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Back from vacation and I admit I am struggling a bit this morning. In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, it took all I had to pull myself up out of bed this morning. Partially because I am still experiencing jet lag and partially because in all honestly I am just not looking forward to my day. As I made my way from my nice warm bed to the bathroom, my head was spinning with negativity. I was feeling down right cranky. Cranky at having to get up out of bed, cranky at being done with vacation and back into the routine, cranky with having a to-do list a mile long and specifically cranky about the things on my to-do list today. Not feeling down or depressed just not wanting to do anything. Honestly, just wanting a few more days of vacation.
By the time, I had come downstairs and was greeted by my dog (even that didn’t pull me out of my mood) I was beating myself up for feeling cranky and for not enjoying my blessings, for not recognizing that I have it pretty good. I have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks and days. But this “you SHOULD be grateful” mini-lecture didn’t really help. Instead, I was now in a bad mood and feeling selfish. As I poured my cereal and made my coffee and started my morning ritual, I thought to myself, “what if you just went with it.” Just feel what you are feeling. Don’t talk yourself out of it, don’t beat yourself up just be. So I am. And you know what I feel better. I am not looking forward to my day; I still want to crawl back into bed, but I am not swimming in a pool of self-hatred and guilt. I know when I give myself space to feel my feelings I usually feel better. When I allow myself just to feel cranky, tired, in vacation hangover mode, I feel better faster. The problem comes in when I try to convince myself my mood is inappropriate or not valid.
The truth is we ALL have bad days. We all have days we don’t feel well, aren’t looking forward to, or just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. During these days our first reaction is to try to talk ourselves out of it, to talk ourselves into a good mood. One of the ways we do this is by using gratitude. We try to convince ourselves to be grateful. Gratitude is awesome, and I am a HUGE fan of being grateful. But somehow/somewhere our moods and gratitude got connected. I can be grateful AND tried and cranky. Gratitude is meant to help us gain perspective, to help us relish the little things and see the beauty in the every day. Gratitude can help us feel better and see our lives differently. But when gratitude or lack of gratitude becomes a way to beat ourselves up it is painful and unhelpful.
Today I am having a bad day. Today I am grateful for all my blessings for my dog, my house, my career, my family, and friends. I am grateful I get to write this blog and talk about living happier. Today I am both: Not looking forward to my day, feeling pretty cranky and grateful that I was able to get up out of bed and feel healthy. So I am going to hold both, I am going to allow myself to feel both blessed and cranky.
What are your thoughts on bad days? How do you help yourself feel better?