Reflecting on the first 3 months of 2021: Part 2 – How I dealt with bad days

In Part 2 of this blog series, I will be talking about how I dealt with extremely hard days. Like nearly everyone else, the first 3 months of 2021 came with very difficult and stressful days. However, I genuinely felt that I dealt with those type of days reasonably well upon reflection, even if I couldn’t prevent them from happening. In this blog post, I will talk about 4 ways that I dealt with very hard days, which is also relevant for post pandemic life.

I acknowledged that I had a bad day when they happened

I wrote a blog post about acknowledging low feelings for what they are, and the link can be found here. What I said in this blog post applies for acknowledging bad days as well. In most cases, the first step to moving forward after a bad day is to accept that the bad day happened. I am not a fan of sugar-coating difficult and stressful days, as I personally believe that I would be better off by being fully honest with myself when I have had a bad day. Furthermore, accepting bad days for what they are meant that I wouldn’t beat myself up for them. As someone that struggles with anxiety, if I beat myself up for every bad day I had, then I would essentially be giving my anxiety what it wanted. Therefore, it was really important to remind myself that bad days were inevitable, and that it doesn’t reflect on my ability to deal with difficult situations.

I took into account the bigger picture

Sometimes it can feel like a bad day is detrimental and that it ruins progress. However, when you look at the bigger picture even in the short run, then bad days can be seen as something that is part and parcel rather than something that ruins progress completely. Regarding the first 3 months of 2021, I always felt that I was fairly on top of my deadlines at work, and on top of my revision when it came to studying. Therefore, I didn’t need every day to go amazingly well, and I knew that even a few bad days won’t be detrimental to my progress. Reflection was extremely important in helping me see the bigger picture, as it helped reassure me.

I set some time aside to reflect on what I could do to make the next day a good day

Looking back, I felt that it was almost always the case that a really bad day would be followed by a somewhat productive day. What played a big part in this is that I would actively set aside time at the end of a bad day to reflect and think of ways to make the next day better. One such thing that I did to give myself the best chance of having a good next day was to write a to-do list which gave me something to work towards. I strongly believe that setting this time aside at the end of a bad day showed that I was determined not to let the bad day get to me. It is so easy for a bad day to be followed by another bad day, which can start a vicious cycle. Therefore, it is important to set aside time to avoid that vicious cycle from starting, and ensure that a bad day can be followed by a good day.

I was realistic in what I could achieve in that day

When you are having a bad and stressful day, it is very likely that you are going to be not as productive than if you were having a good day. That was certainly the case for me, and one thing I always told myself in the middle of a bad day was that I needed to be realistic in what I could achieve for the rest of the day. If you are having a bad day yet you are still being ambitious on what you could achieve for the rest of the day, then you tend not to meet your expectations for the rest of the day which only stresses you out more. Unless something is urgent, the chances are that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if something wasn’t done in that particular day. For example, it wouldn’t matter too much if I didn’t get much studying done on a day which wasn’t going well, as I could always make up for it on another day. In fact, it was better for my wellbeing if I was realistic in the amount of studying I could get done, rather than forcing it.

How did you deal with bad days in the past few months? Comment on the comment section below!

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