You know those days that start out looking so organized and promising and then suddenly unravel into complete chaos, where one thing after another goes wrong, none of the things you mean to get done end up happening at all, you feel like you’re consistently disappointing people, and by the end of the day, you have nothing left, and the only fair answer when someone asks how your day went is “I just can’t even” – because “awful” doesn’t even begin to cover how much of a disaster it was?
We’ve all had them. Last week I had three in a row, and on Friday, I’m pretty sure I verbalized the words “I just can’t even” to the entire universe before 10:00am.
So what do you do, on a day like that, to get through it? Because let’s face it, most of us don’t have the option of throwing in the towel at 10:00am, even if we want to.
Here are three of my go-to solutions:
Take a break. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes, as soon as you feel yourself heading towards I-Just-Can’t-Even Land, ditch out. Go wash your face, make a cup of tea, go for a walk around the block – whatever you have to do to create a change of scene, just for a minute. Literally walking away from the situation in some way can help you regain perspective.
And if you can’t do that – then at least take a minute to pause internally. Close your eyes, breathe deep, and try to let your brain take a break, even if you can’t.
I’ve found that more often than not, the root of my unrest on a day when I just can’t even is tied to a certain set of expectations. Failing to meet my own expectations can mess with my emotions like nothing else. When you start to feel like you just can’t even, evaluate why. Are you trying to meet unrealistic expectations? What do you need to do to change that? Do you need to have a conversation with someone about setting a more reasonable deadline? Do you need to change the way you’re viewing the situation? Clarifying expectations (even if they’re just your own) can do wonders to diffuse the emotion of a difficult day.
It can be difficult to stay objective on a day that’s spiraling out of control, but once you’ve paused to breathe and have re-evaluated the situation, decide what does and does not actually need to happen next. Prioritize your next steps, and decide if there are things you can choose not to do. Creating a practical game plan, even if it’s just for the next half hour, can add some much-needed structure to what otherwise feels like complete chaos.
What are your go-to remedies on the days when you just can’t even? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." —Fred Rogers via @momentumdash
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"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Einstein