How to Bounce Back from a Really Bad Day

We’ve all had a bad day. I’m not talking about the days when we get hit with bad news like an unexpected diagnosis or are involved in an automobile accident.

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Those are not pleasant either.

I’m talking about those really bad days when it seems every hope and dream we ever had just gets sucked right out of us. They fly away and leave us despondent, depressed, and wishing we had never gotten out of bed in the first place.

And the worst part is that we usually feel as if we’re standing by helplessly, watching the day spiral from bad to worse. And every minute we do nothing, we feel guilty – which only makes the day worse.

That scenario has happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. Just recently I experienced a wonderful weekend, full of family blessings and hope for the future. I entered Monday excited about my upcoming book launch and full of ideas on how to help Christians think, live, and lead an authentic life.

And then – Boom! Gone. And I felt as if I were imprisoned within myself, watching the day go up in flames while I sat on the fire extinguisher whining to myself about why the day sucked. And hating myself for doing nothing.

A few slammed doors and self-loathing tantrums later, the day was over and I had accomplished nada. Zilch. Zero. Ugh.

Maybe you’ve had one of those days?

How do you bounce back after having a bad day like that? Clearly, I still struggle with them, so here are a few basic steps I have learned to stop the free fall and bounce back from a bad day.

6 Proven Steps to Bounce Back from a Bad Day

  • Identify what triggered the bad day in the first place. Something sparked the change in your perspective on the day. It might have been an interaction with a spouse over an unresolved issue, a testy exchange with a child, an email, or even a dream that raised an issue you’ve been trying to avoid. Whatever it may be, pause to drill down and identify what got the pity party started in the first place.
  • Eliminate access to the trigger if possible. You have a few options here in regards to the trigger, depending on your circumstances. In my recent bad day, what triggered the downward spiral was an interaction I can minimize in the future. If you can’t eliminate the trigger, you may need to face it head-on to resolve it. The one thing you cannot do is allow it to continue to disrupt your life. Either get it resolved if or get away from it.
  • Acknowledge your role as an accomplice. We are in charge of our moods and how we choose to respond to what God permits to cross our paths. Denying our culpability in having a bad day only makes it worse because then we feel guilty about lying to ourselves. We know when we’re at fault. So get over your pride already and just admit you acted like an idiot. Everyone else already knows it.
  • Reignite your faith in what you know to be true. At the core of almost every bad day is a crisis of belief. We stop believing what we know to be true and start trusting in what we see, sense, or feel instead. So restart your beliefs. Reconnect with your faith. For me, that means reengaging God’s Word and asking His Spirit to renew a right spirit within me.
  • Return to your most productive habits as quickly as possible. I have an ideal week schedule that includes daily spiritual growth, physical exercise and structured creative writing time. After I have a bad day, it is critical that I get back into that winning cycle right away before the bad day becomes a bad habit. Put the power of habit to work for you to pull you back onto solid ground.
  • Engage your strengths. After a bad day, you could use a shot of self-confidence, a reminder of how God has wired you for greatness. Carve out some time to engage what you are good at. Be intentional about creating a win for yourself the very next day. For me, that meant writing this very blog post. For you, it will be something different. Whatever it may be, create an easy win to rebuild your confidence in your God-given strengths right away.

Question: Do you ever have bad days? How do you bounce back from them? Share your thoughts by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or otherwise unhelpful.