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Go ahead, have a bad day!

Categories: Balancing Act, Your life

4 comments

woman-stressed-out.jpgEarlier this week I had one of those days. We all got up 20 minutes late, which, at least in our house, meant that the morning was much more rushed. My husband and I managed to get on each other’s nerves before he left for work, which was probably due to the fact that we were both over-exhausted. After I dropped my daughter off at school I tried to multi-task by making her dinner and working at the same time, which resulted in one burned pot (yes, one of the new ones we recently splurged on), one ruined soup, a big mess in the kitchen, and a work phone call gone worse than it should have. A series of difficult and/or unpleasant work phone calls and emails followed — you know the kind — the babysitter was late, the coffee shop where I usually work decided to close early, and it was raining. By 4pm I was starting to lose it.

The few attempts to make myself feel less anxious and stressed — make a to-do list to get my anxieties under control, think positively about things that are working out, take a few minutes to do something I enjoy — failed to make a dent in the way I was feeling. And that’s when I made an executive decision to just go ahead and have a Really Bad Day. I wasn’t going to try to fix it, to get productive, to feel better. I was just going to let it be.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog you might have noticed that normally I try to be the can-fix kind of gal. If something is going wrong I try to change the course and make it better. If I am failing at something I try to improve it. I try hard to make things work, at work and at home. I used to think that it’s the right thing to do. But I’ve gained a whole new perspective and this sums it up:

Sometimes you’ve got to give yourself a break and just have a bad day.

I can feel the self-help experts nasty stares on my back, but I think that this idea that we can always do things to reduce our stress and anxiety, to improve the way our days are going puts too much pressure on us. We should definitely try to do them and many times they can work — I am the first to say that if you’re feeling down, go for a brisk walk outside — but sometimes the day just doesn’t go our way. And when that happens I think one of the ways to deal with it is to let it.

When I feel down and stressed and anxious I find that part of my stress and anxiety comes from my inability to improve how I feel. And it’s a vicious cycle — the stress I feel about not being able to reduce my stress stresses me out more. (This post definitely breaks the record for the use of the word stress, I just know it.) So why not allow ourselves the rare luxury to just have a bad day and not fight it? The work-life juggle is hard, there’s always a certain degree of chaos, and I think we need to learn to give ourselves a break and not expect to win every battle.

Am I totally off the mark? Have you ever just had a bad day and let yourself be in it, as unproductive and stressed as you were? Or do you think this is a terrible idea? Share your thoughts in the comments!



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4 comments so far...

  • I think you’re right - I’ve done it too. Some days you just have to take a write-off (to put it in accounting terms ;-)), and let them play out. They may improve toward the end, but don’t pressure yourself to make that happen. Scarlett O’Hara was right about one thing - “Tomorrow is another day!”

    Florinda  |  October 24th, 2007 at 11:39 am

  • I agree with you Nataly and I think it is unrealistic to expect so much from ourselves. When I am having one of those days I just let it ride. Love your Scarlett line Florinda. :)

    Meri  |  October 24th, 2007 at 2:14 pm

  • i think the key words are ‘dont fight it’ because you are right, that just gives you more stress! if everything you are doing is to stop one action so that you can ‘get back on track’ that is a tremendous ammount of pressure! I find when all that isnt working is that i stop and take a deep breath and just say ‘you know, maybe today i need a break from all this pressure/stress/droppingthings/burningstuff/runningintofurniture/etc.

    sometimes i think it’s our subconsious way of saying YOU NEED SOME DOWN TIME! like it or not! like when my body decides it is too sleep deprived and i dont hear the alarm going off for an hour! so yes, i think it IS important to give in once in a while :)

    Kate  |  October 24th, 2007 at 4:03 pm

  • I am in full agreement on allowing those days to simply play themselves out. I think it occurred to me sometime last year when I was watching my kid have a tantrum and realized that I couldn’t fix this one. She was actually justifiably upset (i don’t remember why at this point) and that it didn’t make sense for me to NOT allow her to just live in whatever emotion she was experiencing. I was secretly wishing that I could lie down and wail myself! ( I normally try to talk her down, but I realized that I didn’t want to talk her out of being upset, just out of handling it in a particular way). It is a beautiful thing to be able to be frustrated or angry and to just ride it out till things shift because they invariably do. Like Nataly said, the day comes around eventually and forcing the fix just makes me feel inadequate for not ‘handling’ things better.

    For me getting to that point is usually an indicator that I need more exercise, more time in my studio, more time figuring out what it is that I want to be doing for myself that I’m not. (and that i might be blaming everyone else for)

    dancinmama  |  October 30th, 2007 at 4:32 pm

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