We've all had stressful days. But some days can be particularly stressful, and require some extra efforts toward stress relief. When you feel overly stressed, the challenges of your day can pile up and feel bigger than they are, making "those days" feel overwhelming. The following tips can help you to de-escalate the stress you experience when you're having "one of those days," and turn a bad day into a day of promise.
Take A Meditation Break
A well-timed meditation session can feel like a mini-vacation when you're having an overwhelming day. Regular meditation brings cumulative benefits, but even a five-minute meditation can help put you in a better frame of mind so that whatever stressors come, you've got them handled.
Use Reframing Techniques
Sometimes stress is all in how you look at it! If you see something as a threat vs. a challenge, for example, it will bring more stress. If you're catastrophizing, 'shoulding all over yourself', or unwittingly using other cognitive distortions to add to the stress of your day, stop. (Hint: these cognitive restructuring techniques can help!)
It's Okay To Say No
Sometimes we have One Of Those Days because we have so many commitments stacked up on each other that one false move leads to a string of minor crises. One way to avoid doing this is to only take on commitments that are really important to you and directly help you fulfill your most valued goals, like 'keep my job' or 'be a good parent'. It's important to learn how to say no to other more periphery commitments, even if people will be disappointed.
Locate A Supportive Shoulder
Sometimes it helps just to have a sympathetic ear or an active listener to tell your troubles to, to 'get it out of your system', or to feel validated and supported. If you are someone who does better with the supportive ear of a good friend (and can avoid rumination when telling your tale), then go for it! Research on coping styles shows that social support can be a wonderful stress release, and can lower cortisol levels as well. So let your friends help you, and you can return the favor when your friend has One Of Those Days in the future.
Have A Sense of Humor
Laughing in the face of stress is a good way to rob it of its power. And, fortunately, there are other benefits of laughter as well. Practice maintaining your sense of humor on an overwhelming day and the world laughs with you!
A quick and effective way to feel much less stressed anytime, anywhere? Breathing exercises! Try taking a few deep breaths right now, and see how much more relaxed you can be. Then you can reverse your body's stress response, improve your mood, and press 'restart' on your bad day. Or at least suck some of the stress right out of it!