We all have bad days, even chipper ol’ me! Whether or not your bad day is fitness-related, here are some ways to cheer up, move on, refocus, and recover from a bad day.
1. Look Ahead
If you are feeling discouraged about your fitness progress (or apparent lack of it) or a number of other common problems, the issue may be your perspective. We tend to focus on how much farther we have to go rather than how far we have already come! So don’t feel down because you haven’t yet reached your goal – celebrate that you have taken steps toward it! All progress is worth celebrating – every workout, ever healthy choice, and every incremental step along your journey.
2. Be Gentle
Whether you made a mistake or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, don’t pay for it twice by obsessing over it and making yourself feel even worse. Take responsibility and make a plan of action to fix whatever needs to be fixed, and then be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat a close friend. Feel angry, sad, or glum for a while if you need to. We all miss workouts, eat treats, and make other decisions that aren’t perfectly in line with our goals sometimes, and that is just fine! It’s part of life.
3. Take a Break
Sometimes, a dreary mood that won’t go away can be a symptom of burnout. Change up your routine for a few days and make sure you are getting enough rest. Take at least a 20-minute break from your heavy schedule and take a walk outside, watch some lousy TV, read a favorite book or funny website, play with a pet, talk with a good friend, or do anything else that makes you happy and relaxed.
4. Pamper Yourself
Take your break a step farther and pamper yourself in a healthy way. Don’t feel like cooking? Get some healthy takeout (in Houston, try Snap Kitchen, Ruggles Green, or any of the other spots listed on the Resources page)! Feeling sore? Take a long, warm shower or bath, spend some time stretching and using your foam roller, or spring for a massage if you can manage it. Try that juice bar you’ve been driving by for weeks, change your manicure, have a home spa afternoon, curl up in a fluffy blanket and nap, and do whatever else you need to feel well taken care of and nurtured. Resist the urge to drown your feelings in unhealthy treats – just take care of yourself instead.
5. Stay on Track
Don’t let your break extend too too far – take an afternoon or a couple of days to recover from a garden variety bad day, but don’t use it as an excuse to drop your healthy living goals and activities entirely! Exercise and healthy food are important for nourishing yourself, and I’m sure you take pride in your progress toward your goals (at least if you did step 1 on this page). Letting things slide altogether can make it even harder to pick yourself back up. If your bad mood is hard to shake, be sure to talk to a close friend or even consider a quick check-in with a professional. Everyone has bad days from time to time, but they don’t have to be the norm!
Remember, it’s absolutely normal and even useful to have bad days from time to time! Let yourself feel your feelings, then move on through some of these strategies.
Some other ways to kick a bad day to the curb: