A feel-good recipe for when you're having a bad day
I was having a bad day for no reason. Nobody had died, nor had work been particularly stressful—quite the opposite, actually—but as I left, it suddenly hit me like a swarm of angry bees. I got home and felt some comfort from sitting on my couch, but something was still ailing me. Then, one of my best friends rang with great news: she’d been offered a fantastic new job! I was happy for her, no doubt about it, because I knew she deserved it.
And that’s when it dawned on me: I was having a bad day because at 21 I was working two low-level, low-paying jobs and had been for almost five years. I had gone to journalism school, passed my exams, and learned to drive, and had some amazing opportunities at some fantastic national publications, all within two years. However, I was applying for jobs, apprenticeships, and courses every other day, and I was coming up with a big fat nothing. I felt deflated and worn down. And for the next day or so, things just didn’t go my way. As a hobby baker, I decided to try to make macaroons, and failed miserably—even the macaroon gods were against me! But eventually, I stopped having a pity party for one and got back on my feet. So to all fellow wallowers having a bad day, here is my own recipe for some delicious TLC to perk you up.
One massive cup of tea.
Tea is the healer of everything. I told my mum that world leaders should sit down with a cup of tea and some chocolate digestives and just hash out their problems, soak up their misery, and solve their issues, and the tea would be to thank. We Brits love our tea, and I’m no exception—strong with three sugars, in case anyone ever feels like being nice. When you’re having a crap day, make yourself a cup of tea or whatever hot beverage hits the spot, be it a chai latte or a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream! And a couple of digestive cookies. (There are a few things in life where the cheap version just won’t do: tights, friendships, and digestive cookies.)
Two tablespoons of tears.
OK, so maybe that is a bit specific to manage. But the point is that a good cry on your own is inevitable now and again. Not for too long though—don’t needlessly suffer! On the other hand, don’t deny yourself the cry stage. Everyone needs it now and again. And when you’ve had enough of looking like a mix between a panda with an allergic reaction to bamboo and a wounded puppy, wipe your tears up and BREATHE (as my shorthand tutor would say before exams: “Breathing is good!”).
A generous helping of talk time.
This is why the crying stage is best done alone: after you’ve finished having every irrational thought about whatever it is that has you upset and you’ve finished beating yourself up, get some kind words from those that love you and talk to as many people as you feel like. I messaged my boyfriend, who offered me some very useful and kind words to soothe the panic button going off in the corner of my mind telling me to completely give up on being a journalist (because at the rate I’m going I felt like I was delaying inevitable disappointment): “Please don’t throw your dreams away because you feel it’s impossible to achieve them. You will achieve them and much more but it takes time and effort. You just gotta believe in yourself like everyone else does.”
Bless him. It did help, it really did; but the next day I was still feeling a bit down, so I rang my other best friend. She told me to look at my life six months ago compared to today and how much had changed for the better. The universe was clearly working at me one bit at a time, so I had to give it a chance! She was right: six months ago I was in an awful relationship with someone who didn’t treat me the way I deserved to be treated, and now six months on I am no longer crying over some deadbeat dude, am incredibly happy with my current boyfriend, am working towards some really great plans, and am happy. So when you’re upset and doubting yourself or just feeling a bit down in the dumps, talk to the people who value your self-worth. Which brings me to my next point. . .
A dash of self-love.
Rebalance the scales: you’ve beat yourself up over whatever it is that’s upsetting you and have probably given yourself some horrible critiques. You’ve listened to other people (hopefully) tell you how smart you are, how caring, how beautiful inside and out you are as a human being. Now clear your mind and be thankful. You don’t need me to tell you that life is one hell of a journey, and none of us are promised tomorrow. So think of things you’re thankful for, think of the achievements you have had over the last year. No doubt you’ve achieved them through hard slog and working at things. You know you’re capable. Think of all the good things in your life and stop focusing on the bad for one minute.
Now as if you were a delicious chocolate cake, get into the human oven we call a bath and leave for fifteen minutes or so until you decide you’re ready. When cooled down, dried, and dressed, decorate yourself with some lipstick and a smile, and voila! You are no longer a sunken, soggy-bottomed pie, but a lovely, cheeky slice once again.
Tanita Matthews is a writer living by the seaside who loves to explore everything weird and wonderful in life with a cup of coffee and a slick of red lipstick as her secret weapons. When she has a spare moment, she loves baking sweet treats for her nearest and dearest (her chocolate cupcakes are on constant demand), doing pole fitness to keep the calories off, and writing about the oddities of life.