When a day does not go as planned it can be hard to process. Even when a day turns out better than we thought it can be hard for our brain to figure out what to do with that information and in turn how to act on it.
When a day does not go as planned and brings up emotions you were not anticipating, acknowledge them. Do not try to push them down and ignore them. You may not understand what you are feeling, and that’s OK. Allow yourself to feel however you feel, be honest with how the day has affected you.
- If today did not go as planned and everything went wrong
- If today did not go as planned and you feel worried about tomorrow
- If today did not go as planned and you do not know what to do next
- If today did not go as planned and everything went right
If today did not go as planned and everything went wrong
Know that all is not lost, this is just one day out of many. Acknowledge that it was a bad day, you do not need to ignore that fact that the day was tough. You are allowed to take the time you need when you have had a hard day.
A bad day is a reminder that we can keep going
You have had hard days in the past and you have kept going. It doesn’t make it easy, but it is a reminder that you are stronger than you think you are.
A bad day can be a chance to laugh at how absurd the world is
When you hit every red light on the way to work, spill coffee on yourself, forget to bring lunch, and can’t remember everything you wanted to talk about in your presentation, laugh at the comedy of errors. Laugh at how if you tried to have that many things go wrong you could not have planned it better than the universe did. Laugh because sometimes there is nothing else to do at the end of a bad day.
A bad day is a time to take stock of the good and positive things you have in your life
It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it can be important and helpful to think about the good things you have in your life. This can range from the bigger items such as having a car that can take you on trips or a roof over your head, to smaller pleasures such as soft sheets, quality chocolate, or good headphones so you can have your own dance party without disturbing others.
What you can do
Think about making a list of things that can help make a bad day better. Keep the list someplace easy to find, such as on your phone, so that when you have a bad day you have some ideas of what can make it better.
A new puzzle you have waiting for you
A package of cookie mix waiting to be baked
A playlist of songs that make you want to dance
A list of episodes of a TV show that always make you laugh
Cards from friends and family that you can look through
A list of friends and family you know you can count on and can call when times are tough
If today did not go as planned and you feel worried about tomorrow
Uncertainty and not knowing what to do next can paralyze us and make us feel like we can’t go on
Know that your feelings are valid. It can also be easy to ignore those feelings and push the worry down, knowing we will have to eventually deal with it but not wanting to right now.
Even in times of uncertainty there are things that can help ground us, there are things that we can control.
Write down your worries, talk with someone, or talk out loud to yourself, do not keep your worries inside your head. Talking about them can help you work through your worries and put them in perspective.
Sometimes we are worried about things that upon a deeper look are not nearly as big a deal as we make them out to be.
Working to put your worry into words can also help you figure out what exactly is making you worry, and put it in perspective. Sometimes we feel worried and don’t know why, but with some time we can start to get a sense of what is causing the worry. Streaming of consciousness writing or speaking can help you break your thoughts down. Getting to the heart of the matter can make it easier to figure out the path forward.
Actions you can take
Put your worries into words.
I am worried about my presentation tomorrow
I am worried about paying my bills
I am worried about the future
Once you have broken down your worries, try to come up with specific questions that get to the heart of your worry.
How do I remember everything I am going to say during my presentation?
How do I even start making a budget?
How do I stop worrying about the future?
Use these questions as a starting place to make a plan on how to address what you are worried about. You can talk the questions through with someone or you can do some research on your own and look them up on the internet.
Know that you are not the first person to have these worries. It can be helpful to see that others have had the same questions and have insight to offer.
If today did not go as planned and you do not know what to do next
There are times when life can feel overwhelming. Perhaps there are big changes, new opportunities, or there is simply too much going on. Whatever the reason, there are times when it can be hard to figure out our next steps.
It can be easy to feel that we are alone, untethered, and without a direction. We can plan things out as best we are able but life will always throw us curveballs. Sometimes we are able to go with the flow while other times we cannot get our bearing.
Take stock of your options of what to do next. This can be hard to put into words. It can take some time to form full thoughts. Those thoughts may not always give a clear direction on what to do next, but they can help us see a fuller picture to better decide what to do next.
We may not even know what our options are for the future or we may not want to face what our options are. Write down what you know. If you feel you don’t know anything, write down your questions.
Actions you can take
Take stock of what you have control over. When you feel lost, when you feel that you are floating, hold onto the things that you can control right now.
Things you can control
How honest you are with yourself
Asking for help
The breath you take
How you talk to yourself
The movement your body makes
When you feel more grounded and have a sense that you do have control over some things, think bigger about what else you may have at least some control over.
Bigger things you have control over
Where you live
The hobbies you have
How you choose to spend your time
The people you keep in your life
Use that as a starting place to start thinking about where things are right now and where you might want them to be.
If today did not go as planned and everything went right
Take the time to enjoy the day. Spend as much time as you can in the moment.
On good days we may spend time worrying about the day being over and end up missing out on the day itself; work to remind yourself to be here now.
Do not spend your time thinking about how tomorrow might not be as good as today. Tomorrow will come whether we worry about it or not and we cannot know what tomorrow may bring.
Our lives are filled with good days, bad days, and lots of days in between, when we have a good day we should enjoy it for all that it is.
When this day has passed it can become the memory of what any day in the future might bring. Knowing that there have been good days can be a way to help us get through the bad days and the hard days.
Let the unexpected joyful day bring you happiness and contentment. As humans we can spend too much time worrying about good times ending and not enough time enjoy them.
Actions you can take
Capture the day as a reminder on hard days that sometimes really good things happen. Take some pictures, write yourself a note, make a playlist. There will be bad days in the future, but there will also be good days.
Use today as a reminder that there is only so much planning we can do, but there is unexpected happiness and joy that happens along our journey through life.