Coping with the Poo Days

Yesterday, I was sad. Blue, if you prefer. It was what I like to call, in my ever-so-sophisticated vernacular, a “poo day.” Because I felt like poo, and everything looked like poo, and the whole day was pretty much shot to poo as a result of it.

There was no reason why. I had a wonderful holiday. My office is gorgeously quietly this week with pretty much everyone gone on a mass vacation spree. Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day rocking out to my Florence + The Machine Pandora station while catching up on both my filing pile and my Twitter backlog (shhh, don’t tell!).

But poo days don’t have reasons for being. They just descend like a cartoon cloud and follow you around, shrouding you in your own personal rainstorm and making you feel drained and discouraged.

And even if you’re perfectly aware it’s just a stupid cartoon gloom and nothing is seriously wrong, that doesn’t make you feel any less crappy. It just makes you feel like a moron for not being able to shake it.


Poo Happens

There were plenty of logical explanations for why I might have been feeling blah yesterday:

  • I could have been going through a crazy dip. (It doesn’t happen often anymore, but it still can);
  • I live in cold, gray, drizzly Buffalo;
  • I’m SAD-prone and have been watching the sunlight disappear shortly after lunchtime for weeks now;
  • I’m in what I call my “squiggly line week” (a.k.a. the week I mark on the calendar with a discrete squiggly line to let the husband know it’s “that time,” so watch out); and/or
  • I’m a side hustler who’s temporarily all hustled out.

But I know how to deal with all of these things. I have one or more of them going on most of the time, and they rarely faze me. Or if they do, the funks they cause are prolonged and I can sense them coming before they hit. (I’m a maverick at reading my emotional swings, due to the craziness.)

No, the reason for yesterday’s cloud was something very mundane:

  • I am human; and
  • Poo days sometimes happen.

There doesn’t have to be a reason, and you don’t have to feel bad if you can’t shake yourself out of it. You just have to take care of yourself as best you can while you’re in it. Here’s how:


Coping With a Gray Day

As a recovering crazy, I have a special appreciation for the fact that we are not our moods. It took a long, hard time for me to realize and truly understand this, but now I’ve become adept at letting all sorts of moods and emotions pass through me without letting them define my day or myself.

Sometimes you’re just “off.” Some days are a wash. It’s o.k. The cloud will lift. Just focus on getting through the day.

I asked my lovely readers to tell me how they get through the blahs, and I got some great feedback:


From Facebook:

I have recently taken to doing silly things that get me out of my funk… like skipping down the street or riding shopping carts in a parking lot. This is probably not appropriate for people who care what others think however. When all else fails, there’s always alcohol. –  Sarah Goshman

Writing always helps me and of course belting out to pandora in my office [Cordelia note: a lady after my own heart!], sometime I get crazy stares since I am tone def but I don’t care! – Tracy Schwartz

I can’t really control what happens at work, but after I get out, it’s a quick workout, a cup of my tea and my computer (either reading or writing.) That’s basically what I do every day in the winter. In the summer, a nice long walk…then tea and my computer 😉Abby Has Issues

It’s okay to laugh when I tell you I wear sparkly things when I am having a blah day. I can’t be blah and sparkly! But that’s probably not the kind of thing you’re going for. – Chrysta Bairre  [Chrysta, it so totally is.  I love this idea!]

Go look in the mirror…smile (a real one) and truly tell yourself you love you! Makes me feel better, people forget how important it is to refuel your heart from you! ♥ – Sonya Contino


From Twitter:

A walk and some fresh air does the trick most of the time.@Lori_AnnKruse

Accept it. breathe. drink something warm. journal. paint. read in my favorite coffee shop.@jdartagnanlove

Awesome advice, all!  In addition, hare some of the ways I’ve learned to get through a poo day:


1. Look At It From the Outside

Seriously, picture the cartoon cloud. Remind yourself this is a temporary state you find yourself in — nothing is really wrong, nothing is wrong with you, certainly — it just is what it is.

It’s like having a cold or a headache — it sucks, and you’ll have to make some adjustments to accommodate it, but you’ll get over it.


2. Go Easy on Yourself

Don’t beat yourself up for not being on your game or try to force yourself to do things you’re not up to. Just shrug, keep moving and be patient with yourself.


3. Tackle the Little Things

Let the big life goals and major projects be for a day. Focus on folding the laundry or typing that report or taking the trash to the curb. Do what you can, and let yourself be o.k. with that.


4. Tackle Only What You Have To

When I’m in the midst of a funk, I tend to go into energy saver mode. I only do the things that are strictly necessary to get through the day, and I don’t push myself to do them with the usual flair and aplomb I normally invest.

Being forced to do this drives me crazy, because I’m all about living with awesomeness in every little detail, but some days, ya just can’t do it. Recognize that and let yourself let some things slide.


5. Pile on the Goodness

I fiercely combat poo days with everything I can think of that makes me happy:  PJs, cuddles with puppies, fancy coffee drinks, naps when I can fit them in, guilty-pleasure reality shows.

Think of the things you’d do to cheer up a friend who was in a funk — or the things you wish your friends would do for you — then do them for yourself. Take good care of you.


6. Remind Yourself It’s a Mood, Not a Commentary on Your Life as a Whole

Yesterday, I didn’t feel like being cheery or ambitious or awesome. I really just wanted to crawl back into bed and stay there. But that didn’t mean I’d suddenly lost all ability to ever create anything again. It didn’t mean I’m secretly unhappy with my life or my goals are all wrong or I don’t have it in me to make them happen.

It just meant that, for that day, I was gloomy.

Resist the urge to place too much value on the poo days. They will pass. (Tweet, tweet!) Treat yourself kindly when you’re in them, and you’ll go back to feeling like yourself again in no time. I promise.

How do YOU handle poo days?

Image: Flickr

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  • deannamcneil

    It’s a unique challenge, I am with you on that. Exercise definitely keeps me in check and literally, as I write this, I am waiting for UPS to deliver my special light that I can start using. But most of all, I try to remain curious. I ponder, “Wow, who knew I could feel such depths of ugh!” and “What is happening in my brain right now?” Questions turn my attention elsewhere, distracting me till things blow over. 


    • I’ve considered using the special light for winter gloom.  I can literally feel my spirits lift by 100% once sunny spring weather comes back around.

      I love your curiosity approach–it’s so creative!  You could do some really interesting things by examining yourself like that–journaling, painting, philosophizing…Very cool way to approach a bad mood!

  • While my Facebook response was a bit tongue-in-cheek, the truth is dressing confidently in bright, happy colors & rich textures really can lift my mood when I’m having a doldrum day. And I really do wear sparkly things when I’m in a funk (and sometimes when I’m not), because sequins and frowns do not mix! 🙂

    Going for a brisk, refreshing walk also does wonders for my mood. When I take my morning walk every day, I delight in opening my senses to the experience. I make a point to listen for the minutiae of sounds including birds rustling in the trees and dogs barking in the distance. I carefully observe the colors, shapes and textures around me. I consciously feel the strength and comfort of the ground beneath my feet. Such a mindful walk goes a long way to bringing a centered focus to my day!

    Of course I’m also a huge advocate of writing a gratitude list! A funk is just a funk, and a little dose of gratitude goes a long way to putting that funk in perspective.

    A few years back I heard the phrase “feelings aren’t facts”, and it was a sentiment I rebelled against. Although I sometimes still don’t like it, I have accepted that it’s true. Just because something feels true doesn’t make it true, and a feeling is just that- a feeling, an emotion. When I can recognize it as only what it is, I can accept it and move on with my day.

    Have a great day!


    • I loved your FB response!  I feel the same way about clothes and accessories–the days when I’m feeling the most drab and dull are the days I make a special effort to put on my kick-tail outfits…it really translates to the way you feel and the way you hold yourself.

      I dearly need to get back into walking.  I was much better when I could take the dogs for a stroll over the summer, but we’re having such a green winter here that I could just as easily take them for a December stroll.  There’s something so serene and peaceful about walking in a snow fall, too…

      p.s.  I’m loving your feedback on the FB page!  And I am *this* close to getting back to the email you sent me–I am all for your proposals!  Response shortly, I promise!

      • My daily walks saves my sanity! I enjoy walking my dogs, but my favorite daily walk is the one I take for my morning break each day during the workweek. I love that there’s nothing to distract me on my walking break and I get to refresh my perspective. And my concentration and focus are improved when I take a break from work!

        I have found it useful to set Outlook reminders to take my daily walk, otherwise it’s far too easy to make excuses not to do it.

        Have an awesome day!


  • Very timely post. I’ve been having a rough few days (well actually, the rough days have out-numbered the good days this year), and it helps to know that someone else is funny crummy even though we’re supposed to be cheery this time of year. Last night, I sat and listened to loud angry music for about an hour and a half. I allowed myself to feel angry and frustrated, to let my mind wander. And then I picked a calm down song, relaxed, and felt a little bit better.

    • I have wallowed in loud angry music MANY a time–it can be great therapy!  Sometimes you just need to kick and scream and get it all out.

      Hang in there–things will get better!  If I can ever be a help or providing a listen ear (eye?), feel free to email me!  🙂

  • Wow, perfect timing on this one!  I’ve been blue all week for no particularly good reason.  (Well, I managed to come up with a long assortment of possible reasons–because that’s what I do–but no definitive reason.)  I really like the mental image of the storm cloud; I’m going to remember that for the future.

    Thanks for the tips on breaking out of the blahs, and mostly–thank you for the affirmation that it’s normal, and there’s nothing really wrong!

    • It absolutely is.  I think part of our problem in getting through bad days is that we seem to feel there’s something the matter with us if we don’t feel happy/positive all the time.  But you know what?  Bad moods happen.  It doesn’t mean you’re weak or ungrateful; it just means you’re human.  Best wishes to you in getting out of your own funk!  The cloud will lift; I promise.  🙂

      • Thank for the good wishes!  I find that spending time with friends is a good way for me to beat the blahs, so New Year’s weekend turned out to be a perfect antidote.

  • Leave it to me to sound like the alcoholic!  🙂  Great post – thanks for addressing something that we all deal with from time to time.

    • I left that in because it was cute and tongue-in-cheek…and also because I totally agree.  😉

      My pleasure; I think dealing with bad moods/emotions is something I’ll be exploring more in upcoming posts.  So many strategies focus on getting yourself to feel better, getting past it, getting over it…but the truth is, sometimes they just happen, and the first thing you need to do to *really* get past that is to accept it as normal and realize it will life.

      • Yeah, I’ve started recently experimenting with just letting myself sit with the bad mood and not doing anything dramatic. Sometimes I’ll journal about what’s going on for me, or sometimes I just need a good night’s sleep. The silly stuff, though, really works when you know you’re hanging on to a bad mood for no reason or for too long. That’s when I have to shake myself up a bit. 🙂

  • That sounds like a fantastic strategy.  🙂

  • Let’s hear it for a “good night’s sleep”, Sarah!
    ~ Also, a healthy and/or comforting meal; and more water!

    I find this is the very first post I got from you, Kelly, and it’s sooo apropos today. Serendipity strikes again. 🙂