What we are tempted to do when things get hard often doesn't help -- but these things can.
If you are alive and a human, I can guarantee that you have hard days. Sometimes something as small as a mixture of bad weather and a few frustrating encounters with people can turn your day sour. But there’s often more at play, too. Depression and anxiety are huge problems worldwide, and most people with mental health problems remain untreated. You may struggle from one of these disorders and not even know it. That being said, whether you’re struggling with a bout of real depression, or just having a lousy day, there are proven ways to make your day better.
The temptation most of us have when we experience sadness is to focus inward and dwell on what is going wrong. And the best way to get out of that rut is to turn outward instead. One way to do that is to do something constructive when you feel like you need to do something to numb the pain. Binge watching Netflix or getting some kind of buzz will not help, as that only relieves the ache temporarily, and leaves you feeling just as sad when the experience is over. Instead, try creating something. If you can’t summon up enough energy to do an activity you would normally love to do, explore something new.
Here are a few ideas to try on your next bad day…
1Try baking a loaf of bread.
It’s okay if you’ve never done it before. Here’s a great recipe that it is easy to get right on the first try. Not only will you have created something tasty, your whole house will smell amazing. And if you’re trying to eat less bread or can’t eat gluten, bring the loaf over to a friend or neighbor and get a little bit of the high that doing something unexpectedly nice for someone else brings.
2Create some positive interactions with people.
If you’re having a bad day, you probably don’t have a lot of conversation topics rolling off your tongue. Instead, call someone just to read aloud a chapter of a humorous book or google a few jokes to tell them. Use your best accent or a voice that isn’t your normal one. You can even just record something on their voicemail if they don’t answer. The act of reaching out and making a connection with someone will in turn help you. And if you’re trying to be funny, or sharing something funny, you have the benefit of laughter in the mix.
3Exercise for 8 minutes.
Pretty much every study on improving your mental health will suggest that you “get active, exercise, get outside!” This is of course very helpful advice that has been proven true time and again. However, when you’re having a bad day, usually the last thing you want to do is move around. And if the weather is bad (rain, snow, cold, you name it), it can be very hard to drag yourself to the gym–if you even have a gym membership to begin with. So, here is a free eight minute ab workout that you can do in your own home. The music is terrible, and the outfits are dated, but it is easy and it IS a workout. All you need is internet connection and a floor. Exercise will help you get endorphins flowing, so give it a try.
4Learn how to yodel.
It requires minimum effort and materials. You need your voice and some youtube tutorials. But, it pulls you out of yourself if you’re actually working to figure it out. And honestly, your attempts might be pretty funny. Maybe that’s what you should do when you call a few friends. Show them your first attempts at yodeling, and laugh with them at yourself!
When bad days strike, turn outward. Create things or experiences rather than numbing your emotions and shutting down. The more good habits you practice when your day turns south, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the next set of bad days.