be. Give yourself credit for the little things.
Do not forget to drink water. Eat something.
Just as important: if you can, talk to someone. Or write it down. Try not to hold it in.
Stop being so god-damn hard on yourself. You’re doing great.
As always, xo, Raekwon
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