In Case of Emergency

All around your universe, you’ve got things stashed, quiet and out of the way, “in case of emergency.” Maybe there is a fire extinguisher on the wall in case of a fire or a spare tire in your trunk in case of a flat. All of these things are unobtrusive ways of preparing for the worst so that you can keep your mind focused on the best.

We all have bad days, but we are rarely prepared for them. Some days, I just wake up on the proverbial “wrong side of the bed,” and the slightest irritation can set the tone for my whole day.

Just like all those physical emergencies you’re prepared for, you should be prepared for the emotional ones too!

A friend once gave me some great advice for exactly this situation: make a “love list” — an inventory of easy, harmless activities you can do that make you feel good. Your list may include something simple as taking a warm bath or more complex like learning to play a musical instrument. These acts of self-love are what get you back in the game, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

This love list comes in handy not only when you are having a bad day, but when you notice your self-confidence waning. At a recent yoga workshop, Judith Hanson Lasater pointed out three qualities of a good yoga teacher: courage, trust, and love. She went on to say that when you notice your courage plummeting, step away from your yoga mat, and do something that brings you joy.

You can't solve a problem with the thinking that created the problem.
While it may seem counterintuitive, try stepping away when you are overwhelmed, if only just for a short break. It’s advice I am still learning to this day. However, I find it easier to make the jump if I already have a couple of activities to pull from.

What bring you joy?


  1. Chris says

    I am working through Leonie Dawson’s Shining Life workbook, and making a “what-to-do-on-a-bad-day” list is also one of her exercises. Some of my faves: a hot shower and changing into comfy jammies as soon as I get home from a hard workday; baking and sharing it with others; cooking for my family; calling a friend; writing in my gratitude journal; going to bed early; taking some time to look out the windows of my library and enjoy the view (it’s a nice one). Even a two minute break helps!

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