How to Turn Your Day Around

Lifestyle

“A bad moment doesn’t equal a bad day.”

I can’t remember exactly where I first heard or read that statement. And while the origin didn’t stick with me, the sentiment absolutely did. I remember both the relief I felt (whew! we can turn this ship around!), as well as the conviction (I’ve for sure given in and believed this lie in the past, and have let my day be declared “bad” by 10am – what a waste).

Notice the red flags…

Over the years, I’ve been able to identify small patterns in my heart, mind, and body that act as red flags that my attitude may need a reset.

Today, for example, I could feel my stress, anxiety, and physical limitations rolling in like dark clouds, threatening to overwhelm my perspective. My answers got short. My tongue got sharp. I developed a vague headache, and my heart rate was slightly elevated. I felt an almost overwhelming urge to isolate; not retreat, but kind of a lock-the-door-and-bury-myself-under-the-covers-and-never-come-out feeling. Noticing these things gives me a choice: do I continue down my current path, or change course?

Make the choice…

On healthy days, I change course. It is not instantaneous, and not simply a matter of shifting my perspective (although, yes). It takes some effort, and over the years I’ve found a routine I can go through that has a really positive success rate in helping me turn my day around.

  • Expose the lie: on days like this, there is usually a bad recording playing on repeat in my head. It can be broadly accusatory (“You’re a bad mother”), or painfully specific (“This project is going to fail”), and it never fails to try to pull me off course. It helps if I write the lie down, followed by what is true. For example, if I’m hearing “You’re a bad mother” in my head, I’ll write that down followed by “I love my kids and they love me” or something more catered to the day’s struggles. These types of thoughts love the dark corners of our mind, so bringing them to light robs them of SO much power.

  • Ask for forgiveness: Note that I did not say “apologize”. Truthfully, I have very little use for the phrase “I’m sorry” on its own. The response we’re conditioned to give to that is, “It’s okay,” when usually things are anything but okay! Go ahead and take it out of your vocabulary, replacing it with “It was wrong of me to {blank}. Will you forgive me?” There’s nothing like the stress and guilt of wronging someone to completely tank your day, so making proper amends to anyone you’ve hurt is an extremely necessary step in the process of turning a day around.

  • Complete a task: Sometimes the ever-expanding to do list in my brain just grows and grows until it feels like it strangle me (okay that was dark…but, listen, it’s not untrue). Writing things down helps me get ahold of reality, and oftentimes the list of things I actually have to do ends up being relatively manageable. From there I choose one thing – something that will take me around 5-10 minutes to accomplish – and I crush it. For me, it typically ends up being something cleaning-oriented, because I have everything I need to get it done, and the benefit of having a tidy space is major for me.

  • Freshen up: Do you need to shower? Put on real clothes? Brush your teeth or wash your face? Stop what you’re doing, and do those things. It will make you feel 1000x better, and somehow signals a reset to your brain.

  • Refuel: Eating a healthy snack or catching up on your low water intake is a great way to set things down a different path. And for those of you with kids, there’s nothing quite like an unexpected mid-day snack to win over the grammar school set (at least that’s true in my house of boys). Quick caution here: unless it is early in the day, I wouldn’t reach for something caffeinated. I love (LOVE) coffee, but remember that elevated heart rate I mentioned earlier? It’s quite common for those of us experiencing stress, and caffeine will clearly only aggravate the situation.

A note for my fellow Christ-followers reading: we have all heard Lamentations 3:22-23: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Does that mean if we blow it from 8-10am, we have to wait until tomorrow morning to receive that grace and forgiveness we long for and need? Of course not. His love for us never ceases and is never withheld. Turning to him in prayer, asking HIM for forgiveness and comfort, and relying on HIS strength moving forward is the ultimate way we are able to change the course of our days.

What about y’all? Any tried and true ways for slipping out of the funk and turning a day around? I would love to hear them, so drop all the tips in the comments!

xo,

sarah

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  1. Mary Lynn Eisenbarth says:

    Wonderful practical blog.

    Sometimes I have to “talk to myself” and NOT “listen to myself”.