You ever have those morning where you wake up and everything just feels good?
You're blankets are the perfect temp, the sunlight streaming through your window gives your room that warm glow, you beat your alarm clock by seven minutes, and you just feel ready to face the day?
I call them unicorn mornings: beautiful and rare.
I was blessed with one this morning, but then I had work and things went south.
Funny how that happens, isn't it?
Cheap tables, skimpy tippers, finicky patrons, upset chefs – it all just snowballed into a prayer that went something like, "Dear Lord, this day needs to end now. Please let 4pm come quickly, and give me the grace to survive until it does. Amen."
The unfortunate reality is that, try as we may, we really don't have much control over the circumstances of our day. Things happen and people are unpredictable. Popcorn shrimp looks suspiciously like chicken nuggets. Mussels come in all shapes and sizes. And even if you're from Brazil, ice-cold draft beer from the tap only happens in the commercials. That's just how life goes.
The fortunate reality, however, is that even though we can't control all the circumstances of our day, we can control how we respond to sucky days. Actually, it's the only thing we can control.
I'm far from mastering this, and I'd venture a guess that it's a lifelong venture, but I've learned three strategies that help me face difficult days and I want to share them with you. (Plus, it'll help me reinforce them in my own life :)
StrategY #1: Practice Gratitude
If there's one thing I fail at on a consistent basis, it's practicing gratitude. From the roof over my head and food in my fridge, to friendships and the ability to work, my life is filled with so many blessings that, when my day is tough, I am quick to forget.
And if you're thinking to yourself, "Sure, maybe you're incredibly blessed, but if you only knew what I have to deal with...", then let me ask you: do you have access to food and drinkable water? Do you have a phone or some other device that lets you connect to the internet (I assume so if you're reading this)? If you said yes to those three questions, then congratulations, you've got it better than a majority of the world.
Practicing gratitude is becoming a lost art. In a culture that is so consumed with "the next best thing" and the constant inundation of doctored up social media posts, I would argue that we're slowly losing our ability to be content with what we have.
It takes practice, but focusing on the insane number of blessings in your life will pull you out of a funk real quick. Joy and contentment are the byproducts of counting your blessings, not wishing things were different.
Strategy #2: Remember that This Too Shall Pass
This phrase became a mantra of mine in the last two years, and it comes from a simple, ancient story.
To test the wisdom of the great King Solomon, a sultan from the East approached the king and asked for a sentence that would hold true in both good times and bad. To this, Solomon smiled and replied, "This too shall pass"
I love this story because it presents the reality of life. As much as we wish life was all rose-colored Instagram filters, the truth is it's not. It's a rollercoaster of ups and downs that we have to learn how to navigate. Fortunately, when we find ourselves in the middle of a sucky day, we can remind ourselves that "this too shall pass."
The beauty of this sentence is it also keeps you humble. Even when things are going absolutely amazing, we have to remember that "this too shall pass."
Keeping this in mind will keep you level-headed no matter what you're going though.
Strategy #3: Just Breathe
Meditation and mindfulness has leapt to center stage over the last decade. Once resigned to Eastern spirituality, you've probably seen all the apps and programs that ask you to sit still and just be for 30 seconds a day.
I don't know all the health specifics behind it, but I can tell you from experience that mindfulness and taking time to just breathe and exist in the moment is an insanely effective tool in combatting overwhelm and sucky days.
When you find yourself getting caught up in your head about how terrible your day is, take a minute or two to take some deep breaths and remind yourself that you are here now. In reality, the only time you have to live is in the present. Practicing breathing and mindfulness allows you center yourself in the moment.
Use breathing and mindfulness in conjunction with gratitude, and you've got a powerhouse combo that will help you fight through the suck.
So there you have it. Three strategies that will help you face a sucky day.
Remember that This Too Shall Pass
and Just Breathe
The key to effectively using these strategies is to practice them on a daily basis, even when you're having a great day. Practice makes perfect, and the last thing you want to do is wait until you're in the thick of a sucky day to see if they actually work.
So take five minutes right now!
Think through the blessings in your life and write some of the big ones down! Then remind yourself that life is short and fleeting, and both the good times and the bad times won't last forever. And finally, take some time to just breathe and remind yourself that you are here, now.
I'm telling you, these have been lifesavers for me.
I hope they are just as helpful for you :)
Stay awesome, and always fight forward.