How often do you have a bad day at work?
As we all know, bad days at work are a fact of life. Whether they’re occasional or regular visitors, they’re bound to show up at one time or another.
And it’s hard to prepare for them since they can take so many forms! Sometimes it might be urgent tasks popping out of nowhere. Other times it’s well laid plans that have bombed, projects spinning their wheels or, more often than not, it’s due to something someone has done or didn’t do. Sound familiar?
Regardless of how bad days show up at your workplace, this article lays out seven approaches you can use to handle them positively.
7 Positive Ways to Handle a Bad Day
There’s no easy way out. No matter how hard we try to avoid them, bad days are going to happen at work every now and then. But while we can’t always control the things that happen to us at work, we can control our reactions. Here are seven ways you can do that and keep your wellbeing in tact…
Firstly, RELEASE your stress and tension…
1. Move It Out.
If your day is unfurling badly and you’re getting tensed up and stressed out make sure you get up from your desk and walk around your office. This will allow your breathing and bloodflow to move better. If you’re able to take lunch despite your bad day, take a quick walk to reduce your muscle tension, clear out the stress hormones in your system and keep you from getting more worked up.
2. Talk it out.
Seek out a trusted colleague to be a sounding board while you let out any negative feelings that have built up. Don’t just make it a “bitching” session though; these can make you feel worse than when you started. Ask for ideas on how to improve the situation and focus on finding solutions. If you can’t fix it, aim for acceptance of the situation.
3. Write it out.
Grab some paper and write whatever comes to mind. Just purge. Then put it into your bag or the shredder. The key here is not to just go over what has happened but to use the process of writing to help you make sense of what’s going on. Just don’t put it into an email or do it on your computer. This is for your eyes only!
Secondly, RECHARGE your body to keep going…
4. Feed Your Body
If you’re having an especially bad day, your body will be under a load of muscle tension and stress hormones. So at lunchtime or on breaks, instead of reaching for high fat or sugar foods, buy something healthy. Make sure you feed your body extra well when you’re under stress! While eating, focus on the food, not on re-hashing your day in your mind.
5. Rest Your Body
Recovery is crucial to our wellbeing but we too often ignore it. A bad day is NOT the day to push through – you need more recovery time, not less! Take short breaks when you can. Twenty minutes is best but if you can’t take that time, five minutes or even one minute can help. Find an unused meeting room or office, close the door and just sit with your eyes shut, breathing deeply. Even though it’s only a few minutes, it can be like pressing the reset button on your day.
Then REFOCUS your mind onto other things…
6. Focus on Others
The best way to refocus is to go and do something for someone else. While you might want to just sulk in the corner, nothing turns around a bad day like doing something nice for someone else. It’ll help shift your mind off yourself and your situation, it’ll make someone else feel good, and will improve your mood in the process.
7. Focus on What’s Going Right
You’re having a bad day, but I’ll bet there are also many things to be thankful for. Shift your attention onto things you like about your life that are still going well. This will initiate positive hormones within you that will help balance off the negative ones you were feeling.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait for a bad day to use these techniques! Using each of them every day will help you feel well, feel happy and manage stress.
Which will you do today?