When you are having a bad day it is easy to get down in the dumps, but instead of letting the negative take over, look at what choices you have to turn the day around.
Sometimes our days spiral out of our control, but there are always options for what we can do about it. by modeling this in front of our students, and showing them how to turn even the worst day around, we empower our learners to take control of their own choices.
There are many ways a day can turn rotten, but in the end, the worst days usually have something in common. They are not one bad thing that happened, but a series of things that tend to spiral out of control. When this happens, follow these 8 steps to take the day back from the dark side.
For me, when I am having what feels like the worst day ever it always seems to begin with feeling like the world is spinning out of control. You too?
When this feeling of a speeding car controlling your life begins to take a grip, force yourself to slow down. Often all I will have time for is a deep breath or two, but if I have more time I will sit down and meditate for a moment. These couple of breaths can feel like a luxury in a crazy day and helps to get my mind back in the game.
In the classroom encourage your students to join you in a couple of slow, deep breaths. If you have a bit more time GoNoodle has some great meditation activities. This will help everyone in the room to get back on track and focus together.
Evaluate Your Priorities
Once you are back on track and your mind isn’t spinning out of control, make a triage list.
Write down everything that needs to get done and rank it in order. Odds are there are a thing or two on there that can wait. Cross these off and focus on the must-dos.
Your list may be what needs to get done in the next ten minutes before the end of the school day or what you need to happen before leaving for the day.
Make a Plan
Once you have your list of must-dos, make a plan. This means pulling together materials or delegating to others what they can help with.
Often on our worst days we are surrounded by people who want to help, but we are so frantic and down in the pits we don’t know what to ask for. By making a plan you are ready when someone is willing to help and you can voice what you need from them. This might be prepping materials or even asking them to watch your class for two minutes while you run to the restroom. Either way, with a plan you know what you need.
Use Positive Self Talk
Don’t let a bad day get to you. If you do, a bad day soon turns into a bad week. Instead, practice positive self-talk and treat yourself with kindness. Whether your worst day is of your own making or because of factors beyond your control you should give yourself some grace.
Make sure you show your students how to use positive self talk and model it for them as well. A few affirmations can be a life saver when you are feeling down, and who couldn’t use more of that in their lives?
Try to Learn From Mistakes
When our bad days are of our own making it is important to take a step back and recognize what we did to make our lives more difficult so we don’t repeat our mistakes.
Often it is hard to learn from our mistakes in the moment, but be practicing self-reflection after the moment has passed we can continue to grow.
No situation is ever made better by blaming others for our mistakes.
When you are the one who caused a problem be ready to own up to it and accept responsibility. It is always tempting to blame a student or the class for a situation, but instead, remember you are the adult in the room and ultimately responsible.
This does not mean to take responsibility for a situation beyond your control.
On my worst days I want to hide from the world, but this is just a temporary fix and elongates the situation. Instead, keep going. It will be hard, I am not going to sugar coat it, but on the other side of the dark cloud of a bad day it will be better.
One of the best things about a classroom is every day is a fresh start.
Focus on the Positive
There are always going to be positives in just about every situation. Cling to them with reckless abandon and don’t be apologetic about it.
Choose to be a Positive Polly in a sea of Negative Nellys. You may annoy a few people, but most will be thankful for the bright spot in the situation.
I am not saying here to be fake. Call a spade a spade, but there is not reason to dwell on the bad.
Bad days happen, and it sucks when they do. When your worst day hits remember to slow down and take a moment to regroup, make a plan for moving forward including how others can help, give yourself some grace while learning from possible mistakes and taking responsibility for your actions. Most of all, keep going and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve got this!
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