Tough Day? 8 Ideas to Turn It Around
by: Brooke LaTurno EIPA 4.0 - NIR Interpreter Coordinator
One thing I have noticed since joining this field, is that some days the work lights up our hearts and other days are harder. I am sure we have all experienced those kinds of ups and downs, and come to expect it as a natural part of our journey as interpreters. When the hard days hit it can be demoralizing, so it is helpful to have strategies ready to use to cheer yourself up. Below are eight ideas of how to shake off the ‘ick’ feelings after a rough day.
Write a thank you letter
If we are lucky, there are special people in our lives who help us along our path. Think of how meaningful it would be for that person in your life to hear from you about what you learned from them, or how they inspire you. You never know how you might touch another person’s heart when you express how much they have impacted yours.
With the interconnectedness of our daily lives through digital spaces and social media, it is easier than ever to find volunteer and/or pro bono opportunities. Maybe there is a great organization who needs an interpreter for an Instagram Live! Perhaps the local community garden or beach needs help weeding out invasive plants. Think about the places and spaces you love, and how you might be able to lend a hand to their mission.
Engage in Professional Development
In moments when we feel a little lackluster, it can be especially powerful to learn something new. Check out RID or your favorite workshop provider, enroll in a class, or read a book relating to the field. There are so many resources available to us to gain new understanding and knowledge.
Below are just a few ideas of various educational resources, outside of the interpreting realm. This is not an exhaustive list – there are so many more out there, waiting to be discovered!
Focus on the positive
Take a few minutes to write down a quick gratitude list. It can be as simple as jotting down three things! Research shows that people with habits of gratitude tend to be happier and less stressed, reaping many health benefits such as stronger immune systems and better sleep.
Ask for help and/or help someone else
Reach out to a friend or mentor and set-up a date to meet or connect on a call. Just laughing and catching up with someone who is dear to you can make all the difference in your outlook and mood. Alternately, is there someone in your life who is going through a hard time? Showing up for that person and being there during a loved one’s time of need can have a profound transformative effect on how we feel about ourselves.
Connect with nature
If you are a nature-lover, you may have noticed how a trip to a natural place (be it a park or a beach or a meadow) will almost immediately alter your mental state for the better. Even just a few minutes in nature can have a significant impact on our perspective.
It can be cathartic to scrawl out your thoughts and feelings onto a page, without self-censorship or judgment. Sometimes that one step is all it takes to get us to the point where we are ready to move on. If writing is not your thing, try recording a voice memo. One suggestion: if you write/record on the hard days, make sure you also make a practice of writing/recording on the great days, too. 🙂
Do something out of your wheelhouse
People say “variety is the spice of life” for a reason. Sometimes you need to get out of your same old patterns and comfort zone to try something new. Pick something completely outside of your usual interests, and just go for it. You might discover a passion for something that you never would have considered in the past.
I hope that at least one of these ideas struck a chord with you. If a day comes when the wind is taken out of your sails, do not lose hope. You never know when a tough day can transform into a great day – it only takes a moment for everything to change!
In the words of Alexandra Franzen today is not over yet:
“If your heart is beating, if your lungs are breathing, if you are still alive… then it is not too late to do something kind, creative, generous, satisfying, and courageous. Today.”