Bouncing Back from a Bad Day at Work

Let me start off by saying that I love my job. And I’m not just saying that because my boss will (most likely) read this. Hi, boss.

Even if you love your job (like me), you’ve probably had at least a few bad days at work (also like me).

It doesn’t even have to be about work; it could be something in your family causing you stress. It could be car trouble, sleep deprivation, or . . . on and on. Life has a frustrating habit of throwing things your way even when you have quite a bit on your plate already, thankyouverymuch.

Sometimes things at work can be frustrating, too: difficult co-workers, demanding deadlines, projects that aren’t going smoothly, bad coffee, etc.

Distance yourself from the negative thought train which may be largely responsible for your gloominess.

Whether it’s work-related or not, whatever is affecting you doesn’t have to monopolize your mood. A bad day doesn’t have to be . . . a bad day.

Here’s how to bounce back when you’re having a hard day at work.

Get out of your head

In my experience, typically one percent of whatever problem I face at any given time is a real-life challenge, while ninety-nine percent is made up in my head and vastly inaccurate.

Sometimes we need to take a step outside of ourselves to realize that whatever is bothering us, most likely isn’t the end of the world.

Take a walk, read an uplifting article, strike up a conversation in the breakroom, make a coffee run, take a few deep breaths, listen to one of your favorite songs . . . whatever it takes to distance yourself from the negative thought train which may be largely responsible for your gloominess.

Giggle

A good chuckle will most certainly cheer you up. Sometimes I’ll search for quotes from some of my favorite television shows (The Office, Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development) to help me get out of a funk—or even find inspiration. Humor is one of the best tools for getting and remaining in good spirits.

A short YouTube video (I love listening to some of comedian Jim Gaffigan’s bits), a clever meme, an entertaining read . . . there are countless ways to lighten up during the work day. (Feel free to send it on and share the joy.)

Get Perspective

Some people are internal processors and some are external processors. Depending on which you may be, talking to someone or writing about what is frustrating you can be helpful.

Little acts of self-care can do a lot to improve your mood when you’re having a bad day.

The caveat with this is that you want to make sure you’re not merely complaining. While venting is often seen as therapeutic, it has been proven to not be as beneficial as people think. The trick is to speak about difficulty in a constructive way. Instead of “I need to get this off my chest,” start with “Can I get your advice about something?”

Ensure you are not gossiping about someone—even if they are really getting on your nerves— by asking yourself “What is my motive behind bringing this person up?” If it is only to talk about the negative ways they are affecting you, it is probably not the healthiest conversation to have.

Processing is an important part of dealing with various challenges that come our way. Seeking counsel on how to proceed from a trusted friend or colleague can be a healthy way to inspire hope about the situation. If that isn’t an option, writing a few sentences on the matter and how you’re feeling can help get perspective, too.

Nourish

  • Have you . . .
  • Had a drink of water (at least one)?
  • Eaten a healthy meal?
  • Exercised recently (a hard workout may not be an option but a long walk can work wonders)?
  • Read, seen, or listened to something beautiful?
  • Expressed gratitude (you do have a job, after all)?
  • Cleaned out your car (easy enough to do during your lunch break)?
  • Straightened up your office?

Little acts of self-care can do a lot to improve your mood when you’re having a bad day. You may not realize it, but being hungry or thirsty, having a messy environment, remaining inactive for too long . . . all these things can add to whatever stress you may be feeling. Addressing your human needs is vital to your overall well-being and certainly will help you feel better. Plus, you’ll be better at what you do and more pleasant to work with).

The next best thing

Growing up, whenever I felt overwhelmed, my mom always told me to just do one thing. One thing to get me closer to where I want to be, one thing to help me feel better, one thing I can cross off my to-do list.

We all have struggles, inside and outside of work, but that doesn’t mean your day is ruined.

No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, the beauty of the “one thing” rule is that successfully completing that one thing fuels you to do one more thing . . . and soon enough, you’ve done several “one things.”

And so, even if you’re having a rough day at the office and feeling hopeless about today—even if you’re tempted to give up on it and try again tomorrow—just do one thing that will help, directly or indirectly. We all have struggles, inside and outside of work, but that doesn’t mean your day is ruined. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a good day at work. It just means you’re alive and human. Take a deep breath, sit up, and just do the next best thing (even if that is looking at memes for the next five minutes).

And then get back to work. Right, boss?

PS: My boss added this meme in response to the article:

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