Earlier 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!