A couple of years ago, not too far back, I went through one of the worst phases in my life. My career was going nowhere, I could hardly make ends meet, my family life was in shambles and whatever I touched seemed to turn to ash.
How did this happen? I had always taken life seriously and worked hard for everything. I took great pains to see that my work/life balance was good and that I spent quality time with my husband and kids. I was definitely not a spendthrift – in fact, I was a bargain hunter and tried my best to save what I could.
At work too, I was conscientious and always worked from my heart. I knew I was putting in more effort and worked longer hours than anyone else in the office, so why was everyone else getting promoted over me?
Why was I feeling so depressed and helpless, so misunderstood? It was a bad time, and we all have them. While the circumstances might differ and the specific problems may be different, this one thing is for sure: everyone has a bad day, or week, or month.
When we’re in the middle of it, it can really feel like we’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that both the good times and the bad are always passing away. What’s important is to remember this. Here are 11 tips to help you that got me through my bad patch…
1) You are not alone. It happens to everyone.
When you are struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you are going through. ~ Nicholas Sparks
This is something so simple and yet so profound. Each one of us tends to think of ourselves as the center of the whole wide universe and we feel we are the reason for its existence — right? Wrong! No matter how special we think we are, or how rotten life has treated us, we also have to realize that what happens to us will also be happening to many, many others. So, if we are having bad days, so are others! So is everyone! While they don’t occur all at the same time (thank god) it’s impossible to be human and not experience them.
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
Bad days happen no matter how much we try to avoid them or how hard we plan for that perfect life we have envisaged in our mind. Accept this fact and your road to recovery starts right there.
2) This too shall pass.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18
Once we accept that bad days happen to everyone, the next most important thing to realize is that all problems are temporary and that this too shall pass. If you look back at your life and remember some of the most harrowing times you went through when you thought life was absolutely the pits, you will realize that it is now just a distant bad memory and that you survived. If we hold on long enough, bad days will move on, leading to better times. The secret is in knowing this and plodding on. Never give up, for it is only in stopping to try that we truly fail.
3) Look at the ‘half-full’ part. Be positive.
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. ~ Helen Keller
A sure-shot method to get through a bad day is to look at the positive side of life. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and cursing your bad luck or even trying to pin the blame on circumstances or on others, count your blessings. Look around you and open your eyes to all the suffering. You will be surprised to see the problems people have. Young children or adults with life-threatening diseases, abuse, abject poverty, orphans, destitute — the list is endless. When they can get through life with hope for a better tomorrow, why can’t you?
List out all the things you do have. Also put down your problems on paper. Sometimes it helps you get a perspective on things. Will being positive solve your problems? Maybe or maybe not, but it sure will help you move along and feel less depressed.
4) As long as you are alive, there is hope.
However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there is life, there is hope. ~ Stephen Hawking
What better words of wisdom than these! Life is the greatest gift of all and as long as we are alive, there is always hope for the future – a better future. We should take this as a sign of what can be and start working towards success – success at relationships, success at work, success with health and fitness – success at whatever we aim to do.
This feeling of joy at just being alive brings in its wake wonderful strength, capability and an ability to see answers in places you never would’ve thought possible. This joy is infectious and soon you will be raring to go. Your problems will seem small and surmountable and bit by bit you can start working towards getting rid of them.
5) Keep trying – never, ever, give up.
No matter how much falls on us, we keep ploughing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear. ~ Greg Kincaid
Many a time, it is when all seems lost, that the end is near. One of the best ways to overcome bad days or times is not to dwell too much on things that are wrong, but rather to keep trying. Work towards your goal, don’t keep checking for success or results – just keep on going. You will be surprised at how much you can achieve this way.
Just like a seed needs time to take root and grow, so also do good times. If you keep uprooting the sapling to see how much it has grown, there is every chance that the plant may die. So also, if you keep thinking of the results, you may never really put in the full effort needed to get them.
Giving up because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat.
6) Can’t see the wood for the trees?
Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at your life, in order to take a step forward and move on in it. ~ Rashida Rowe
When we are embroiled in troubles, we are so caught up in them that we can’t think clearly. We see everything through the lens of those problems and no other way. We lose our power to think clearly and reason properly. At times like this it is very important to take a step back to really see the big picture.
Maybe your problems are indicating something to you, maybe there is a lesson to be learned; and because you are so involved, you are not able to see it. Move away, take a deep breath, remove yourself from the immediate circumstances and look objectively at the situation. You might see something so stark and wonder why you didn’t see it before. Separate your emotional responses and recovery will be much easier.
7) Divert your attention.
The 3 Cs of life: Choices, chances, changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.
The best way to get objectivity back into your life is to divert your attention to something more enjoyable and engage in some mood-lifting past times; something that will take you away from the tyranny of the here and now. Music is the best stress buster – it gives you something else to think of – something pleasurable. Choose something peppy and fast and, before you know it, you will be tapping your feet and moving with the beat and your mood will be upswinging massively.
Watching a movie helps too – get involved in other people’s lives – away from your own. I sometimes watch a really sad and emotional movie and let the tears flow. All the pent up emotions come tumbling out in the comfort and privacy of your home. Jogging, Gymming, brisk walking – any sort of physical exercise helps too. Think happy and soon you will be happy.
8) Analyse the situation. Make an action plan.
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. ~ Nelson Mandela
Be realistic. Your current problems must be the outcome of some wrong decisions or paths. Think about it with a clear head. Analyse the pros and cons. Come up with an action plan to pull yourself out of the mire that you seem to be in. Once you make a plan, follow it scrupulously – point by point and be patient. The world wasn’t made in a day and your problems are not going to be solved in one either. Don’t be disheartened by slow progress or by people pulling you down with words. Have faith in yourself and the reversal will definitely start!
9) Find a shoulder to cry on.
Please don’t give me advice or tell me what to do. I just need you to listen to me. . . and love me. I’ll figure this out. I promise.
Most times, when you have a bad day, you just need someone to listen to you vent your feelings without being judgmental, someone you can talk to about your worst fears, your raves and rants. Just the feeling that there is someone who is for you, no matter what, gives you the strength to fight your demons. Sometimes when you hear your worst fears voiced out aloud you see sense and realize that you were unnecessarily worried or depressed.
10) Feel good about yourself.
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. ~ Brene Brown
Bad times make you feel bad about yourself and your self -esteem plummets to unimaginable depths. The best way to pick yourself up from those depths is by doing something to make you feel good. Pamper yourself – a day at the spa, treat yourself to lunch at your favourite restaurant, take in a show or movie, buy yourself a little something – if you don’t look after yourself , who will? We are often our own greatest critics and we pull ourselves down more than others do. Stop wallowing in self- pity and shake yourself out of the mental state you are in. Once you feel you can, anything is possible.
11)You are the master of your own destiny.
Choose to listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else. Do what you know in your heart is right for you. It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one else can walk it for you. And be sure to appreciate every day of your life. ~ Melchor Lim
When you are faced with one of those days when nothing goes right, remember that if ever you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm. You are the master of your own destiny and what you make of the life served to you is totally your call.
Everyone’s a star and deserves the right to twinkle. ~ Marilyn Monroe