Solved Challenge: 5 Ways to Survive a Shitty Day


Isabella Writes,

Every month I get a few of those days where I’m really feeling under the weather. Recently there are more of those days as “The Winter’s Coming”. And since I’m living in Denmark, where it’s cold, rainy & windy for 6 months, I get really affected by the weather.

A small disappointment at work or a tough day at home with kids gets me to feel completely down. Unfortunately, I can’t just hide under the blanket, so I was wondering if you have any tips for

How to survive a really shitty day?


Dear Isabella,

We all experience those days where we just want to bury ourselves under the blanket and pretend that we don’t exist. It gets even more tricky for those of us who have small kids, from whom you can’t really hide (unless you find someone else to take care of them). It is pretty common to have those days every now and again. We just have to be mindful of not running into a situation where in a long run those shitty days fill in more of our calendar than the awesome days.

We haven’t received too many details from you, so we don’t know what kind of job you do and how big your kids are. We don’t know what causes those difficult days, is it a phase in your life? Or maybe it’s a hormonal swing caused by something like PMS or even an influence of a full moon? It could also be caused by some deeply rooted issues that you haven’t been able to face (or share with us). There may be plenty of different reasons, some of them easier to “fix” than others. Therefore, we’ve prepared a few different options that you can choose from depending on your situation and on where your pain originates. Please read your Options below and listen to our podcast here


And here are our 5 tips for surviving a shitty day:

Option 1: Practice gratitude
Option 2: Be (or see) your best friend
Option 3: Address your difficult emotions
Option 4: Do something that you love to do
Option 5: Use the oldest medicine: laugh about it


Option 1: Practice gratitude

This may sound strange to some people but if you open up to it, it is something that really works. If you learn how to use it, it’s quite powerful. Sometimes a seemingly stupid event ruins our day and under the influence of unfortunate events, we simply forget how much we actually have. We, humans, tend to concentrate on the negative, or on what we don’t have instead of on the positive part.


Shift your Approach

Shifting your approach to what you Do have, is like looking at the world with completely new eyes.You can start by saying thank you for all you have, even those very basic things that we take for granted, like the internet, water running in the faucet, comfortable bed, nutritious breakfast. Just because we are used to having them every day, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t really lucky to have them. And it really depends on us how we see it.

Here is a really wonderful movie showing how to awaken the gratitude

For some of us, it works even better if we go for a walk, if only possible to a place with at least some nature, and start noticing all the small wonders around you.

Ok, I know you’ve mentioned that you live in Denmark and it’s windy, rainy, dark and cold, but we live here too, we know that even in the winter time you can find those small wonders of nature (you just may have to spend some time looking for them).

And if outside it’s really bad, as it often really is in winter time in DK, take advantage of “hygge” and create your cozy atmosphere at home and buy yourself a beautiful plant to stare at.


Write Down Things you’re Grateful for

Another type of gratitude exercise is to write down what you are grateful for in regards to that situation or person that contributed to your “under the weather feeling.” So, for example, if you struggle with your kids, write down all the good & beautiful things related to kiddos. And if it’s very difficult to start, remind or imagine yourself having a great moment with your kids, stay in that moment for a while until you begin “feeling it” and then start writing down all you love about having them.

You may feel a bit funny at the beginning when thanking your eyes for opening, or for your toilet for flushing. However, with a little bit of practice, it will begin to bring results just like exercising your muscles at the gym. If you manage to open up and stay consistent, you’ll achieve the long-term benefits of feeling gratitude.

Disclaimer! If a reason for your shitty day is caused by some deeper issues that really need your attention, writing down a few reasons why you are grateful will not solve those problems for you. Being grateful is always a good idea, it’s one of those beneficial life-long strategies for living a fulfilled life, but it’s still just one of the ingredients, so you are not going to do yourself a favor if you’re attempting to cover up real pain by trying to impose gratitude.


Option 2: Be (or see) your best friend                

Ok, sometimes, if you’re having a really shitty day (or period), you may first need to let go of your frustration, before you are ready to move on to the gratitude practice. This is where being or seeing your very good friend is a great option. As you may benefit from venting for a while before you are ready to let go of difficult emotions.

Regardless of the reason for that crappy day, having a conversation with a very good friend may have a therapeutic effect. And it doesn’t really matter if your friend is another human being, your cat, or yourself. It doesn’t even matter if a conversation is face-to-face, recorded or written, what matters is that you take the time, are gentle with yourself and address your emotions. And if you do go for selecting another human being, make sure that it is someone who really knows how to listen and is not quick to give advice and fix your issues for you.

We shouldn’t underestimate having real friends in our lives. Studies show that people who don’t feel left alone with their problems tend to live longer. It is so deeply beneficial to surround ourselves with caring and positive people. So make sure to take care of your “safety net” or circle of close friends. On the shitty days or during bad periods in our lives, a true friend may be the best medicine.


Be Your Own Best Friend

Another thing is that in general learning to be your own best friend, instead of beating yourself up on those crappy days, is an amazing, yet not so commonly practiced, approach. After all, you are the only person with whom you are spending every single day of your life. It is therefore SO important that we listen to ourselves, like ourselves and have fun with ourselves, just like we do when it comes to our best friends. I believe that it’s the second ingredient to living a fulfilled life, next to gratitude.


Option 3: Address your difficult emotions

We humans are not very good when it comes to dealing with difficult emotions. Many of us would rather get rid of them or avoid them, would rather do ANYTHING else than facing our real inner issues.

Unaddressed negative emotions don’t just turn into nothingness, they actually tend to get stuffed into our sub-consciousness and sooner or later explode like that ball that has been kept under the water, when your hands have finally gotten too tired of keeping it down. No-one really teaches us how to deal with negative emotions, we are not encouraged to process them proactively, therefore many of us don’t even know how to cope with them.


Don’t fall into “Be Positive” Trap

We have been hearing & reading that we should always be positive, but I actually find that approach harmful. We should, of course, try to see the glass half full rather than half empty, but if we feel like shit on the inside, it’s much healthier to deal with it rather than to cover it up with a fake mask of positivity. I don’t mean indulge in it forever, but allow yourself to be with your difficult emotion, gather the information about what really causes you to feel so bad, address the issue and then let go of it.

Dealing with negative emotions is a BIG topic, we could write a separate book about it. Until we do, I’d like to recommend an amazing podcast by Brooke Castillo. Her approach to dealing with negative emotions has been life-changing for me. 

Ep #8: Owning Negative Emotion

Probably one of the most important pieces of life coaching and weight coaching is figuring out how to own your negative emotions. The ability and willingness to feel negative emotions can be very difficult and it tends to bring up huge levels of resistance for many people.

And if those shitty days keep coming back like a boomerang, it may be a sign that your sub-consciousness is trying to speak to you, to tell you that there really is something that needs to be addressed. It could be accumulated difficult emotions, unhealed traumas from the past, it could really be that it’s time to have a look at your life. Are you truly happy with yourself and your life? Maybe a time has come to make some changes?


Option 4: Do something that you love to do

When you have a one-off shitty day, you can try to fix it by indulging in something that you really love doing. Depending on your mood (and maybe also the weather?) it can be anything between reading your favorite book, eating something really delicious and going mountain climbing (ok, that’s out of the question in Denmark :D).

Whatever you love to do, can potentially fix your one-off crappy day. You should maybe be mindful of one thing: is that something REALLY good for you? For example, eating ice-cream may feel like something wonderful at the beginning, after you’ve finished a one-kilo package, you may actually feel worse)

However, if you notice that a shitty day is a repetitive event, that tends to increase its frequency, it may be a good idea to check in with yourself to see if you are doing what you love to do in your everyday life?


And are You “doing it”?

For some of us, it may mean looking closer into the “job we do.” The mother of all questions here is: Are you living your own dream or somebody else’s?

Maybe it’s time for a change in your work situation or a little clean-up in your relationships.

Some people say that we fulfill our life’s purpose through doing what truly brings us joy. To me, it makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t always mean that we need to quit our jobs, it could be that we need to make room to cultivate our passion as a hobby, or set boundaries in our families or at work so that we create a better work-life balance and find space for doing what brings us joy.

If there is something that we have always wanted to do, but we haven’t managed to get done yet, an idea could be to make a good plan on how to get there. Engaging in a process of making your Vision Board, imagining how you’ll feel when you are there, or even making the first steps of getting there, may work miracles in fixing a crappy day. If you are into cosmic mambo jumbo, some of the principles of Law of attraction may be interesting to look into.

What Is The Law Of Attraction? And How To Use It Effectively

Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is believed that regardless of age, nationality or religious belief, we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the Universe, including the Law of Attraction.


Option 5: Use the oldest medicine: laugh about it

Laughing is an amazing medicine. Here you have a link to that amazing lady that laughs through her life. You simply can’t continue feeling down if you are laughing your ass off. There must be a book, a movie or a person that usually makes you laugh. Just reach out for it. This may be the simplest, healthiest and most effective medicine for your shitty day.

Laughter’s little brother:  a smile (fake it till you make it)

Ok, we aren’t exactly Big Fans of fake it till you make it kind of solutions, BUT at certain moments in our lives, it may actually be a god damn good or simply necessary strategy. For example, when you are alone with toddlers, and you cannot really go out to have a coffee with your best friend (and when it comes to small kids, you may not be able to have that coffee even when you are your own very best friend).

If your crappy day doesn’t come from some deep unresolved issues, but it resulted from a one-off crappy event, you actually have a pretty good chance to be able to trick your own brain and get your mood lifted. The reason is that your brain doesn’t really recognize the difference between the reality and a well-imagined situation, so if you put on that smile and really try to fake it, you may actually start to feel better.

Have you ever tried walking around and smiling to everyone you meet on the way? You can be surprised how effective that method sometimes is! For one thing, you can have some really good fun, watching the reactions of others.


Laughter’s little sister: “Smile & Wave”

One of the sisters of fake it till you make it is: “Just smile and wave.” This strategy can be really useful in situations where you have to keep it cool until you are able to face your emotions, for example when someone pisses you off at work. Instead of making a scene, you can try and implement “smile & wave” until you can retreat home safely.

You will usually not be doing yourself a favor if you let your “drama queen out” under the heat of a moment at work. This may actually be a great strategy when it comes to kids as well. When you feel that you are about to explode, it may be better to just smile & wave, and hide in the bathroom to take 10 deep breaths. And if the kiddos won’t even let you go to the bathroom for a few moments- yes I’ve been there – for the mutual benefit, if nothing else works, this is the time where using that electronic nanny (aka TV) until you cool off – may really be a good idea. At least a better one than hitting your kids with a shit storm.

Sometimes faking it can be a strategy that will help you survive until you are actually able to go for any of the above options.

If you manage to turn up your humor and laugh about those crappy situations, and especially at yourself, there will be much less chance of having a crappy day due to an insignificant event.


So dear Isabella,

you now have quite a palette of choices when it comes to surviving a shitty day. Sometimes, however, no matter what you try, a shitty day just remains shitty. In such a case going to sleep with hope for a better day tomorrow may be your best options. Good luck and may you have as little shitty days as possible!

Much Love

Anna & Marta