Having a Bad Day At Work? 11 Ways To Recover

One of the common problems that we face is having a bad day at work. We’ve all been there. And it can be for all kinds of reasons and situations. 

But most of the time, you might be too consumed to come over the situation and take control. 

Since you’re reading this, assuming you are done with sulking all day due to the bad workday and ruining it even more. 

having a bad day at work

Image Source: Forbes

All the regret of losing your precious scheduled time due to which you are not able to achieve your targets might be eating you away. 

Well, first understand this – you’re not alone! 

Plenty of times, you rode the bandwagon of ignorance, but it happens more than you care to admit. 

Having a Bad Day At Work?

having a bad day at work

So here, find the potential solutions, different ways, steps, practices, and even mindsets you can acquire to deal with your bad day at work. 

And even having a bad, you can still achieve so much on that very day that you feel energized already for the next. 

Accept What You’re Feeling

This is where you start to reset your bad work day!

Accepting that you are not feeling well and specifying what exactly you’re feeling is the first step in the positive direction. 

Recognize your emotion, whether you are feeling angry, sad, scared, or anxious. You just need to understand these feelings. 

Don’t try to fight it, but at the same don’t let it consume you as well. You have to move from “ I am scared” to “I am feeling scared.” 

Become the observer of your feelings rather than becoming them. Once you recognize it, accept it and separate it from yourself, it becomes a bit easy to deal with it. 

Or at least it is not going to take you down the path of ignorance or dismissal, which is totally unhealthy for your mind and body. 

Remember that what you are feeling is temporary, and that doesn’t define you as much as you like to think at the moment. 

Stop The Negative Loop Of Thoughts 

Are you too quick to jump into the negative loop of thoughts whenever things are not going your way? 

It is normal to get negative, especially on bad days at work. Humans have a strong bias towards negativity. Human brains are more likely to focus on negative than positive. 

But that doesn’t mean you let it! 

The worst you can do to yourself on a bad day at work is to think negatively. It is neither the solution nor the temporary relief or escapes from the situation.  

Negative thoughts itself is not uncommon or catastrophic; getting caught up in its loop and actually buying the outcomes is. 

You cannot give in yourself to all these negative thoughts at the time of an unproductive day or even the worst day of your life, per say. 

having a bad day at work

We tend to tell ourselves the stories that we believe. Most of the time, there is no actual present, only our suffering from these negative thoughts. 

One of the most common examples of this is making some minor mistake at the beginning of the day or missing out on your schedule. 

You are more likely to beat yourself up, caught up in a negative loop of thoughts considering all the bad consequences. 

This is only going to consume your time and affect your self-esteem and eventually mental health. 

So it is better to give up these negative thoughts and see what practically you can do now, and how you can make sure you use the rest of the day. 

Prepare yourself for the bad days as it is a part of life, and if you can believe that you can deal with them, you will feel much less anxiety or stress about it. 

Let it Go 

One of the ways to move forward when you address these loops of negative thoughts inside your head is to let it go. 

Let it go all! The whole structure that led you here to this very moment with such negative emotions. 

Dismiss the whole structure and renew your mind with peace. And it is impossible to feel peace if you are not letting go of these thoughts and emotions. 

Your mind is telling you that worrying makes it real, but it isn’t. You can always deal with the problem without too many thoughts and worries. 

So allow yourself to get relaxed and consciously decide to let all this thinking, worrying, and chattering go away. 

You can do deep breathing or meditation to calm yourself for sure. 

Take a Deep Breath 

Deep breathing can really help you in getting through the stress and panic of having a bad day. 

Maybe there are just too many things happening around you, so sometimes, all you need to do is take a deep breath. 

First of all, deep breathing slows down things for you and allows you time to process things. 

having a bad day at work

Image Source: MT

Deep breathing boosts the oxygen supply to your brain, making it active and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. 

This is always the simplest yet highly powerful way to deal with any kind of stress, panic or anxiety. 

According to the experts, it also calms your mind to bring you more to awareness, far away from all the negative thoughts. 

After some deep breathing, you will be more likely to make better decisions than you might have made with a restless or stressed mind. 

Declutter Or Throw Away 

Making yourself feel more organized actually helps you relieve some stress and trick your mind to have control over the situation. 

So, either you can declutter your desk, your computer or your inbox. Just do some organizing, and cleaning work where you have to throw something away. 

It will make you feel better and more prepared to go for the next challenge.  

Not to mention, throwing away feels good whether you do it physically with garbage, papers or anything or do it on your inbox. 

Writing Affirmation/Gratitude In Your Journal  

Gratitude is something that settles you down and makes you peace with what you have and what you can control rather than what you don’t or can’t control. 

Jotting down a gratitude list is a practice to shift your perspective on how you are looking at things. 

It is a more positive outlook to life where you show gratitude for things that you have today. 

having a bad day at work

  Image Source: SD

( This image depicts the self-affirmation theory) 

You have a little diary or journal with yourself and write like “ 5 things I am grateful for” or just write down all the things you have today you feel thankful for. 

And when you write down, you will see there is so much you have as compared to what you don’t. 

It psychologically makes you feel positive and hopeful about things. Even when having a bad day, you remind yourself that there is a lot you are grateful for. 

It will re-center your mind and remind you that everything that is going around is temporary and that what you are feeling is a state of emotion,a reaction, and it will pass away.  

Do Something Nice For Someone 

It is true that you’re not having a good day, but instead of feeling bad about it and might end up ruining the day for your loved ones, you can really turn it around. 

Try to make someone else’s day better. Shift away the focus from yourself. 

It can be difficult, but with practice, this can be a great technique you acquire to deal with your emotions. 

Whenever you have a bad day or even simply just not feel very amped up, just go out there and do something good. 

It can be buying a stranger a coffee, getting some unprivileged kids to dinner, helping someone, or anything that is not about you. 

And by doing that, you will get this token of joy overpowering the bad feeling you’re having about this day. 

This is not actually a quick hack but proves the fact that you receive happiness when you give some. 

Also, not everything is about you! You can sometimes stop thinking about yourself and see the world outside. 

Talk About It 

One of the healthiest ways to reset your bad day is to talk it out with someone you can really talk to. 

Make sure to have this person who doesn’t judge you and has a really deep connection with you. He or she can be your spouse, friend or family as well. 

Just vent out how bad you’re feeling, and how things are not going well, and talk it out of everything that is bottled down inside you. 

It is probably all the settled and undealt emotions that are eating you away for a long time, and this might be another bad day to trigger it up. 

Also, it is important to bring in a new or different perspective that you might have never thought about. 

Sometimes we are too close to the problem, so we are blinded by it even if it is too simple. 

Talk and try to get things out of your system, see through different perspectives and reach the core of your problems. 

Reward Yourself 

Rewarding yourself in exchange of working hard helps you get more work done. 

It is a proven method to achieve more and trick your brain to do even harder things than you think you can. 

Decide what or how you are going to reward yourself when you complete the task at hand. 

It can be different as per the difficulty level or type of task you complete. The harder the work you do, the better reward you get. 

Cultivating this into your work culture will bring great results. And this can be the best way to increase your productivity in general and probably that will make your days better. 

And even getting rewarded for the work you do helps you rejuvenate and prepare for the next task with more enthusiasm. 

The reward can be more sweetened coffee or watching your favourite show’s recently released episode. 

For complete full-week projects, you can get yourself a massage or movie to theatres or a long drive. 

The reward even can be  3 to 6 days vacation or staycations if you managed to complete a big ambitious project recently. 

Complete Something Fulfilling 

Do you really want to feel good on a bad day or a set of bad days? 

Well, an instant mood booster can be doing something that you have been waiting to do for a long time. 

It can be something on your to-do list for quite a while, but you weren’t able to. Or there could be some work you left incomplete. 

Doing something when most things are not going well in your day or life will help you gain some self-confidence and self-esteem. 

It develops your coping mechanism for the other problems as well. And, at least you won’t fall for the stress or any anxiety in such times. 

This can be related to your work or even totally different from it but it has to be something fulfilling and important to you. 

Make sure you pick something with less time consumption to snowball this momentum to keep working on your present problems as well. 

Take A Moment 

Sometimes all we need to do is, stop! 

Take a moment. If you are feeling too anxious or stressed about things happening in your life or in general as well, take just 15 minutes away. 

In those moments, detach yourself from all the thoughts. Don’t think of anything, all your worries, problems, commitments or anything. 

Do something like reading a book, going for a walk or taking a shower, and even watching something that makes you feel good. 

Take a micro-break to get hold of yourself and relax for proper functioning. Most of the time, it is just too much thinking. 

This bad day isn’t going to change, especially things that you cannot control and the rest all is your mind. 

Take Out Yourself From Your Usual Environment 

It is fine to walk away from your bad day for a while. Get a change of scenery, especially when your bad situation is linked to a place, for example, an office or your home. 

Remove yourself from the setting, and you will see yourself feeling better for the moment. 

You might not escape the whole day or if you can afford to, for the sake of your mental peace, do it! 

Otherwise, changing the environment for some time will get you back on the right path. 

It is also a great way to prevent yourself from doing something outrageous due to stress, frustration, or anger. 

If your bad day is due to arguments with your loved ones, and you don’t feel the connection and seem the more you try, the worse it gets, this is the time to walk out for a while. 

Give it some time. Give yourself some time to deal with it in the best way. 

Take a walk outside. Get yourself some coffee and relax for a while in a different environment.  

Change Your Working Location 

According to studies, 99 percent of workers feel more productive outside the office. 

Plus, you can optimize the day for better productivity if you feel positive working somewhere else. 

Change your workplace if that’s what it takes to reduce your stress and feel better. If you cannot move out of the office, find some other spot inside. 

Maybe a change of scenery can help you regain your focus and gain momentum in work. 

Once you make the best of the day, it won’t be a bad day at all anymore. 

Drink Water 

It is quite easy to forget not to drink enough water, especially when you are all stressed out or in a bad mood. 

Make sure you stay hydrated to maintain your body temperature. It also lubricates your joints and keeps you fresh and your skin healthy. 

Even more importantly, according to studies, if you are even just half a liter dehydrated, it can increase your cortisol levels. 

Cortisol, as you know, is one of those stress hormones. So drinking enough water will help you keep your stress levels at bay. 

Not to mention how badly it will affect your health along with the prolonged stress you are putting on. 

So make sure you take care of your body. Keep drinking water every once in a while throughout the day. 

Also, drinking water will also help you fight the temptation to go for consistent sugary snacks or high caffeine coffee breaks. 

Work As It is Sprint, Not Marathon 

If you are having a bad day because you are not getting done enough from your current schedule or are not happy with your productivity levels, try this. 

Rather than working continuously and churning out hours over hours to hit more targets towards the end of the day, work in short periods. 

having a bad day at work

Image Source: Medium 

Think of it as a sprint vs marathon!  You have to work as it is a sprint, not a marathon. So work for a short period of time and take a break. 

Push yourself to be highly focussed for these short periods and then get breaks in between. Then further, try to be focused partially over this a long period of time. 

The idea is to push only to a limitation where you can get a rest point and then start all over again. 

According to the research, working for an hour and a half and then taking a break throughout the day will boost your productivity dramatically. 

Set Your Priority Task On Deadline 

If you’re having a really bad and already spent half or even more of your day wasted or worse, sulking or on a guilt trip, there is still something you can make out of the day. 

And make sure you do this right away! ( Don’t read any more blogs after this one 🙂 

Here is the strategy or a principle called the “80/20” rule of Vilfredo Pareto that can be applied. It says how 80% of your results come from just 20% of your input. 

This makes things hopeful for you, for this day! You can still complete 20% of your work that is worth 80% of your outcome. 

So find out the most important, the priority task or tasks you scheduled to do this day. 

having a bad day at work

Image Source: Toggl

Now once you know this task, do not waste your time on other secondary tasks or trivial works lined up today. 

You won’t be able to cover it all and it is only going to slow you down and end up not doing the tasks that are important and worth 80% of your outcome. 

So put your priority task on the deadline. Create an instant schedule for today with tasks and set deadlines. 

Now the remaining part of the day, you can just focus on completing this one priority task or task. The best strategy is to work in batches a short time, such as 40-45 minutes, with little breaks between. 

Don’t forget to reward yourself once you beat the deadlines with something that you really like. It can be the nearby cheeseburger or watching your favorite show etc. 

Understanding The Route Of The Problem 

If you are having a bad day, maybe it is due to the lack of control you feel at work. It can be some mistake you have made in the recent past. 

You need to find the root cause of your problem due to which you are feeling this emotion. 

Otherwise, even with temporary relief, you are always going to be coming across the same problem over time. 

Find where this bad mood stems from. What series of events lead you to reach this place? 

If you are going through some crisis or personal problem, track its origins. 

It will first help you resolve the problem from its roots and also prevent you from getting caught up in the same situation. 

Apparently, you would come to know that most of your problems are coming from unfortunate events that you do not control. 

So eliminate all those things you couldn’t control rather than focus on things you can control and achieve. 

Focus on the achievements and goals you have accomplished so far, write it down, and keep them with you. 

Get A Quick Nap 

A quick nap might not sound like a solution to your problems for the day, it very well helps you cope with a bad day. 

With all the stress, it is more likely to fog your mind for making clear and rational decisions and even make you panic. 

That can turn your day even worse, your frustration might take the worst of you, or you may end up lashing out at someone or saying something you regret. 

So to calm yourself down, just get a quick nap irrespective of the time. It will improve your brain function and calm you down. 

It will help you drain all the emotional feelings and irritation away. After waking up, you are more likely to make a better decision and cope with it better. 

Just make sure you don’t take any longer than 20 minutes because you might feel sleep inertia and even worsen your state of mind. 

Hug Someone 

This might sound childish, but it works immensely in times of feeling restless and worried. 

If you are feeling depressed or just that nothing is going to be alright, hug someone who can tell you that everything is alright.  

This person is surely better if someone you really love and care for and the person understands you. 

When you hug, the body comes in contact, releasing a hormone called oxytocin. This will make you feel warm, comfortable, and loved. 

According to several studies, it has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Even several life suggestions are to just find someone who is down for a hug and go for it. 

Use Gratitude

When things are getting worse, it is easy to crib, crumble or crawl into your ignorance zone, but that’s not a healthy attitude to pursue. 

What best you can do is step back a little and look for the big picture. 

Rather than focussing on what you don’t have, think about what you do have. Show your gratitude towards it. 

Write down things you are thankful for on a regular basis, and you will see there is so much you have that even others might not. 

There are a lot of successful personalities who talked about how gratitude was a powerful way to lead them through dark times. 

If you tend to compare yourself a lot, it will make more sense to compare yourself to other people who aren’t as privileged as you or suffering from bad health or loss of loved ones. 

This will give you humble reminders that it is so much you can achieve as you have done earlier. 

Combat your day with these gratitudes and positive thinking blend with a healthy routine for yourself. 

And you will see yourself coming out of such bad days, even for good. 


Laugh? When do you have a bad day? Ya, we know. It is almost not possible to get a real good laugh when your day is heart-breaking and emotional-draining. 

But the thing is, even if you feel agitated, stressed, or frustrated at a time, even a negative laugh at the moment pushes those feelings aside. 

This is because emotional people do not like it when they have to share space with each other. You can’t be laughing and angry at the same time. 

Hence, laughter therapy exists. Do try this; at least it can help you in the toughest moments of your day. 

Throw Your Problems ( Like Literally!) 

If you are having a bad day, what you can do is write down all of your thoughts on paper. Put the problems you have currently on the paper. 

And then crumple it and throw it away. This doesn’t sound like much of a help, but psychologically it affects your brain and how you think. 

It is about externalizing your solution by throwing away your problems literally. This encourages you to take action in a positive way and do that to your real problems as well. 

Also, when you write it down, you get clarity on what exactly your problems are as in your head, it is always abstract. 

Now you have just materialised your problem by writing it down. Your actions towards it will move with much more clarity and the right strategy. 

Try Meditation 

If you are all new to meditation or even have never done it before, it is a great exercise to calm your mind and relax it from any thoughts. 

On a physical level, meditation slows down your heart and steady your respiration, also lower cortisol levels. 

Meditation helps tremendously in managing your moods and state of mind. And if you think it is something far beyond to try, it’s not. 

At least you can begin it at your home at a basic level, and it will give you all the above benefits mentioned. 

All you have to do is pause for five to ten minutes. Sit down straight, cross your legs, put your hands on your lap or join your hands ( as namaste) and close your eyes. 

Now try to be just still with your mind. Don’t think about anything. Focus on your breathing; try to feel the atmosphere, the pressure on your body, the air, the smell, and everything. 

It is hard not to think about anything when you start but soon, with practise, you will achieve the state of thoughtlessness. 

Rewrite Your To-Do List 

Make your to-do list feel good about yourself. There must be things that you have accomplished in the day or past week, or even past month. 

Check your to-do list, and write a few more things to give yourself a challenge or work to move forward. 

Cross off work or things you have completed already, giving you satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment. 

This will make you remember that there is nothing wrong with you. You have completed or achieved plenty of stuff earlier. 

It is just a bad day or temporary problem that you need to battle with. 

Focus On Doing One Thing At A Time 

Do you take pride in being a multitasker? Well, you might have to reconsider that as if you are not having the best day possible, that just be the reason. 

Multi-tasking, to begin with, is not something everyone can do or should do in the first place. 

According to the studies, when you switch between the tasks, you lose out on focus, and getting back to it will take more than 20 minutes, especially in the flow state. 

Switching between tasks can cost you the efficiency levels in productivity. It gets more work done by focusing primarily on one thing at a time. 

Have Fun 

Easier said than done! It may sound now like a very simple idea, but when you are under stress or under duress, it is almost impossible to have fun. 

Good or bad, you have to learn to embrace the day you have today. And that means looking forward to the experiences. 

If things aren’t going well these days, add something meaningful and fun to your schedule that you do daily. 

This will help you look forward to the day and something to lean on. There are different ways you can have fun! So, plan differently every day. 

For example, one day, you can plan an evening for drinks with your co-worker or friend outside, and another day, decide to watch something really good on Netflix with a good meal.  

This is also related generally to the work-life balance that you have to strike as a long-term way to lead a healthier and better life. 

Restore & Rejuvenate

When you have a bad day or a series of them in a row, it also could be a sign of burnout or work stress. 

Even if you are making a reckless mistake or can’t focus and stand up to your ideal day of productivity, don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Nothing happens without reason. You should be able to work naturally. And if not, it is called attention, either your body or mind or maybe both. 

Maybe you need a break or change your schedule, adding some kind of rejuvenation or some relaxation between the tasks. 

Restoration and rejuvenation is about giving back to your body and mind, rewarding it for the hard work or fueling it for further. 

You can exercise that is not only good for health but also gets your endorphins going, called the “happy pill” for your brain, triggering positive feelings. 

Meet with your friend for coffee and catch up at your favorite spot, go for a movie or sports event or lunch. 

There are different ways to restore and rejuvenate your body and mind. See what suits you the best.  

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