Have you ever just had a really hard day? One of those days where you’re just not quite sure if you’re going to make it through? As counselors, we often ask our clients what the ratio of bad days to good days is. Are you having more good days than bad, or more bad than good? The truth of the matter is that even if we are having mostly good days, we all have hard days every now and then. And sometimes, when those hard days come, it can feel like you just hit a brick wall going 100 miles per hour. But what if we all did a little prep work for those days? If only we had some sort of game plan, maybe they wouldn’t take such a toll on us. Just like a medic doesn’t show up to a crisis without any sort of action plan in mind, maybe we shouldn’t show up to life’s hard days without some sort of plan on how to deal with them. I’m not saying we all should have a detailed plan for every possible devastating scenario that MIGHT happen. I’m saying that on days when you wake up and feel stuck in one of those “slumps,” and like you just can’t shake it, you could have a game plan for how to cope and take charge of your day instead of letting it take charge of you.
So, think about what works for you when coping with stress or sadness. Maybe it’s taking a quick walk, maybe is spending some time on your knees in prayer, maybe it’s a hot cup of coffee and chat with a friend, maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s a good run, maybe it’s cooking. Whatever it is, think of the most useful or relevant one first, then think of a few more. Think of options that are realistic in a busy, normal day-to-day schedule. Write them down and put the list in a place that’s easily accessible. Because when we confront a hard day, sometimes you need to have a cheat sheet. Maybe write down a few “I’m having a really crappy day” bible verses or encouraging quotes that will be uplifting to you and stick them in your “Crappy Day” box so you can pull them out in a time of need. But here’s the trick to all of this…you have to actually follow through with your action plan! What good is an action plan if you don’t use it? And if you’re someone who feels like the hard days are outnumbering the good, please reach out for help so that you can find your way back to a healthier balance–we are here for you! For the rest of you, take some time to think about what you need most during those hard days, so that on those days you don’t have to feel so stuck–you have a plan for how to turn that bad day into a good one, and a way to make sure you keep having more good days than bad.