5 Ways to Bounce Back from a Low Vibe Day

Tips for recovering when you feel mildly flat or over-emotional.

Posted Jul 02, 2018

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When I was a little kid, my Mom bought a weekly women's magazine that had a horoscope column. For each star sign, it listed a high and a low "vibe day" for the upcoming week.

I'm not a believer in horoscopes but this magazine was where I learned the concept that people's moods and energy could vary on different days and that this was normal. It also helped me learn not to stress about a low vibe day, as a high vibe day was coming soon!

In my adult life, here are five tips I use and recommend for dealing with low vibe days.

1.  Check your thinking.  If you think "everything is going wrong," is that really true?

On a low vibe day, it's easy to develop the perception that literally everything is going wrong for you and all you experience is bad luck.  If you do a more systematic analysis of what's going wrong and what's going right, you'll typically reach a more balanced conclusion. When I use this strategy, I usually see that my ratio of good to bad things happening is closer to 50%. Without using this strategy, it feels more like the ratio is 90% bad things.

2.  Ask yourself if there is anything you're feeling anxious about.

I had a few low vibe days this week. On reflection, I realized that the news stories about immigration and family separation were making me feel really anxious.  I was having fleeting panicky moments throughout the day thinking about being separated from my two-year-old and not being able to get back to her.  I was getting images for a few seconds each time of things like losing her in the supermarket and being in a panic. Because these moments were brief I wasn't adequately recognizing how anxious I was feeling.  When I did acknowledge those feelings I felt a lot better. Actually all I did was tell my spouse how I was feeling (in one sentence) and that mostly did the trick.

3.  Consider blowing off some urgent but not-that-important tasks in favor of something important.

If something is urgent but not important at all, it's relatively easy to let it go. The catch is that most of us have urgent tasks that are somewhat important and non-urgent tasks that are very important.

Doing something that's small but important (meaningful) will help you feel like your life is more on track, even if it's just for 30 minutes.

4. Give yourself more support.

Giving yourself support is something a lot of people struggle with.  It's easy to overlook options you have. For example, I currently have the teenager who lives next door to me come over and play with my toddler for an hour a day so I can get work done. Twice this week I asked if she could stay an extra 30 minutes.  Your version of this could be as simple as that!  

Another version of giving myself support is from time to time getting deliveries if that'll save me a trip to the store.  Again, this is a super simple implementation of this strategy.  Another example could be something like sending an Uber/Lyft to pick someone up rather than going to collect them yourself, or even getting takeout rather than cooking. These are all ways you can give yourself support during days when you need it. 

Need to know: Actions drive feelings. Therefore, if you don't currently feel "deserving enough" of support then the action of giving yourself more support will likely lead to you feel more deserving of it.

5. Use something you've been saving for when you need a pick me up.

Do you have anything you're saving for when you need a pick me up?  It might be a make-up sample, a bath bomb, some fancy stationery you were given as a gift, or some shampoo you got from a fancy hotel.  Do these ever go unused because you never get around to actually using them?  This is your cue to use and enjoy one of these items.

Putting this into action:

  • Identify which of the five strategies you would find easiest and which you would find hardest.
  • Starting with the easiest, identify how you might implement the strategy.  Do this in specific terms.  For example, for my first point you might think of the three most recent bad things that happened to you and the three most recent good things that happened.  You'll likely see that both good and bad things happened to you in the last few days.
  • For each strategy you think you might try, identify the biggest obstacle to your implementation plan and one idea for how you could overcome that obstacle. 

These implementation tips will make it more likely you'll use the information you've read here rather than just reading and then forgetting about it.