Not every single day is going to go exactly as planned. In fact, most of them probably won’t! Your computer takes forever to install updates and reboot, clients call you to complain about issues outside of your control, or your internet drops before you can save your work. Any or all of those could happen first thing in the morning and set the tone for your whole day. The emotional and mental impact of such challenges can build on each other and quickly turn your mood upside down.
While it’s very difficult to step back and rein in negative emotions, here are five ways we’ve found helpful for turning around a bad day:
- Acknowledge your bad day
Once we feel negative emotions, we often try our best to ignore them and get on with our day. While this might work for a little while, it can lead to an adverse reaction that affects your behavior towards work and coworkers. Instead, take a step back, accept that you are feeling pessimistic and ask yourself what is causing these emotions. Then look at the situation objectively to recognize that it is probably not that bad of a situation. After going through this process, the negative feelings should have less power to influence your mood and behaviour.
- Go for a walk
The advice to “walk it off” is a classic for a reason. Studies have shown that going for a walk for 20-30 minutes, particularly in nature settings, significantly lowers stress hormone levels. Plus, if you make it a habit to go for walks, those de-stressing benefits will build up and make you more resilient in the future. Leave the environment where your bad day started and head outside to walk it off in the fresh air. Make it a lunchtime habit and even ask a coworker to join you to enjoy the long-term benefits.
- Practice breathing techniques
It’s no secret that meditation or breathing exercises are popular methods to help stay calm and reset when a bad mood sets in. One relaxation technique is called “deep breathing”. Here’s how you do it: Take a normal breath, then a deep breath. Breathe in slowly through the nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Then, breathe out slowly through your mouth or nose. Focusing on deep breathing helps distract you from negative thoughts and emotions and lowers stress levels.
- Talk to a friend or family member
Sharing what you’re feeling with a trusted coworker, friend, or family member can have major benefits. The emotional and informational social support you’ll receive from them will help you readjust your negative emotions back to your normal mindset. This happens when people we trust listen to what we have to say without judgement, help us find positivity at a time where we struggle to see it, and relay unbiased advice tailored to the situation, possibly from their own experience. All of this support makes your bad day less destructive to your mindset.
- Make something
Distract yourself by doing an activity that requires using your hands – making, fixing, or cleaning something. A bad mood is the perfect opportunity to declutter your workspace, replace a burnt out lightbulb, or finally get to that filing that’s been piling up. Working with our hands has been shown to provide satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, especially after seeing the final product that you have completed. That will help you return to your work in a more confident, positive mindset and tackle whatever obstacles were tripping you up in the first place.