Everyone has a bad day at work at some point in time.
It could be that you have too much to do, but not enough time to do it all. Or maybe your presentation didn’t go over super hot with your boss and you have to go back to the drawing board.
Whatever the case, bad days at work can leave you feeling defeated and stressed.
That’s why it’s important to have stress-reducing outlets that can get you through those tough work days. If you don’t take care of your anxiety, anger, or whatever emotion you’re feeling, it could carry over into your personal life, which doesn’t isn’t healthy.
Below, I’m including five stress-reducing tips for handling a bad day a work so that when you clock out for the day, you can leave feeling like tomorrow will be a better day and acknowledge that although today may not have been ideal, these feelings of failure/doubt/defeat/frustration won’t last forever.
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1. Invest in a Stress Ball or Hand Grippers and Use Them If You Can’t Get Away
Have you ever gotten upset about something and felt your blood start to boil, maybe even to the point where your face goes red and you feel like steam is coming out of your ears?
Your body is most likely tensing up during this process and causing you to feel rigid, with reasonable thoughts going out the window because you’re focus is on the frustration or stress you’re experiencing in that moment.
Not only does this help get some of the built-up tension out of your system, but it also focuses your brain on a different task.
Take some deep breaths while you’re doing this to calm yourself down.
This isn’t meant to be a long-term solution to managing a bad day at work, but it can help with any anxiety you feel in the moment.
Be sure to keep them in a desk drawer for easy access!
My Product Recommendations:
If you don’t have access to a stress ball, try using tip #3 in this post that’s full of tips for bouncing back from work meltdowns.
2. Write Down and Focus on the Next 3 Things
When you’re having a bad day at work, it can be difficult to be productive and get out of the rut your in.
To help you refocus and get your brain back on the right track, it’s helpful to give yourself some small goals to work toward.
Rather than creating and staring at a mile-long to do list, try writing down the next three things that you need to get done that day.
It’s a manageable number and it helps you make progress on whatever work you’re completing.
When creating this list of three things, be sure that they are tasks you can accomplish that day. The goal is to build some confidence and good feelings back up regarding your capabilities so that you can leave the office feeling like the day wasn’t an entire bust.
I recommend these to do list index cards for tracking your progress.
3. Be Sure to Take a Break for Yourself (and Get Some Fresh Air)
Being stuffed up in an office all day can leave you feeling married to your job or stuck in whatever emotions you’re feeling throughout that day.
To help reset your body and brain, be sure to take a break and get outside! Fresh air does our bodies good and can be just what the doctor ordered.
If you don’t have a good walking place, try doing some laps around the building and really focus on your breathing. Let that fresh air fill your lungs!
This little change of scenery and exercise can help you refocus and be reminded that it’s just a bad day at work, not a bad life.
Exercise in general is great for your overall physical and mental health, so I highly recommend investing in an activity watch of some sort to track your progress each day. The Nokia Steel HR is a great hybrid smartwatch that shows analog time, but digital stats (and it even syncs with your phone and a Health Mate app)! Fitbit is also another great brand to consider and offers a wide range of fitness trackers
4. Read Through Your Past Accomplishments and Props
Do you have a project you’re proud of or a record of “props” that you’ve received from your boss and/or teammates (e.g. props for being the top salesperson this month, etc.)?
Now would be the perfect time to look at those again.
I keep folders in both my email and computer for moments just like this. Whenever I receive a compliment from someone or finish a project I’m really proud of, I drop it into those folders and review them every now and then.
You see, when we have a bad day at work, all our brains can focus on are the bad things we’re feeling. We fail to remember all the great things that have happened during our time in the role, including even our biggest accomplishments.
Take some time to remember the good times and reminisce on your successes.
5. Crank Your “Turn Up” Song
We all have a song (or songs) that instantly lightens our mood, if even for just a few minutes.
Music is therapeutic… it allows us to escape to a different world. Sometimes the lyrics express our emotions better than we ever could in a given moment.
So the next time you’re having a bad day at work, find your turn up song and lose yourself in it.
If it helps, sing along, dance around, or drum on your desk (just be mindful of your coworkers if they’re close by).
One Activity to Avoid During Your Bad Day at Work
Let me start by saying that I’m personally a big talker. I find myself word vomiting to get ideas out of my head so that I can start thinking straight and organize my thoughts in a more strategic manner.
And while talking can be a great outlet, especially when you’re frustrated, it can also get you into a lot of trouble if you say something to the wrong person.
By all means, call your mom, your spouse, your best friend, or whoever else you confide in when you’re having a difficult time.
But don’t burn bridges and go off on your boss. Give yourself a chance to cool off and collect your thoughts.
When we’re stressed, we often say things out of emotion.
If you go to your boss and lash out with a bunch of expletives about how terrible the company is and how you wish you never worked there, do you think it will go over well?
Instead of approaching them while you’re fuming, use some of the other stress-relieving tips above, or call someone you trust who isn’t your superior, to cool yourself down until you can think straight.
Give yourself some time to process and if you’re still feeling like you want to chat with your boss about your bad day at work, at least you’ll be coming to them with a clearer head and focused thoughts.
Have you ever had a bad day at work? What advice would you give to someone who is?
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