Avoiding worse when a day goes bad

Have you ever had one of those really horrible days that seem to suck the life out of you? The kind that leaves you vulnerable to making things worse?

Several months ago, I had a doozy. I had let a lot of administrative stuff (read “taxes and accounting”) pile up until I could ignore it no longer. And none of it—none of it—I enjoyed doing. On top of that, my hard drive had crashed the day before and I was still trying to get software reinstalled. You get the picture. It was a mess and by the time I got home late that evening I was mess.

That’s when bad turned into worse. With remote in hand, I plopped myself on the sofa to watch some movie I had seen a dozen times before. This time, however, I brought a friend; a canister of Boston-baked peanuts. Before I knew it, I had eaten the entire contents of an 20-ounce canister. In my low-energy stupor, I trashed myself. And for days I carried those coalesced peanuts in my gut as a constant the reminder of that choice.

Since then, I decided to give myself some more healthy options. Posted on my computer monitor is a sticky note, reminding me of other things I can choose to start instead. It reads:

Out of energy? Try:

  • Reading a book
  • Organizing this desk
  • Reviewing your to-do list
  • Organizing your receipts
  • Cleaning up the garage
  • Exercise
  • Taking a nap
  • Listening to music
  • Writing a blog post

That little list has been a helpful reminder for those times when I’m out of the energy it takes to even think of better options.

Encourage another reader by sharing your thoughts: What are some ways you’ve found to help in low energy times?

6 thoughts on “Avoiding worse when a day goes bad

  1. Great article. Here’s a few things I’ve learned: Take a “mini-vacation” in my head no matter where I might be. Pause, clear my head, imagine where I’d like to be, push my chair back, let the phone ring, turn off everything, disconnect for 5 or 10 minutes and come back refreshed. Another tool is if my head is full of random and racing thoughts, I imagine it as a blackboard. Take out the eraser and wipe it clean. (If it’s really crazy, then wet the sponge and really clean it!). Close my eyes and take a deep breathe and start all over. The best tool I use
    is to say the Serenity prayer. Many a time in corporate America, a short trip to the lady’s room and say The Serenity Prayer. Reminds me who’s in charge of it all any way. And last, a couple of slogans….Easy Does It….Keep It Simple and How Important is It. Thanks for the reminders today.

  2. I don’t think I ever told you this, but your sticky notes on your computer have been a source of encouragement and inspiration to me for some time. This one, in particular, I think is brilliant. One I plan to copy when I move into my new place. 🙂

    Love you and looking forward to seeing you on Saturday and on Sunday!

  3. I like your idea of having a plan that is remembered by sticky notes before the chaos occurs. It seems that I too get caught and then can’t think on the fly mostly because I don’t realize that I am in the thick of things. In counseling we call it “Relapse Prevention’. So my commitment today is to make a list and post it on the refrigerator. The visual will cause memory recognition and prevent the slide into apathy. Thanks Leary!

    • Hi Stacie. Relapse Prevention? Didn’t know that term. That’s great! Glad there’s a name for it. I like your idea of putting a sticky on the fridge. Maybe I should paste a Relapse Prevention Note (RPN!) on the canisters of nuts in our pantry. Thanks for commenting.

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