Having a Bad Day? Take Action and Move

How physical exercise can help you take back control

We all have bad days. It’s called being human. It’s not a weakness or a character flaw, it is an integral part of our lives.

You can’t wake up with a huge smile, ready to kick ass — all your life. This is not how it works. Moreover, seeing how others are spewing positivity all the time can put pressure on you to feel good — and that will just worsen your bad day.

We all have bad days. Sometimes a string of bad days, when our whole life looks gloomy and desperate. When nothing works out and everything tells us we are a failure.

Having a bad day is mostly out of our influence. It can be due to bad news, unexpected turn out of events, or events that are too negative to put a positive spin on it.

Bad days come and go and sometimes it’s beyond your conscious decision to do something about it. You don’t need to feel ashamed of it — it’s not that you are weak or useless. It’s only human to be influenced by external events or even internal thoughts and feelings.

But you can fight it.

You get to choose what you do. You can still make a powerful choice.

You can fight your tiredness, your depression and your anxiety.

The worst thing about bad days is that you feel powerless — as if life was choosing instead of you; as if you’re nothing but a puppet thrown around by a tornado.

Take back control

Everyone goes through difficulties, the going gets tough and you feel out of control. Your sense of reality gets distorted, your helplessness takes over and it seems there is nothing you can do.

You can take back control. You can reach for something to cling to. Something that you know you can do, even if it feels you can’t do anything.

You can take back control over your bad day by choosing to do something that reminds you that you are in charge of your whole life — and not the other way around.

The choice to do something you control makes you stronger. It makes you believe that no matter how difficult everything is, no matter how powerless the external events make you feel, you are in charge.

Take action

Taking action will show you that you still have the power over your life. It’s not about grandiose things. It’s just to start and put one foot in front of the other.

You don’t need to set huge goals. You don’t need to visualise great accomplishments. You just need to take action — and just do it. Whatever is your choice of action, being the one deciding to make a move instead of waiting around for life to turn around has a magic to it.


The easiest way to snap out of your bad day and take back control is to move. It’s so simple. It’s so obvious. It’s too easy even. Its uncomplicatedness suggests that it won’t work. But not everything has to be a struggle in life. It’s not always about fighting for good things. Sometimes the simplest, tritest things hold the most power.

Moving is relative too. Maybe today for you it is just to get out of bed instead of hitting the snooze button. Maybe it is to get dressed after a week spent in PJs. Maybe it’s to go out for a walk or a short run. Maybe it’s 5 minutes of stretching or holding a couple of yoga poses for a few minutes.

Doing any sort of physical exercises, such as walking, running, 60 seconds planking or 10 burpees work like magic to shift your focus. They might sound too little but you have to start somewhere — don’t diss a short exercise just because it seems insufficient.

Imagine your bad day as being at the bottom of a ladder. You don’t have wings to fly to the top where you would already feel good, you need to climb up, one step after the other.

The first step looks daunting, but it’s your ladder and you decide how small that first step needs to be. Putting on your running shoes is a simple thing — you can’t fail. Deciding to just go out for a 10-minute walk is easy. Accelerating your steps after a few minutes might already come naturally as an internal urge. And if you decide to jog and speed up a bit while you’re at it, that’s the best!

It’s so easy to doubt ourselves. To tell ourselves how we will fail. We are very creative in coming up excuses. Trick yourself and do something for yourself today. Anything. Really!

No matter how slow you go, your progress starts with a simple first step. With a no-brainer motion. With something that will nevertheless send the message to your brain that it’s you to call the shots.

I’m not talking about new year resolutions and how to keep them, although that works pretty much the same.

Just do something for yourself today if you feel powerless.

And watch how life brightens up after a 10-minute brisk walk or a 7-minute stretching exercise or HIIT training. It’s not about weight loss or fitness. It’s about being in charge — today and then tomorrow again.

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Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail

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