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5 quick ways to hit the reset button on a bad day

Image: Before you reach for the wine, try these 5 bad day-thwarting techniques

Your eyes fly open and your heart rate jumps as you realise you’ve slept through your alarm. The next thirty minutes are a blur of showering, dressing and running out the door. Unsurprisingly, you spill coffee all over yourself in the rush and as a result, miss your bus.

By the time you arrive at the office – late – you’re completely frazzled and enter your computer password wrong three times. Great! Now you’re locked out of your computer and the office tech guy just happens to be on holiday. In Siberia.

At this point, most people would be tempted to run up the white flag and head back home to bed. But think about this: if you manage to achieve anything on a day like this, it’s going to feel like a major win, right?

So before you give up on this day (and any bad day really), first try hitting the reset button. Here’s how.

Don't go reaching for the doona Bridget Jones-style just yet.

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1. Go for a walk

Nothing resets a frazzled mind faster than moving your body. And the easiest way to do this is to simply go for a walk. The beauty of walking is you can do it anytime and anywhere. If you’re in the office – head out the door and round the block. If you’re at home with the kids, throw them in the pram or on their bikes. If you’re at the airport and just missed your flight – don’t sit there steaming about it, walk to the far end of the terminal and back.

2. Earth yourself

If possible, take off your shoes and plant your feet on a natural surface (grass, sand, soil). Our planet has a natural charge and it’s been suggested that connecting with the earth in this way has a stress-relieving, calming effect on humans. I can certainly add my own ‘sample-size-of-one’ thumbs-up to this theory.

3. Brew a pot of tea

Tea always helps (Image via Wikimedia)

There is something very ritualistic and soothing about making tea in a pot as it forces you to slow down whether you like it or not. It will be tempting to reach for your phone or flip through the paper while the tea brews, but instead, just sit.

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And use the opportunity to …

4. Breathe

One of the best meditation type activities I’ve ever had suggested to me is this one:

Sit down.

Close your eyes.

Breathe in gently for a count of four.

Breathe out gently for a count of four.

Repeat the breathe in/breathe out sequence another three times.

The beauty of this sequence is it takes hardly any time and can be done anywhere, by anyone. (Yes even us those of us who “can’t do meditation.”) And it has the effect of bringing a racing, stressed out mind firmly back into the present.

5. Ignore your to-do list

Put down the list (Image via flickr)

Once you’ve used the techniques above to reset your day, it’s now time to get ‘something’ done. Resist looking at your bulging to-do list because it will instantly set your mind right back to ‘frazzled’.

Instead, set yourself just one task to do. This could be reading an article your boss sent you, emptying the dishwasher or making notes for that meeting you have tomorrow.

Once that task is done, repeat.

Remember, this was a day you were ready to throw in the bin, so even the tiniest little thing you can achieve is more than you’d be getting done if you’d simply gone home and jumped back in bed.

Do you have any tricks or tips for recovering from a crap day?

Kelly Exeter is a mother of two, wife of one, writer, designer, blogger, runner, business owner and author of Your Best Year Yet: 7 Simple Ways to Shift Your Thinking and Take Charge of Your Life. After many years on the hamster wheel she’s finally figured out how to live A Life Less Frantic®. She writes about this and more on her blog.