“Yesterday’s the past and tomorrow’s the future. Today is a gift which is why they call it the present.”–Bill Keane

It’s 6 am and the alarm rings. Some folks can pop out of bed, jump in the shower and go about the day. For others, everything seems to go wrong. You oversleep, miss breakfast, and try to keep the kids on target for school. You spill coffee on your best clothes and then get stuck in traffic. By the time you get to work, a stack of new work files are piled on top of your desk. You begin to feel the world is out to get you and are just stressed out. But what if you could start your day over at that very moment before you tackled those files?

What makes a bad day? Is it a number of little things that aggravate you or one big thing that pushes you over the edge? Put things into perspective. Losing your job and relationship in one week is totally different than what I described above. But it’s all about perspective and how you see the world.

You can start you day over at any time.

Yes, you can start over. Take a deep breath and realize there is not a committee of people conspiring for you to have a crappy day. How you respond to disappointment can make all the difference in the world. Bad days affect your motivation if you expect the next circumstance to be as bad as the last.

What to do when having a bad day

Be proactive. 
Say out loud, “I’m having a bad day” and get it out of your head. If you try to cheer yourself up before accepting that you are in a bad mood just sugar coats the situation. Release whatever funk you’re in and start again. The fact of the matter is you don’t have to wait until the alarm goes off tomorrow to change how you see today. Write down 5 things you are grateful for in your life. Really feel connected about what you are writing. Take charge of how you see your day.

Don’t add more to do.
This is not the day to add more tasks than you can handle. It’s OK to say no to extra work tasks when you have the choice to do so. Give yourself a break. Being stressed can bring on exhaustion. Take care of yourself and stick to getting the basics done, including eating well and taking breaks.

Plan a mini vacation. This can be anywhere from doing a guided relaxations technique to the beach to planning a beach getaway for a weekend. Put a picture of the beach on a screensaver. Feel your mood start to lift when you are resting on the beach in the sun. Put as much detail to the situation as possible.

Check your thinking. Oftentimes, having a bad day means everything is going wrong. But it’s really how you are seeing the world though your bad day glasses. It’s just too easy to overlook the good things about your day when you are in a bad mood. Maybe it’s a sweet hug you received from your mate this morning. Or the smile and thanks you got from the person who served you coffee this morning. Try not to lump everything that has happened to you as crummy. There have to be positive things, too.

Don’t take it personally.
This is so important to remember when having a not-so-stellar day. Like I said before, you were not on someone’s bad day committee list. Shift your thinking from being a victim to being in charge of your day. It’s not all about you. Give back to someone and watch your attitude change. You hold the key to turn around a bad day and starting over.

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42 thoughts on “How to Turn Around a Bad Day and Start Over”

  1. What a nice reminder . . . "You can start your day over at any time".  Once the energy of a bad day starts, it's easy to ride it down the spiral to overwhelm city.  Thanks for the clear, simple reminder that we can turn things around at any time.

  2. Great tips – especially the one about not taking it personally. Sometimes when you're having one of those days that you feel everyone is against you, it's hard not to take it personally! But really, it makes more sense to separate the personal feelings from the facts and just deal with it accordingly. 🙂

  3. Great tips; it’s always possible to start over maybe not in the way we thought initially things would go, but if we start over in a more relaxed and more in control over ourselves we are ready to go for it again.

  4. GREAT article =) 
    Yes, I do often let the bad days get to me, but the older I get the more I can turn it around. 

  5. Yes, we are free to change things at any time.  Sometimes just recognizing that it's a lousy day can break the cycle and start turning things around. I love the mini-vacation idea. I don't usually do the beach screen saver, but taking the dog for a walk can sometimes be enough.

  6. Terressa Cortez

    Great advice and tips. Thank you for sharing. We often need reminders that it is possible to turn things around.  Things don't always turn out as planned but if we stay positive that can turn out better than we ever planned.

  7. Great advice, Lisa! I especially love that you say give yourself a break rather than trying to power through a bad day. It's good to be gentle with ourselves during tough moments. Thanks for sharing this!

  8. Carolyn Hughes

    I really do need to remember what you said here!  -"You hold the key to turn around a bad day and starting over."

  9. You're so right, Lisa! I find myself having to "start my day over" more often than I'd like to admit. But keeping a positive attitude/outlook on it helps tremendously. Great tips, Lisa, thank you!

  10. I especially like your comment "shift your thinking."  That is sometimes all it takes.  Once AWARE that we are continuing to have a bad day with our own thoughts, we have the ability to make a shift.  As always, love your posts!

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      Thanks, Martha! It’s amazing to know we have the choice to shift our perspective

  11. Oh I had a bad day yesterday ! A Panic attack in the grocery store!!! I was so ashamed. But I had planned ahead what to do..And started my breathing and to see myself somewhere else! It worked! I did it!! Thank Lisa I used Tips I got from you to help me get through my attack and I didn't run ! Bought the groceries and made dinner..;) Love you sweetie!

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      I’m so sorry you had that happened but you worked through it! So happy for you! Love you bunches!

  12. Sure you weren't at my house yesterday?  Funny thing is that I DID say, "Okay, world, this is not going well, but you're not going to get me down.  One step at a time, nothing's fatal."  An innocent update of a plugin on my website corrupted all the code, and took my web person 24 hours to sort out.  And then things started piling up …  Amazing what a little perspective will do!

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      OMG Sharon. glad you got that all sorted out! But you shifted how you looked at your day-amazing!

  13. Love, love, love this! That is the wonderful thing about starting out by having a bad day, is that we can change it into not only a good one, but a Great one. Thanks for your wonderful tips.

  14. I love the metaphors you are using here "The bad day committee" and "bad day glasses", both apply to bad days and our attitudes toward them so well.  I'm gonna remember you when I have a bad day, it's bound to happen!

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      Thanks, Sherry.It is bound to happen but having tools to change the day makes a difference!

  15. Great info!!!  I recently found out that my son is allergic to his school, so he is home with me 3 weeks earlier than he would have been for summer.  It is only our second day together; 8am and I have already started my day over a few times…ugh : /

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      Oh dear! that is stressful. Lots of deep breaths! Allergies have been so rough this year.

  16. Awesome and timely post for me. I am under a lot of stress right now. I was writing out a list this ,morning to play catch up and was overwhelmed just doing that. So..I started over, shortened it and all is well:)

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      Great news, Anita! You are such a strong woman- and you have surrounded yourself with the same.

  17. Great advice Lisa! I use the "starting over" technique quite often when things don't go as planned. Sometimes venting it all in my notebook helps, but when it's a really bad day I love the fact that I work from home because I can go take a nap and physically start over again when I wake up. 🙂

  18. Great article Lisa! So many useful tips, indeed we can start over any time and with your wonderful advice … it is so much easier! 🙂

  19. "Start the day over any time" Love it! We all have our bad days, but being able to start over is a great way to turn things around. No need to let certain events ruin your whole day.

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      Absolutely, Kathy. We do all have bad days and this takes practice. But it’s so worth it!

  20. Wow, Lisa, I've never seen anyone write about this topic before!  What an amazing list you have created.  This one's a keeper for me, since I've never figured out how to get out of a bad day, other than going back to bed! LOL

  21. I can so relate to this Lisa. For me it's always a series of small things that seem to snowball into a bad day. I try to get a grip on it and mentally start the day over as you say. Thanks for the reminder that YOU are in control of how your life goes.

  22. Love this Lisa!  Fantastic suggestions to maintaing a positive outlook, even on those not so great days!  Love it!!

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