Yesterday, I had “my worst day”. I mean, not my literal “worst day”, because I totally see that worse could easily happen. And the day wasn’t as bad as the day I realized my business would have to file bankruptcy or as bad as the day I couldn’t make payroll, or as bad as the day I started realizing that losing our house was a very looming threat.
But you know that phrase, “On your worst day…”? It’s a cliche, I guess. We say, “On my worst day, I wouldn’t do that.” Or, in church sometimes I hear a speaker say something like, “God loves us, even on our worst days.”
Each application of the phrase has a different meaning. In the first usage, it’s implied that something bad has happened to you. In the second usage, it’s implied that you’ve done something bad.
Well, yesterday was one of my worst days on both accounts. Bad stuff happened, and I perpetuated the awfulness of the day by diving head-first into the spiral of a bad attitude.
I just needed to get it out of my system. (Excuse?)
I found myself asking, what’s the mindset for dealing with a bad day? There were some answers rolling around in my head, but thanks to my bad attitude, I was no where near attempting to apply them to my life.
But I’ve found the presence of mind to compile them into a list today, so if you’ll allow me to present: X things to do to get yourself out of a funk on your worst day.
1. Get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is our first line of defense. Did you know that a lack of sleep can actually cause your brain to experience trauma? No wonder new moms struggle with postpartum (myself included)! Sleep is essential. Without it, I wouldn’t be writing this post!
2. Go for a run.
I wish I was a runner. Sometimes, I pretend I am. Always, I know I need to be. But I hate sweating. That aside, I took to the streets for a job in 100 degree temps yesterday. I needed to sweat out the tears. If running truly isn’t your thing, hit the gym. But release those endorphins, somehow, someway!
3. Have a good cry.
Last night, I wanted to. I didn’t. I fought it off and stormed around the house and probably snapped at David a few times. Crying would have been better.
4. Understand your emotions.
Did you know that under stress, in fear or in hurt, people normally choose one of two responses: tears or anger? Think about that for a minute. The next time you’re angry, ask yourself if you are stressed, afraid, or hurting. The next time you’re crying, ask yourself if you are stress, afraid, or hurting. Tears and angry outbursts are just symptoms of a heart issue. Treat the heart issue instead of putting a band-aid on the symptom.
5. Tell someone.
But be careful who you tell. Not everyone can deal with your pain, and it’s not fair to put it onto the shoulders of someone who is not capable of helping you carry it or work through it. I made an odd choice and decided to tell the internets, in an instagram post. I don’t expect everyone who reads it to understand it, but I needed to get it off my chest. So, thanks, internets. And thank you to all the friends who texted in response. I’m so grateful.
6. Help someone else.
What? When I’m hurting? How does that work? I’m basically just saying, find the encouragement. We all have bad days. Bad, lonely days. If you can help someone on their worst day not feel so bad or lonely, I think we can call that a win. And let’s be honest, we’re looking for wins so we can climb out of this funk, right? Find someone else to encourage, and you’ve started to spiral up.
Maybe I should have led with this one, but it’s hard. I started my morning with prayer today, but only after I first found that good night’s sleep. It’s hard to go straight to asking for help when all you want to do is throw a spiritual tantrum. But I did, this morning. I asked for God to give me words, if there was something He wanted me to say. I asked for relief from our current circumstances. I prayed for wisdom and clarity, energy and blessings.
Maybe, if you’re still feeling like it’s easier to be in tantrum mode than prayer mode, you can steal some of my words and ask for those things. I don’t think God cares where you get the words; I think He cares that you’ve taken the time to ask. It’s a sign of humility, an act of submission, acknowledging that He’s in control and you’re done trying to control it.
And maybe, from His perspective, it wasn’t your worst day. Maybe it was your best day. Maybe all those hard things that happened are laying the groundwork for better things ahead. Maybe He’s got me/us, right where He wants me/us.
My friend Donald Miller has written: Most people try to avoid suffering, but those that accept it as a reality and seek to redeem it live a more meaningful, impactful life.
Taking your worst day, finding the good in it, that’s a redemptive perspective. And THAT is a necessary mindset not just for an entrepreneur, but for a human who wants to thrive.
This post is third in a series on developing the mindset of an entrepreneur:
My heart is in a good place right now.
It’s full of contentment and generosity and it feels safe. Loved. But not in an armored sort of way. It could be hurt again, and my head knows that and is posting all these warning signs.
The road I’m on is one that was called to love, and right now, that’s easy, because I feel like the people that matter know me and love me, and that’s what makes a heart feel safe enough to love others.
And for so many reasons, I don’t want to leave this place.
I want to anchor down, right here, and claim that I’ve arrived.
I have enough, I am enough, and I’ll circle the wagons right here, thankyouverymuch. But that’s not what hearts were created for — they weren’t made to drop anchor and set up camp.
They were made for a journey, a transformation, a call to the action of love.
So instead of setting up camp and calling this comfortable zone my end-all and be-all, I’m acknowledging that I feel safe and loved, and that means that the call to open arms and love harder and give more freely is just around the next bend.
I’ve got to admit, it’s a bit frightening.
I very easily find myself holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, rather than fully enjoying the good that’s present in my life.
Brené Brown describes it perfectly.
If you ask me what’s the most terrifying, difficult emotion we feel as humans, I would say joy. How many of you have ever sat up and thought, ‘Wow, work’s going good, good relationship with my partner, parents seem to be doing okay. Holy crap. Something bad’s going to happen’? You know what that is? When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding: ‘I’m scared it’s going to be taken away. The other shoe’s going to drop…’ What we do in moments of joyfulness is, we try to beat vulnerability to the punch.
Anticipating tragedy doesn’t protect us from it when it comes our way. It just robs us of the moments of joy we could be experiencing right now.
The best way to combat those thoughts when I catch myself fearing the future rather than leaning into the joy of the present is by practicing gratitude. Choosing to focus on what I am thankful for redirects my attention and reframes my perspective. It doesn’t dissolve the fears, but it helps me not give them undue priority with my thoughts and emotions.
In the busyness of this holiday season, it is so easy to get swept up and distracted. Friends, let’s choose — together — to stop and savor the moment. Commit to pausing more. Practice gratitude. Slow your breathing. Refocus.