Bad Day? – Stay Neutral and Restart Tomorrow

dog looks sad on sofa
My dog doing an impression of me on a bad day.

Yesterday wasn’t a good day for me. I don’t know why exactly. I sometimes struggle with depression and anxiety. Maybe it was that. Perhaps my diet was lacking. Or possibly my body just needed a break. Regardless, I was sad and lethargic and unproductive.

We all have such days. Whether your goal is to save more money, eat healthier, exercise more, or start a business, not every day is going to be a stellar success.

From the outside, it can look like successful people have this amazing amount of willpower, more energy, better time management, or some other secret factor that makes them overcome all obstacles. While the rest of us, judging ourselves from the inside out, can feel like frauds or failures. A minor slip-up can send us into a spiral of negative thoughts:

I will never accomplish my goal, why should I bother at all?

Is there a way to avoid making the problem worse? Yes.

I think of it as the neutral method. Just coast along for a day. Don’t do anything. This way you can prevent one bad day from interfering with you accomplishing your long-term goal.

In the money example, let’s say you felt bad and to cheer yourself up, you bought something you can’t really afford. Do you decide that your budget for the month is screwed, so you might as well buy something else? No. You just stop. Figuratively sit on your hands. Do nothing. Wait it out. (And return the item if that makes sense. If you are me, you’ve already eaten it.)

For my business example, do I immediately start looking for jobs? Do I cancel all my software subscriptions, give up my lease, and say, “Well, I guess that’s it. No entrepreneurship for me.” No. That would negate all the time and money I’ve already put into my business.

The rational part of my brain also knows that this bad period won’t last forever. Monday was great. Maybe Wednesday will be great again. Or Saturday. Eventually I’ll be mentally back to full power and would be supremely disappointed if I had destroyed everything I’d been working towards, because of a bad mood.

You can do the same. Just wait it out. Allow yourself a reasonable treat. Do something fun and/or mindless. Just rest. It’ll be okay. This one day doesn’t matter. It can just be one grey day in the spectrum of your whole life.

Side Note/PSA:
Of course it is important to recognize the difference between one bad day and actual mental illness or other health concern. If you are depressed enough to lose your rational side, feel suicidal, or your dark mood lasts for more than a day or two, tell someone else. Tell your partner, your friend, your parent.

When I was at my most anxious ever, this January, I found out about the University of Alberta Hospital Psychiatric Unit out-patient program. You can get assessed there almost immediately. A hospital volunteer, plus this service, helped me immensely. If you are in the Edmonton area, this is a good option. I’m sure similar programs exist in all areas. I know that it’s the hardest thing ever, but ask for help. People want to help you.

Back on topic, if you don’t think you have a serious problem, but just a blip in your life, wait it out, don’t worsen the situation, and consider the next day to be a reset.

It is persistence that makes people successful; not perfection.

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