Yesterday didn't start out well. My housemate stayed home instead of going to work where he belonged (I relish my quiet mornings), then progressed to an unnerving phone call from a friend, and ended with a giant spider in the tank of my Waterpik 100. Nothing tragic or overwhelming, I understand, but it isn't the events themselves that constitute a "crappy day." It's how we feel. And I felt certifiably crappy.

Yet, yesterday turned out to be a good crappy day. It's not like I have some kind of militant formula for turning crappy to gold. It's just that I've learned a few things that work for me. Hopefully at least one of them might give you an assist next time a "crappy day" threatens to be anything but good.

Tip One: Ask Yourself a Question. "What did I take to bed with me?" If you go to bed with something brewing and/or wake up with a pinched mental nerve--and choose not to attend to it--it might just manifest in "c" ways. I was slow getting to this one yesterday. It wasn't until I'd shown the spider the door and crawled into bed wondering its siblings might be nesting in the mattress, that I thought to ask. Boom!  The night before, I'd been aware of some deep grief that was linked to a dream I'd had the night before that, but hadn't really let it in. Instead, I opted to flail under the covers for hours trying to get to sleep and thus awoke with its energy inside me. (But last night, once I let it in, sleep found my address with the efficiency of Triple A.)

Tip Two: Make a break for it. When a day starts or slides into crappy, it can feel like being in emotional jail. How can you make a break for it instead of shuffling along with the plan? When we try to make crappy work the way a typical day works, it usually doesn't. Yesterday, my break was in place. I had plans to go to coffee with a friend, and while the temptation was to cancel as "unfit company" I opted to go and be honest. "How are you?" she asked. "Out of sorts," I said without dwelling on details. But really, I needed to get out! For two hours, crappiness was nowhere to be found. I was at ease and we made a great connection after a long sharing drought. That alone made it a good day. A drive? A walk? Running errands? Scream therapy? Make a break for it. 

Tip Three: Jiggle the "To Do" list. If you have the liberty to do so (any at all), don't let your demanding, irascible, "to do" list be your guide on a day like this. Instead, ask yourself what you do have the energy for. Yesterday it was two uncreative, but time-sensitive tasks. There was no juice for writing, but there was energy for those and I finished my day with a sense of accomplishment. And when the answer to that question is "nothing. I don't have energy to do anything," either my work ethic has been mean to my goof-off self  OR I need to go activate "Tip One."

And if all else fails, I suggest reading "Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." (It has a happy ending.)

I could spin these tips into a dozen, but none of them would be as important as the spirit behind them. On "crappy days," we need to be our own ally. It's not so much about turning it into a good day as it is about being good to ourselves: being curious about what's going on inside, caring about what we need, and discovering how our energy wants to move.

What helps make a crappy day a good one for you?

Together on the Evolving Journey,