Lessons #32 & 33: On Being Good at Bad Days

by Rachel on October 12, 2010

First, lesson #31: do not schedule a pelvic exam for first thing on a Monday morning. It’s the surest way to get the week off to a rough start.

That was the dumb thing I did last week, and when yesterday morning rolled around, all I could think was, Why, Rachel, whyyyyyy? I mean, it’s not that that yearly exam is the worst thing in the world, but it’s not exactly fun. Plus I was going to a new doctor who saw her new patients on the other side of town. The exam itself was the fastest thing I’ve ever experienced — seriously, she got in and out faster than a JV football player losing his virginity — but I waited an hour for my appointment. An hour. That meant I missed the first two hours of my day at work when all was said and done. When I got there, I had so much to do, and even though I was planning to stay the extra two hours to make up for the morning, I still knew it was going to be tough to get everything done in that amount of time. And for some reason I was so tired, I felt like I was going to fall asleep standing up.

Quite often, starting the day with a stranger inside you can make for a very good day. But yesterday, I clearly had a bad day on my hands.

But…I’ve gotten pretty good at bad days! So now, I bring you today’s lesson: how to be good at bad days.

  • Hide. Seriously, when you’re having a bad day, be alone as much as you possibly can. You have the right to have a bad day but you don’t have the right to be a way-too-stressed-out biatch to everyone around you. It’s not their fault or their problem that you’re having a bad day, so put yourself in solitary confinement as much as possible. Luckily, I could hide in the studio as much as possible yesterday and didn’t have to interact with people too much. Not only did this help me get my work done, but sometimes you just need to be alone. It’s OK to just shut your door.
  • Say no to just one person. Bad days often come from feeling overwhelmed, so when you’re having one, say no to that person who asks you to do just one more little favor. Say it nicely, but say it firmly. Saying no will help you feel way more in control of your day, and the world isn’t going to end. Remember that some things just aren’t your problem. On days like that, remember that you have 99 problems but your coworker’s problem ain’t one.
  • Reach out when you’re ready. Sometimes you need to be alone, but other times you need to call in your support system. Around 1:00 yesterday I e-mailed Eric a long string syllables because I couldn’t form actual words and confessed that all I wanted to do was get chewy oatmeal raisin cookies and eat them in bed until I fell asleep. I asked him if he wanted to come over for dinner. He sent me a really nice e-mail back that made me smile and said he’d come over for dinner. I’m pretty sure he only agreed so I wouldn’t go the cookie route, but I appreciated it nonetheless.
  • Work it out. The last thing I wanted to do after all that was work out, but I also knew that if I didn’t, I’d probably feel even worse about my day. So I sucked it up and did Core Fusion Cardio and even though it’s so tough, it was what I needed to do. It gave me a temporary energy boost, and I don’t know…there’s something about doing hundreds of mountain climbers that just helps. It just feels good to move and be physical when you’re having a bad day.
  • Talk — but not about your bad day. Right after my workout, I had a coaching session, and it was great! It felt good to talk to someone else about what was going on with them, not what was going on with me. I honestly forgot all about being tired and cranky.
  • If all else fails, know that this video will not ever let you down.

Seriously, there were many days in college when Julia and I were sitting in our room bitching about life and I’d just put that song on and we’d bop around, instantly feeling better. It really helps. It helps even more if you play it via headphones while you walk to class. I mean, you feel a little crazy, but I’m telling you…it helps.

You know what else helps?

Cooking — but last night, that was a bit of a cluster because the cashier at Kroger didn’t give me one of my bags (“second time he’s done this today!” I was told when I called).

OK but you know what really helps?

When your boyfriend goes back to the grocery store for your green beans, onion, and garlic…and returns with cupcakes to cheer you up!

(Beer helps too. I definitely didn’t walk out of Kroger without that bag.)

The last thing that helps is keeping your eye on the prize: bed. You are probably having a bad day because you need sleep and anyway, why let a bad day go on any longer than it needs to? I was in bed last night at 10:15. This morning, I feel capable of interacting with other human beings again.

Here’s hoping Tuesday is better for all of us!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paige October 12, 2010 at 8:05 am

I love that video! I used to listen to that song on my way to work all the time.

(which suddenly makes me really, really glad that I’m not in the service industry anymore)


2 Emily October 12, 2010 at 8:29 am

hahah that song just made my sleepy and cranky tuesday morning :)


3 Angela @ A Healthy Fit October 12, 2010 at 8:41 am

So true! I need to remember these the next time I’m in one of those moods. I usually do pretty good, but every now and then I just lose it on some innocent bystander. Can’t wait to watch the video at home. I’m not sure I know that song.


4 Michelle October 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

Rachel – this is unrelated but I had downloaded Mochi Beats FOREVER ago and finally listened to it today during my run. AMAZING!! I loved it! Thanks for a great recommendation.


5 jessica October 12, 2010 at 9:45 am

I love how you qualified it as faster than a JV football player — like the varsity dude would take his time and be all loving. Hahahahahha.


6 Joyce October 12, 2010 at 9:50 am

Thanks for the first laugh of the day with ” seriously, she got in and out faster than a JV football player losing his virginity”… oh Rachel. Checking your blog right when I get to my office always puts a smile on my face. You’re freakin hilarious. Love it.


7 Jodi October 12, 2010 at 10:01 am

Ooh, I am usually humming that song to myself at work on those awful days! I need to remember your tips the next time I feel that way. And your JV football player line? Classic! Thanks for the giggle :)


8 Blair @ Mindful of Me October 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I am definitley with you on the “Hide” tip. I had a bad day last week, and being in my own little world was the one thing that got me through.


9 Kendra October 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Today is so one of those days. I have a bunch of stuff to do that I normally really enjoy and I just don’t want to do any of it. I’ll be embracing the “hide” part of your advice.


10 Rachel October 12, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I love that post! It’s so true…all the little things add up and I 100% agree with you about “hiding.” I feel bad for all the friends I’ve been monster-esque to on my bad days.

P.S. That cupcake looks oh so delicious, and pretty too! What a good boyfriend!


11 Retta @ RunRettaRun October 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Totally agree w/ you on limiting interaction w/ people when having a bad day. It means I’m less likely to commit murder.


12 Trinidad Pena October 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I agree! The best thing is seclusion! Followed by sugary foods, followed by sex (which is when to break your seclusion)


13 Ashley October 12, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Nice! This reminds me of another post of yours, I think when your car broke down, that I could really relate to about how you hated when shit would happen and it turned everyone in your family into snippy messes with each other. It’s important to keep it all in perspective.


14 Zora's Mom October 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Is the Core Fusion Cardio a class or a DVD? If it is a DVD, then where can I get it?



15 Rachel October 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm

CF Cardio is actually a live class that you can watch via YogaVibes. I LOVE it! http://www.yogavibes.com/ (Also, my readers get 20% off with the code shedding20.)


16 Zora's Mom October 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm



17 Rachel's Mom October 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I’m glad I finally figured out how to fix the sound on my computer because I’ve never heard that song before. So funny….two hundred pounds of satan!


18 Smash @ Appreciate The Now October 12, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Music helps me through a bad day, specifically at work. I put on some Beatles music and zone out… definitely helps me not snap at co-workers when I’m in a mood, too.


19 Aj October 13, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I didn’t comment on this post when you posted it because I was actually having a “not so bad” day. Today has been one of those days. I had decided to not go to an after-work lecture even though it would be good “networking” (so I could go for a run, which I didn’t do this morning so I could sleep in, because I was up all night with insomnia because I thought I could sleep without my meds…see how it all started?) and then I got called with a request involving the lecture. I definitely thought of you when I said “no, I am unable.”


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