Brighten Up

I was having one those terrible – no good – very bad days last week.

To be clear, it wasn’t the most dramatically bad day of my life. But, it wasn’t good. I realized I had been sitting on disgruntled feelings for a few days. Rather than continuing to swirl around in my own head, I decided to take action. Here were five things that helped brighten up my bad day:


I called my cousin, RYAN, who is always a source of joy on the good days & the bad days. Later that night, I called my Mom too. It is almost a given that I will feel more confident, more loved, & more certain of my next steps when I hang up the phone with either of them. This same sentiment also applies to my Dad & all of my siblings.


Even if I do not buy any, simply taking in the colors & the scents of a New York bodega flower stand lifts my spirits. I believe my fellow city dwellers understand the appeal of a concentrated burst of nature on a gray day. Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, flowers are magical.


I texted Steph to let her know I was stressed earlier in the day. Even though she could only stop by for a little bit, her presence immediately made me feel better. Recently, I watched the movie, NOVITIATE. This film has made me think about several important themes, but most notably, it reinforced the power of physical comfort in my individual life. Someone rubbing my back or my head immediately calms me, even if my situation hasn’t actually changed at all.


I heeded my own advice to WALK MORE & left my house when Steph did. I brought my headphones, so my music could keep me company. I start heading towards my local DIPTYQUE boutique. I love GRETCHEN RUBIN’S WORK, especially her podcast with her sister, Elizabeth. She literally recommends smelling scents as a mood booster. Testing fragrances was a simple activity but one that forced me to be present. I left with a few samples to try on my own time, an unexpected benefit of trying to pull myself out a bad mood.


My final step was to recognize something important about myself  – even if it is easier to do nothing, doing nothing rarely makes me feel better. Maybe that was something I always knew, but it helped to put it into words & put it into the world. I posted these steps last week on my INSTAGRAM Stories & I was excited at the feedback.

Some people replied with suggestions for how they turn around a bad day, such as making a meal with a friend or going rock climbing. One person agreed that RYAN is a go-to person to call when they are having a bad day. Another introduced me to a mental health non-profit literally called The Turn It Around Project. Several folks just offered emoji-filled messages of encouragement. Even if that wasn’t the intention in sharing, it was a reminder that letting others know how we are feeling opens us to their support.

Do you feel like it is more important to turn a bad day around yourself or ask others for help? Is it always a dual effort? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments! 




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