What to Do When You're Having a Sh*tty Day


You’re having one of those days.

You know, the kind where nothing's going right. You're exhausted, bored, frustrated, lonely, uninspired. All of the above. 

The kind of day that makes you want to pull your hair out.

It doesn’t feel like there’s much you can do when your day is feeling like such a mess – which only makes things worse. Right?

But you can do something.

What to Do When You're Having a Shitty Day

1. Take care of you.

First things first. What do you need to get through the day? 

An extra cup of your favorite coffee.

A moment to sit and take a few deep breaths.

Five minutes to yourself.

A short walk in the sunshine.

Whatever it is, take a few moments to do what you need to do for yourself.

2. Make a plan.

Once you’re feeling better (and your sh*tty day is finally over) start working on a plan.

Sit down and think about all the things you love to do that give you energy and enthusiasm. And the things that are restful and leave you feeling renewed and refreshed.

Now, write them all down!

Really. Do it. Even if it feels silly. Especially if it feels silly.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Spend time outside. There’s something renewing about being outdoors. You don’t have to hug trees or summit mountains to feel it either. Try simply sitting outside (on your porch or stoop, in your backyard, on a park bench) and noticing your surroundings.

  • Move your body. The word exercise conjures up visions of the gym. Instead, think about moving your body. It will open up new possibilities: practice yoga, go for a hike, take a walk, have your own personal dance party (a recent favorite of mine), do a 7 minute workout, ride your bike, hit or throw a ball. The most important thing is that its movement you enjoy!

  • Make something. Write, draw, knit, do a puzzle, color, paint, build something, fix something, cook a meal, plant seeds in your garden.

  • Connect with another person. As humans, we are wired for connection. And creating a genuine connection with someone is refreshing. Send an email to a friend you haven’t heard from in a while, or a quick text message to let them know you’re thinking of them. Take the time to make eye contact with people – at the coffee shop, in the checkout line, in a conversation.

  • Get the hell off the internet. Put down your laptop, tablet and phone and back away slowly. There are so many other things to do: read a book, snuggle with a loved-one, listen to music, practice doing headstands, be bored (when was the last time you did that?), meditate, do a crossword puzzle, listen to an entire album (remember those?), take a nap, do nothing (yes, that's a legitimate option).

Now here’s the important part. Use your list!

The next time you’re having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, grab your list. Pick something. And do it!

When you are deep in the trenches of a day that has become a hot mess, you’re not in the right frame of mind to brainstorm. It’s easier to turn it around when you don’t have to think too hard.

And in case you’re sitting there rolling your eyes (I see you!). I want you to know, I have my very own list and I use it.

All. The. Time.

I’ve done this exercise with clients and they walk away feeling like they have a new tool to transform their day.

Pro tip: don't just reserve this list for sh*tty days. Everything on your list can make a decent day better and a good day great.