by: Emily Choong

Michelle Obama posed this question in her recently published guided journal: How do you look after yourself after you’ve had a bad day? “Bad days, eh?” I first thought. Bad days come in different forms—something out of control, mistakes, fear, failure, COVID-19… In all that, there is one good thing about bad days. They are not permanent. They are a part of everything that we go through, and they are necessary. You can always make things better your way.

We have witnessed COVID-19 affect and claim lives no matter at what age, gender, social status, sexuality, religion—anything. We watch as nations step back from daily routines; the hustle and bustles turning into deep silence; people living in fear of being affected or running out of supplies; and how the Internet has become the most ideal way of connecting with others in self isolation. It took this pandemic illness to challenge the way we function no matter who you are. There has never been a more significant time to look after yourself than during the current situation of the world today.

Spend some time going back to the little things. Something as simple as a pen holds more power than you think. Even if you cannot speak to someone, remember that your pen and paper will listen to you. Write about how you got through your day. Let your thoughts flow. Sketch if you must. Fill the entire page with just black ink. After that, take a few minutes to look back at what you have written. You have penned down the fact that you have survived yet another bad day. Remember that.

You can also find the little things in food. Take up cooking if you have never tried it. Learn a new recipe. Order takeout from a cuisine that you have been curious about. Food is always something to fall back on—happy or sad, rain or shine, war or peace. It is a form of art in so many cultures from the way your plate is presented to you to the way your grandmother cuts carrots. Take the time to put your plate together and decorate it just the way you like it. Look at the wonderful colours and inhale those aromatic smells. Take a few seconds to appreciate that you get to eat today. Even if you are not into hearty meals, it is perfectly fine to indulge in a tub of ice cream. Perfectly fine.

If all else fails, take a step back and breathe. Look out the window. Stare at some greenery. Take a peek outside and see earth’s natural canvas of clouds or stars above. Beauty is everywhere no matter how big or small, and no matter how bad the day is. There is always something else.

“In seeking out new perspectives and reaching outside of our comfort zones, we can discover more about ourselves.”—Michelle Obama

This entry is inspired by Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming: A Guided Journal For Discovering Your Voice’.