How to Deal with a Bad Day at Work

2018, Workplace Culture

A Bad Day at Work is a Glitch Not a Career Choice

Be truthful; we have all been this guy at some point in our careers. That one tiny straw that broke the camel’s back and all of a sudden you flip and go into beast mode. It may look a ridiculous reaction, but if we are honest, even if we are not in full beast-mode like that office worker, we have had days when a series of small, insignificant incidents pile up like a perfect storm of exasperation and boom! You have the meltdown that you thought you would never do.

But look, one momentary loss of control is not going to define you – unless you let it.

bad day at work

It is Not How You Fall Down, But How You Get Up

If you blow up, you almost instantly regret it. Your shocked, ashamed and think the worst. You just want to remove yourself from the office, go home and crawl under the covers. The idea of talking it over with colleagues, or worse still, explaining how you got there, is just too much to bear.

But you know what? You are not alone. So many people have this happen to them. We live in ever more pressurised times – pressure to succeed, deliver, improve, speed up. So that pressure is inevitably going to need to realise at some point. But it is not what you do; it is how you deal with it. And the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about it because that will just exacerbate the situation and then you’re in real trouble.

And what kicks off these episodes? Most people when they look back cannot believe they reacted so dramatically to such mundane incidents. Some cannot even remember what it was at all. It is quite easy to get yourself into a bad mood to have a bad day. One study showed that just a few minutes of consuming negative news could cause a bad day. Remember that perception is a reality. And if you perceive that you are having a bad day and it cannot get any better, then you will have a bad day that will not get any better. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You end up convincing yourself that your day is terrible, you are terrible, and there is nothing you can do about it.

But you are wrong. You need to change state – and fast. You need to build a mix of self-awareness and resiliency.

bad day at work

So, What Can You Do?

There are a number of things you can do if you feel the day is getting away from you or if you have had that meltdown.

Get out and go for a long walk. Endorphins get released through even moderate exercise, and these trigger a positive feeling in the body. Just twenty minutes brisk walk in the open air will work miracles on your state of mind. And listen to music while you do it – There is a lot of research about how music affects our moods and can bring us from a bad mood to a good mood pretty easily. Music will help you relax and unwind, making you get into a better mood.

Talk to a close friend and confidant. When you talk through an issue, you will inevitably see the cause and effect in its proper perspective.

Most importantly – evaluate what happened – If you can evaluate what went wrong, you can better understand how to avoid doing the same thing in the future.

This will help you be proactive, rather than reactive — and you may be able to prevent a bad day from derailing your week before it even happens.

bad day at work

A Bad Day at Work is Not the End of the World

This might be the most important thing you learn from having a bad day. It may seem that everything is daunting, and you might feel that you are stuck in a rut. However, this likely is not the first time you have been faced with a challenge, and remember, you can get through it. It may sound like a cliché, but it is helpful to take a deep breath and remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day.

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