Like many, I have a full schedule. I’m a mommy to a toddler, a graduate student, I work full-time and amongst all of that, there is laundry to be done, rooms to be dusted…you know how that goes! And the other day, I broke down. As in, sobbing-while-my-mascara-dripped-down-my-cheeks break down (so much for waterproof!). Let me start off by saying it wasn’t the best day at work. First of all, I was feeling overwhelmed with the knowledge of all the homework I had to do before the weekend. For every email I answered, ten more came in. For every voicemail I returned, there were five more. You get the picture. Then, at the end of the day, one of those voicemails was my student advisor telling me that I was mistaken. I have SIX more classes to take before I graduate. Not the three that I had been banking on.
I felt my eyes start to tear up while I was sitting at my desk. I thought I was almost done! I had visions of grandeur in my head where my weekends did not consist of any homework and I could read, and write, and knit to my heart’s content (I know – I’m terribly exciting). I could take a nap during nap time if I wanted! Yet, now I was being told I had to postpone that for another year. Many of my colleagues were still around me and the LAST thing I felt like doing was making a scene. So I thought, What Would Kate Do? I told myself that Kate would put on a good face for the time being. It took all I had to hold it together while I gathered my things. I drove home. I felt so emotionally and mentally drained. Thankfully, my husband and son were waiting at home with a hug for me…and multiple tissues.
This bad day prompted me to think of how Kate would handle a similar day when she is feeling completely overwhelmed. We see many pictures of her, like the one below, looking very serene. However, I am sure she has those days where expectations fall through, disappointments are received, and she needs to let it out with a good cry. What would she tell us?
1. Let it out in private.
Kate certainly knows the importance of being careful with any outward emotions. If you find yourself frustrated at work, especially when tears may be imminent, take ten minutes and find the nearest, relatively private, restroom. Let out a few tears if you need to, maybe a few stretches to relieve tension, and say a little personal mantra that will get you through a tough time (“I can do this”; “I am strong enough”). Then, when you get home, go ahead and let it all out.
2. Take a lunch.
I am so guilty of eating lunch at my desk. Even during Kate’s busy day, I’m sure she values personal downtime. It is especially important that, when you are having a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day, to escape for a half hour. Even if you just sit outside in sunshine for a quick meditative session, centering yourself can help bring you back to the present moment and deal more efficiently with what is occurring. And keep your chin up.
3. Make a plan.
Alright, so things didn’t go according to how you would have wanted. The only thing left now is how you react to the situation. What are your choices? I’m now faced with graduating nearly a year later than expected. I can either stick with this new time frame or double-up on classes to graduate when I thought I would have. I imagine that Kate, when faced with setbacks, realigns herself quickly to the new circumstance and thinks of how she will take advantage of the situation and not the other way around.
Time to release those feel-good endorphins! When Kate has a bad day, she likely turns to some form of exercise, such as running, to release stress and help put things into perspective.
5. Remind yourself what you’re grateful for.
I think Kate would be grateful for many of the basic things we are grateful for, such as good health and family and friends. It’s important to remind yourself of what you are grateful for on a bad day. That alone can help to put the day in a more positive perspective.
6. Comfort yourself.
At the end of an especially harrowing day, pour yourself a glass of wine or a special kind of tea you have reserved for special occasions. Indulge in a bubble bath, a book – whatever helps you relax – then go to bed early. Close the chapter on this day to get a head start on tomorrow.