What to Do on the Dark Days

Article by Kristine CareyDo you ever have days when you just don’t want to? First you don’t want to make your bed or eat the right food. Then it ratchets up to not wanting to be nice, call people back, or do what you know needs to be done to keep your business running and thriving. Maybe it escalates to the point where you just don’t want to do anything except maybe sit on the couch, eat Cheetos, and watch Law & Order reruns.

Maybe you’re tired, burned out, sick, generally bummed, or just having an off day. Maybe something happened recently that knocked you off your game. Or something that you thought was going to work out great produced less-than-stellar results. Recently I was asked, “What do you do on those dark days?” While there’s no one definitive answer, an attitude adjustment may be in order. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me and my clients. Perhaps they’ll work for you, too.

Change of Scenery
Go grab a cup of coffee, take a walk, change locations in your current environment (move from your desk to the kitchen table, for instance), or work somewhere outside your house/office (coffee shop, colleague’s office, etc.).

Talk to Someone
Call a friend, colleague, or your Mom, visit your neighbor, talk to the mailman… Talking to another human who is not in the same mindset you are can work wonders.

Do Something Fun
Play with the dog, look at pictures of Munchkin cats (I’m not making them up!), watch an episode of Geek & Sundry, do cartwheels on the lawn, dance, or listen to the radio.

Nurture Yourself
Get a massage, cook or go out for a delicious meal, put on a favorite piece of clothing, curl your hair (this is mainly for the girls). If you keep a gratitude or evidence journal, read through it to remind you of your amazing life and work.

Go With It
Sometimes the best thing is to go with it. Buy the Cheetos, fire up the TV, and let yourself be. Often when the dark days happen, it’s a reminder to recharge, hit the pause button and not push so hard. Give yourself a break; the world will be there tomorrow. And if the day’s too packed for that today, do what you need to do to get through the day, then take time for yourself tonight or tomorrow. Do not try to blow off the feeling and try to power through. It’ll only make it worse; it’s like driving your car with not much gas in it — eventually, it just stops moving, and so will you.

My favorite attitude adjustment is going to Peet’s for a cup of decaf coffee. It gets me out of the house, I can take the dog along, it costs $1.80, and the total trip takes 20 minutes. I listen to the radio, roll the windows down, open up the sun roof, and enjoy the ride. Somehow those 20 minutes transport me into another world, a world where all is well, and I can just be. I come back able to make fresh decisions about what’s in front of me.

What can you do on the dark days? What could become an attitude adjustment for you? Make a list now, so you’ll be ready the next time a dark day dawns.

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Reader Comments


I am a big proponent of naps. I’m more likely to experience a dark day when I’m tired, and I find that a nap is the solution. Then I’m often able to work late into the night so I don’t lose out on work time.


Naps are a great idea, Diana! You’re right, being tired can really drag you down, and a nap, rather than a coffee or energy bar, is often a good move.

Article hit the spot, especially today. And reminded me to pull out my “boîte à caresses” (loose translation from French: my hugs box). A beautiful box in my office where I print and store happy moments to remember, especially those that boosted my spirits professionally…great feedback form a client post project, a positive reaction to a marketing action I might have stressed over…if it didn’t come in by mail, I will sometimes write up and print out 2-3 line descriptions of these energy boosting moments to remember when the going gets a little tougher…

Great Idea. Anouk Flambert… It’s certainly something to return good energy to your day! I plan to implement and share this idea immediately.