Life @ U of T

How I “restart” a bad day

Well, you technically can’t restart a bad day: you don’t get to reverse time. However, you can make yourself FEEL that you’re restarting a day. I’m going to share some things that I do that make me feel precisely like that.

Please don’t feel guilty when you don’t have the most productive days. Trust me, I have those days too. Remember that resting is also productive. If you overslept, that’s okay! (as long as you didn’t miss anything important)

By “bad days,” I refer to days when I scroll too much social media and suddenly “realize” it’s 4 p.m. already (Whoops!). Those bad days are also days when I’m not finishing work as effectively as I want. I’m tired, I’m forcing myself to work, and I’m still not getting things done.

So, the followings are what I usually do when I absolutely need to get on track.

Get something to drink

I like to make hot drinks. Now that the weather is turning cold, I find it more essential to stay warm so that I can focus on working. Diverting your attention from unhelpful distractions to making a drink for yourself is like waking up and making yourself a cup of coffee/tea, thus “restarting” your day.

De-clutter

Did you know that cleaning is a mood booster? It helps to reduce stress and anxiety. You might be interested in reading more about the science behind the connection between cleanliness and mental health. I definitely feel so much better after I organize my workplace (well… that reminds me to organize my desk). Fun fact: I also like folding clothes 😉

You might “restart” with organizing your desk, folding your laundry or vacuuming the floor before you start a productive session. It helps to keep you active and your mind clear!

Shower and/or wash your face

Do you wash your face and brush your teeth after you wake up in the morning? I bet you do! Getting into the shower or washing your face tricks your brain to “feel” like you’re starting a routine in the morning, and you feel freshened up, too!

Cooking

I can never focus properly if I’m constantly thinking about what to eat. It doesn’t have to be fancy cooking. It can just be toasting your bread or heating up the leftovers from yesterday. Get anything that fuels you! It also forces you to do something, which is better than nothing.

Take a nap

You might not be productive because you’re tired. I know how overwhelming it can be when you suddenly realize that you have a lot to work on. Sometimes, you want to avoid those assignments. Maybe you’re overwhelmed, and as much as it’s good to dive into working immediately (if you can, that’s good), it can help to reflect on your energy and take a break if you need it. Also, waking up from a good nap feels like waking up in the morning: you feel like you start a new day! Even 30 minutes can help: just don’t forget to set an alarm.

I hope these tips work for you! And no, you don’t have to work 15 hours a day to consider yourself productive. Take breaks periodically and allow yourself to breathe, even on your busiest days. I have to constantly remind myself of this, too. If you’re reading this, please take 2 minutes to lay back and breathe for a second.

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