Bad Day Box

Have you ever had a day that just didn't go well? Or a week? Just a raincloud over your head drenching you all day, every day?

When I was younger, I was a moderator at a self injury forum. It was hard some days, but easily the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Being there for people as they struggled through a bad moment in their life, fighting against their coping mechanism was a much needed lesson that even if you're struggling, everyone has the ability to help someone else.

One of the best lessons I learned from my time there was the idea of the Bad Day Box. When I have kids, I'm going to have this as a weekly activity for them. I honestly think everyone could use their own Bad Day Box to play with. If you're having a rough time, this is definitely something to think about making.

The box itself can be as big or as small as you want or need it to be. It can be a shoe box, a specially bought wooden chest, whatever suits you. If you're decorating it, try to avoid dark or depressing colours, or colours that leave you feeling drained. Try for colours that you love, that leave you feeling happy and energised.

Once you've decorated to your heart's content, it's time to start filling your box. You can be as organised or disorganised as you want- there is no right or wrong way to do this. Add or leave out whatever doesn't feel right- just try and keep it as positive as possible.

If you have a blog, go and look through your comments. Are there any that make you smile, or that come from people who think you're awesome? Print out copies of any comments that inspire, amuse, or praise you (even if you don't fully believe you're as good as they seem to think you are!). Do this with forums and blogs you frequent, too. Any supportive, uplifting words directed at you should be printed out, but also look for inspiring quotes and stories. Wander round the internet for a while finding pictures and stories that make you smile, or inspire you to get up and keep working towards your goals. There are some amazingly uplifting blogs and sites devoted to publishing inspiring thoughts and ideas.

Now go have a look through your past. What are you proud of? I have some photos that I'm so proud of.  Whenever I feel as though I'm not overly creative, I go and look through them to remind myself that I need more faith in my abilities. When I finish my novel, I'll put a copy in my box. Anything and everything that you are proud of yourself for, include in the box.

The next step is something you do over a long period of time. Find yourself a little notebook that will fit into your pocket or bag easily, and a pen or pencil that will do the same. Every time you hear or see an inspiring quote, jot it down. More importantly, whenever someone says something nice about you, write it down. Keep track of who said what when, so on bad days when you flip through the finished notebooks, you can remember who said what and why they said it. When you finish a notebook, put it in the box and grab a new one.

The idea behind this is that when we're depressed, it's incredibly hard to remember all of the nice things people say about us. In fact, sometimes we start to think that the people in our lives are better off without us. Having a physical reminder of all the lovely things people say, and the moments where we've made a positive difference, is a way to combat our negative self speak.

There are variations for the bad day box, too. Some self injurers had one filled with distractions for times they wanted to hurt themselves. Other people had boxes of things that soothed them and calmed them down when they were angry or hyperactive.

So, now I've talked about one of my tools for positivity, I'm going to end this post with a question: what tips or tricks do you have for getting through bad days?


Grammy said...

That is an excellent ideal.
Yes I do come back and read what I have missed on your blog. I feel we can learn allot from each other. I will work on some words and art work for you. I will let you know when it is done. because you are a special person. And I would love to add something to your box, wall, computer screen. Or where ever you chose to keep it. :)
Sending a big hug and lots of love.

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