My Fool-Proof Formula for Surviving a Bad Day

Step 1: Perform a Random Act of Kindness

Choose as many as you want from this list.

  • Give your coworker, friend, family member, or stranger a genuine compliment (“I’m always impressed by your composure!”, “Those shoes are awesome!”, “You’ve inspired me to start writing!”)
  • Let someone who looks like they’re in a hurry go in front of you
  • Smile at the next 10 people you see
  • Buy flowers for someone who deserves them (Trader Joes has nice bouquets for sixish bucks)
  • Ask a colleague if there’s anything small you can take off their plate
  • Give $5 to a charity
  • Write a thank-you note to your former boss explaining what you learned from them and how you’re currently applying those lessons
  • Tell the checkout person you’ll pay for the next person in line (best for coffeeshops, unless you’re really feeling generous)
  • Make dessert and take some to your neighbors
  • Donate something (check out the Salvation Army’s donation guide)
  • Sign up for AmazonSmile
  • Define two words for Community Dictionary to provide lunch for a hungry child
  • Send a note to a friend you haven’t recently spoken to

Step 2: Do Something Nice for Yourself

Choose as many as you want from this list.

  • Read for pleasure
  • Snuggle with your pets
  • Go to bed early (even if you still have stuff to do)
  • Spend two times as long in the shower
  • Use an adult coloring book (they’re strangely therapeutic!)
  • Take a long walk
  • Get a haircut
  • Eat chocolate
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Watch your favorite show or movie
  • Call someone who’s always sympathetic and willing to listen
  • Write down everything that’s annoying or frustrating you
  • Write down everything you’re grateful for
  • Work out
  • Meditate
  • Burn a candle
  • Get yourself flowers
  • Take a nap
  • Watch stand-up comedy
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Schedule something fun/different in the next seven days
  • Clean
  • Take a drive through a scenic place

Step 3: Do Something Indulgent

Choose one to three things from this list.

  • Buy an overpriced pastry
  • Go to your favorite place for dinner
  • Have a glass of wine
  • Have a beer
  • Pull the trigger on that purchase you’ve been debating
  • Say no to an invitation you’re not excited about
  • Get tickets to an upcoming event

Step 4: Decide That Tomorrow Will Be Better