The “rite” way to turn around a bad day

Let’s say that it’s been that kind of day. Where you lose your keys, and in hunting for them, come across unfinished projects, forgotten messes, and a bill that someone forgot to pay. Your coffee spills, you get stuck in traffic and maybe, just maybe, you now have a headache. It’s the kind of day when everything’s wrong.

What can you do to turn your day around? You may choose the oft-touted healthy strategies of exercise, meditation and relaxation. Or, let’s face it, when we’re having a bad day most of us resort to indulging, distracting, or medicating.

I’d like to offer you another option that you probably haven’t considered: a rite or ritual based on something you already need to do. What makes it a “rite” or “ritual,” is that it is done with purpose and intention.

Here’s how you do it:

As soon as you can, mindfully step out of your routine, pick a task, whether large or small, and finish it. As my coach, Vanessa Long, explained to me, getting on top of one small area of your life—whether it is the jumbled sock drawer or the 3 light bulbs that are burnt out in the basement—gets our energy moving in a positive direction. Symbolic action—a rite or ritual—provides focus and a feeling of control and empowerment amidst life’s chaos.


They say your environment reflects your inner state!

Is there one place in your home or office that you need to be tidy to feel better? For me it’s the kitchen table. For you it might be having your wallet or purse organized, or putting the jumbled shoes in neat rows by the door. Next time you’re in overwhelm, make it your small but mighty ritual to create a little more order in your world. Do it intentionally—and notice what shifts for you internally—a sense of satisfaction, a quieting of the inner voices, or a boost in energy: it’s all possible.


After a cranky start to the day, my son and I finished working on his toy area and both of us felt great afterwards.

This is why ceremonies often include rites and rituals. Many of life’s transitions can be overwhelming and evoke a mixture of emotions, even if they are conventionally deemed “happy” (weddings) or “sad” (funerals). Ceremonies contain meaningful actions, the use or presence of symbolic objects, and storytelling—all of which resonate powerfully at an unconscious level.

Like the simple rite of clearing the coffee table, consciously approaching life’s larger transitions through personalized ceremony empowers us with a sense of control in how we respond to, and make meaning out of, the larger events of our lives. As a Life-Cycle Celebrant, I love helping people to discover what actions, symbols and words will best serve their needs and creating a ceremony around them.

Why not craft your day the same way? Our daily sustenance rituals—lighting a candle to remember someone, taking a moment to stand with our bare feet on the grass, or tidying our desk—also help us to live a rich and purpose-full life.

What everyday rituals do you have?  I’d love to hear your stories.

Comment here, or contact me at For information about the custom-crafted ceremonies I offer, visit my website  To learn more about my coach, Vanessa Long, and her powerful strategies for creating the life you want, check out

2 thoughts on “The “rite” way to turn around a bad day

  1. Kylie says:

    Very true. Even a ritual as simple as tidying up a cluttered space can help when we’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed. I often do it when my mind seems cluttered or scrambled- and a clear thought is no where in sight-. Also- as you mentioned- helpful in releasing any stressful energy or negative energy. *P.S. your writing is very well written* 🙂

  2. Laura Higgins says:

    One of my readers on Facebook, my dear Aunt, made a good point. What if you’re already someone who keeps everything neat? Taking care of any unfinished business could also provide a shift. For you, it might be making an appointment or phone call you’ve been putting off, finishing a project, clearing out the inbox or grooming the dog–something that’s been at the back of your mind to do. Perhaps it is doing something to take care of yourself–often one of the most challenging things to fit into our busy lives. Whatever the task, getting it done is like sealing a small leak in our energy. It frees up a small part of our unconscious mind to now focus on moving forward towards our goals.

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