cover photoBad days. You know how sometimes, you just have them?

Well, luckily, yesterday turned out ok. But, it most certainly started off as a potential “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” In fact, it came so close, that it reminded me of this blog I wrote several months ago after narrowly surviving a full-fledged, awful day. That post was met with great response, and so I figured it might be time to dust it off and bring it back to the light of day. So here goes:

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days

Yep. Weve all had them. And mine was yesterdaya Monday, OF COURSE. Without going into details, lets just say by 6:15am, it had already declared itself and I knew it was going to be a rough one. A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad one and in fact it was. So, ever committed to walking the walk in addition to talking the talk, I immediately triggered some mental fitness strategies for myself.

They were pretty successful, and now, about three-quarters of the way through Tuesday, I can feel myself getting back to myself. So, I was encouraged to write this blog post about how I got through my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad (bled into the next) Day.

1. Support Network: God bless em. One vague-ish post on Facebook and my friends were texting me to see what was up. I actually staved them off at first, but then knew I had to tell somebody something or blow. So, I ended up filling the ears and eyes of two separate girlfriends. Lord knows I needed it.

2. Nutrition: You know how stress steals your appetite? And or, just makes you crave cupcakes and carbs of any sort? Well, its actually your brain trying to get you to load the building blocks that stimulate the parts of your brain that make you feel better. But its really not all that helpful. So, I resisted the urge and instead made sure I ate a well-balanced dinner. You know, the kind you make the kids eat with a meat, a starch and a green vegetable.

3. Hydrate: I am admittedly very bad at staying hydrated. Doesnt make any sense, because I can definitely feel when my water intake has been inadequate. And OF COURSE I entered my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as the poster child for dehydration. So, I drank tons of water yesterday. I literally could feel fatigue improvement starting today (even though yes, my kidneys have been working overtime, pardon the visual).

4. Spiritual Connectedness: God bless the Mental Fitness is the New Sexy Campaign launch where I learned Sun Salutations just two weeks ago. I dimmed the lights in my bedroom and focused on my breathing for about 5 minutes. I followed that with several sun salutations until I felt the heaviness subsiding. I walked out feeling like I was going in the right direction.

5. Feel good strategies: Now this will differ for everyone, but I tell you what some loud classical music coupled with a hot shower has always been a magical formula for me. Last night was no exception.

6. Put some things on hold even when it seems like they cant: I had (well still have) some time-sensitive things I need to take care of, but I knew today just WAS NOT THE DAY. So, instead, I put those on temporary hold and tackled some smaller, less urgent things that have been pushed to the back burner for a while. The unexpected benefit was plenty of time to just be in the moment, walking down the street on a sunny day as I went from building to building taking care of business. And, when I finished, my to-do list was shorter which always makes me feel better.

7. Be explicitly grateful: So, my terrible days create their own little vicious cycle. At first, the day is just terrible because sometimes that happens. And then, the day is terrible because my attitude is terrible which I firmly believe attracts more terrible things la VICIOUS CYCLE. So, I made sure to make a mental list of things that were not going wrong. Admittedly, the list felt pretty short yesterday. But one was that awesome video call with my brother! Today, the list came a little more easily. And after about an hour of walking in the glorious sunshine of the day, I could feel my reflexively optimistic, grateful self returning.

And so there you have it. The one-million steps I had to take to get back on the road to me. Hopefully when your Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad day comes (I mean, to quote Nikki Minaj, no shade, but its going to happen), one or more of these strategies will help you get back on the road to you.

This original post in its entirety can be found on my website:

Nzinga Harrison, M.D.

A well-respected physician and educator, Dr. Harrison is the Chief Medical Officer for Anka Behavioral Health Inc. and serves as the Official Campaign Psychiatrist for the national Let's Get Mentally Fit!...

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