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8 Ways to Reset a Bad Work Day

Some days, everything just goes a little bit wrong. The alarm goes off late, you ruin your breakfast in the morning, and then you realize you have a stain on your shirt as you are running out the door. On the way to work, you get stuck in terrible traffic, which causes you to be ten minutes late for an important work meeting. And to top it all, your boss is micromanaging you even worse than ever.

While it might be more tempting to crawl back into bed, it’s time to pull yourself out of the funk and turn your bad day around. Don’t let unfortunate circumstances set the tone for your day. Follow these simple tips to find the bright side of life again and have a productive day at work.

Breathe and Get Positive Vibes

Take a breath and remember to not be too hard on yourself. Some things are out of your control, and there is nothing you could have done differently. Take a moment to think about it and then move on. Seek out things that make you feel empowered, confident, or energized. Turn on the playlist that gets you pumped up, get your favorite work time drink, and then gear yourself for a great day of work. Try to knock a few easy things off your checklist to get your confidence and mojo back in a groove.


Sometimes, you just have to let the bad feelings out with a good venting session. Don’t keep your bad feelings bottled up because that could cause you to continue to dwell on the negative. Have a conversation with a sympathetic friend or co-worker who can help reset your bad energy for the day. Get it all out, but make sure to set a time limit for the venting so the negative talk doesn’t bleed into the rest of your day. After ten minutes of talking about the negative issues, move on to more uplifting things to cleanse your day of the bad.


Give Back

Giving back to others has proven to have great benefits on mood. A study done by a professor at Harvard Business School found that Americans who spent money on others were happier than those who spent more on themselves. To help reset your bad work day, you don’t have to do anything extravagant. Buying a coffee for a co-worker or an extra sandwich for the homeless man you always see down the street can have amazing benefits and exponentially increase your mood. Even just thanking a colleague for their help on a project or complimenting their new sweater could reap major benefits.



Another simple way to reset a bad workday is simply to laugh. Seek out a funny co-worker or even just find a short clip on YouTube to get you laughing again. A study done by researchers at California’s Loma Linda University found that adults who watched funny videos had lower levels of cortisol or the “stress hormone.” While laughing might not cause your problems to go away, it does make you happier and able to deal with them much easier. After all, laughter really is the best medicine.


Take a walk

Walking might be one of the simplest ways to improve your mood. It helps take you out of the situation and get a fresh perspective on your day. If you can, get out and walk outside, but even a walk up and down the hallway can help you feel enthusiastic about work again. Studies have shown that employees who took a 30-minute walk during their lunch hour felt more positive and relaxed in the afternoon compared to their co-workers who did not take a walk. Some added benefits could even be higher self-esteem, better views of your body image, and if you walk with co-workers, positive social interactions.


Don’t ignore personal problems

Is the reason you are feeling so overwhelmed by inconveniences due to personal problems? 47% of employees say that problems in their personal life sometimes affect their performance at work. Take a moment to reflect and understand why your bad day is really happening. Do you come into work already in a bad mood, regardless of how your morning started? If you feel like this is why you keep having bad work days, take the time and energy needed to fix your personal problems. Communicate with your boss and make sure you have all the tools at your disposal to try and eliminate any extra stress in your life.


Give Yourself Credit

Even if everything has gone wrong in the day, you still showed up and tried, and that is still better than giving up after the first sign when things went wrong. Try and find the positives in the day and remember that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Every day is not going to be a win, but If you gave up every time you had a terrible day, you would never accomplish anything. You still showed up, and that is way better than nothing.


Evaluate why it happened

At the end of the day, reevaluate why your terrible day happened. This is not the time for the blame game. If the reason why you didn’t have a good day is that you weren’t organized, or well-prepared, take steps to avoid the same issues in the future. As Rafiki from The Lion King said, “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” You can’t change what happened, you can only change how you can react in the future.

If you find that you keep returning to the stressful day and dwelling on it, try writing down these thoughts. Write down what’s stressing you out and why, and then come up with a plan to try to stop bad days like this from happening again. Once you have established your course of action, it’s time to let the stress go and remember that tomorrow is a brand new day.

Lindsey Conger on InstagramLindsey Conger on Twitter
Lindsey Conger
Associate News Writer: Lindsey is a writer originally from Chicago but can now be found somewhere in Europe. She is driven by a passion to explore every corner of the world, spread her marketing and business knowledge, and to be able to speak Spanish fluently. Follow her on Instagram at @lindseyaconger

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Associate News Writer: Lindsey is a writer originally from Chicago but can now be found somewhere in Europe. She is driven by a passion to explore every corner of the world, spread her marketing and business knowledge, and to be able to speak Spanish fluently. Follow her on Instagram at @lindseyaconger

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