Have you ever woken up and within the first few minutes you already find yourself thinking, “Ugh, I just need to restart the day. Can I please have a do over?” I know I have.
Whether you’ve been up for one hour or you are already halfway through the day, bad days happen and unfortunately, no one is immune. The good news, however, is you can restart a bad day.
No, not so you can relieve the bad day over and over again—this isn’t Groundhog Day. We’re talking about doing an energy-clearing, fresh start ritual to your day so you can make it through the rest of your day without taking out your frustrations on everyone around you. Here are five rituals you can use to help you restart a bad day when you simply need a reset.
Why you should restart a bad day
Michael Ceely, LMFT and Licensed Psychotherapist says, “When you’re having a bad day, your brain’s circuits are stuck in a negative loop, so you need to break the circuit. You’re not going to be efficient if you keep brooding, so taking a few minutes to reset your day is worth it.”
Katherine Golub, MBA, PCC and career coach agrees. “If you don’t take time to pause and reset, it is impossible to discern what you really need and you’re likely to react in ways you later regret. Pausing allows us to take stock of what’s going on, reset your energy and make far better decisions.” Here are five super simple ways to reset your day.
How do you reset your day?
I know, I know, you hear this answer for almost everything nowadays. Feeling stressed? Breathe. Looking for better digestion? Breathe. Want a boyfriend? Breathe. (If only it were that simple!) There’s a reason “Just breathe” is such a popular phrase—breathing really works!
Breathwork activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response. This signals to the body it’s time to relax and rest. It basically undoes the work of the sympathetic nervous system, which runs the body’s fight or flight response, also known as the stress response.
If you are having a bad day, then odds are pretty high your sympathetic nervous system is working in overdrive. By consciously working on your breath, you can enjoy multiple benefits of breathwork including a clearer head, an overall sense of lightness and a profound sense of calm, all of which can help you restart a bad day.
2. Go for a walk
Getting outside, even when it’s cold, can give you a fresh perspective on the day. No matter what the weather, connecting with Mother Nature is beneficial emotionally, mentally and physically. Sometimes, you just need to shake up a bad day by moving. It’s amazing what a few minutes of fresh air and movement can do for you and your mood.
3. Make a phone call
“Would you like to phone a friend?” Why yes, yes, I would, especially on bad days. Sometimes, the act of making a simple phone call to a family member or friend on a bad day is all you need to reset your day.
Whether you choose to have a mini vent session about the day at large or you decide to talk about a different topic entirely to get your mind off of things, making a phone call and talking to a loved one can help change your perspective and elevate your mood to help get you restart a bad day.
4. Literally, restart
When you wake up and already need a reset to the day – take it! Forrest Talley, Ph.D. at Invictus Psychological Services, shares a brilliant tip. “Remind yourself that your day really does not start when you wake up. That is an arbitrary starting line. It could just as easily start when it is 12AM, or when you finish breakfast, or upon arriving at work. With this in mind you can recalibrate your perspective so that the day starts when you declare it starts. And if [the day] goes sideways, you simply call a restart to the day.” (Genius, right?)
Talley further explains. “They do this in Olympic races when a contestant jumps the gun. No reason you cannot adopt the same perspective for your day. You are in control, and if your day gets off to a false start, you simply recall the race and start again. This has the advantage of helping you realize you are in control and providing a fresh perspective.”
I saw a quote once that read, “When something goes wrong in your life, just yell ‘Plot twist!’ and move on.” The same could be said about restarting a bad day. Simply shout, “Reset!” and move along.
Okay, okay, this one may sound silly, but whenever I need to reset my day, it’s usually because I feel like I have lost some control in my plan for the day’s schedule. (Oh hey, Type A personality, right over here). I definitely get a ton of personal satisfaction from knowing everything is clean and organized, so whenever I need to reset my day, I pull out my vacuum cleaner and vacuum my apartment.
I live in a small space, so it doesn’t take long, but there is something so oddly satisfying about seeing those straight vacuum lines left behind on my carpet with every pass of the vacuum cleaner. If I can see those lines, I swear I feel like I can do anything. It’s absolutely exhilarating! (Don’t judge me, you know you agree.)
I swear I’m not off my rocker for feeling this way. I can prove it too! Kendal Cassidy, PhD and licensed psychologist says, “Research shows that even small boosts of positive moments create upward spirals. This means taking a moment to savor something small, find gratitude in something simple and allow curiosity to inspire you can all build into lasting boosts in mood. The key is to take advantage of that small boost in energy that you get from creating a single moment of positivity and turn it into intentional choices to continue building a better day.”
Now it may not be vacuuming for you. Maybe it’s accomplishing a small task like folding the laundry or washing the dishes. I am not asking you to do an entire overhaul and deep clean the fridge or spring clean your entire closet, but choose one simple task that makes you feel accomplished and use that as the catalyst to reset your day. Bonus: Your home will be better off for it because it will be nice and clean. Talk about a win win!
Restart a bad day
Let’s be real here folks. Bad days are a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean a rough start has to ruin your entire day. Cassidy has the best piece of advice for restarting a bad day. “Getting over a bad day starts with the intentional choice to take advantage of each new good moment in front of you.” The next time you feel frazzled or frenetic, restart a bad day by hitting the reset button with these five rituals to restart a bad day.
How do you reset your day? Tell us in the comments below.