Usually a good start to my day – any day – since I learned this is what Gerard Butler likes to sing in the shower…I’ll just let that sink in…you’re welcome*.

Good morning friends! It’s Monday and that means once again I have the responsibility to start your week off on the right foot.  “Responsibility,” you ask? That’s what I do. In addition to drinking and knowing things, I overthink and I feel things. (*drops mic* on Tyrion.) But I digress.

My Monday began with the shot of adrenaline that propelled me out of bed when I realized that I’d slept through my alarm.  No time for coffee, I abluted, coiffed and clothed myself in record time, and sprinted to the train station. Of course, I missed the train that would have absolutely gotten me to campus with enough time to get my caffeine fix before going to the office.

I went with Plan B – calculating that I could take the next train that came along, get off at the end of the line, walk up the hill and either catch the shuttle to campus on its loop or an earlier version of the train I would have had to wait for if I’d stayed put. Phew! It’s all very complicated. Who says you’ll never use algebra in real life?  No matter, the joke was on me. I need someone to remind me, on a daily basis, not to try and outsmart the MBTA. They always win.

Not only was I late by the time I got to campus, but the traffic heading in the direction of downtown Boston was height-of-rush-hour heavy, making my usual game of Frogger crossing the street from the train stop that much more challenging. Though it exists right in front of a church and on the edge of a university, it’s the only crosswalk in the city where cars not only routinely run the red light, sometimes they don’t even slow down. I’ve become one of those people, shouting at cars as they whiz by. I keep a list of numbers in my shoe of people to call from jail when I eventually graduate to throwing things.

black cloud, bad mood, Monday, reset, S.A. Young

This was me by the time I walked in the door of my office.

So, how does this help you? Well, in order to avoid my dilemma of two weeks ago, I’ve started a file with fledgling ideas for these Monday posts. And, aside from letting you chuckle at my pain, I want to share with you how I was able to quickly reset my mood and consequently my day. (None of this is rocket surgery and at my age, you’d think I’d have already mastered this stuff. You’d be wrong. I need constant reminders.)

If one were to Google “How to Turn a Bad Day Around”, you’ll find a bazillion entries that all think they’ve got the magic formula, but once again, there’s no one right way nor a one-size-fits-all list. A lot of them will tell you to hug someone or take a shower. These two activities are generally frowned upon, to various degrees, in an office.  The following is a bit of wisdom I found some months back and had stashed away and promptly forgot. That I found it this morning could only have been a sign from the Blogging Goddesses.

blogging, bad day, mood reset, S.A. Young, goddess

I’m pretty sure this is what they look like.

Here’s a list of a few tips that should help without getting you fired or sent to Human Resources:

  1. Plan your productivity. Your day often gets derailed because you didn’t start on the right track.  At the beginning of the day, plan the projects you want to move forward, the people you need to reach out to, and the main things you must complete. Get focused. When you do this, it’s easier to stay on the path of purpose, to brush off the distractions and dramas that don’t fit the day’s agenda, and to proactively contribute at high performance levels.
  2. Take a reset break. If you find your day completely derailed, immediately stop everything and do one of two things: Either listen to your favorite music playlist and go for a 20 minute walk while breathing deeply…or… meditate for 20 minutes. Sit with your journal and answer these questions: “What am I grateful for? What three things must I accomplish today? What is my reward if I accomplish those three things?”
  3. Get out of yourself and into service. Instead of obsessing about yourself, ask: “What could I do right now to give attention, gratitude, or appreciation to somebody around me?” Whether it’s writing a random thank you email, calling someone to say you love them, or joking around with a friend, getting outside yourself and in service to someone else helps you reboot the day.
  4. Activate simple self-talk. When your day gets thrown off, sometimes the best thing you can do is close your eyes and say this to yourself: “Be patient. I’m okay. I’m here to serve. Here we go.” You can repeat this until you feel calm. Life can get challenging, but just know: This too shall pass. You will get through it just as you have before. (This one smacks a little of Stuart Smalley, to me, but you get the idea.)

This morning I did my own version: I did step 1 (making a list of things I need to accomplish today – including writing this post) while doing part of step 2 (listening to music), then moved immediately to step 3 (laughing with a coworker).  By then I was feeling so much better (helped by my boss’s announcement that he was leaving early, I have no doubt) that I skipped step 4 entirely. I’ll save that for a really bad morning (like when it starts to pour and I’ve forgotten my umbrella, then I get splashed by a bus.) There’s always tomorrow.

So how was your morning? Have a great week and thanks for reading!


*I read it in an interview somewhere or heard it on a chat show – I have no first hand knowledge. Damn it.