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How to bounce back after a bad day at work

If it feels like everything is weighing you down today, you are having what many of us call “one of those days”. It can feel awful, and it seems the Brazilian football team would also understand, having lost 7-1 in the World Cup quarter final. Expectations have not been met; there is disappointment all round; there is frustration at the team’s performance, and most importantly, there is a serious dip in motivation for the upcoming days at work – which for Brazil, is the third place playoff at the weekend.

Understand what has gone wrong

What’s infuriating you? What is it causing your day to be so bad? Is it your boss changing his/her mind at the last minute, your colleagues, or perhaps even a major change is taking you and it’s making you feel uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, the first step is to understand what has been going wrong. Don’t do anything about it yet, but identify the problems causing you to become anxious. Once you know this, you can think about what to do about it.

Your boss/the client

Your boss/the client is likely to have the largest influence on your day. Their feedback can be the difference between a good and bad day’s work. But if your boss has caused you frustration, the important thing is not to take any rash action. Get to know when you are having a bad day and try to stay clear of your boss for all but essential conversations – this goes for when your boss is have a grumpy afternoon too, give them space.

Your Colleagues

Write everything you want to say to your colleagues or even your boss in an email, but DO NOT send it. Wait until you have had time to sleep on what has occurred throughout the day. When tomorrow comes, read the email you wrote – the likelihood is that you won’t feel as strong minded as you did at the time of writing the email. Another option which may also be a good idea (where possible) is to take a day off or ask your boss to work from home for a day or two. This will help break the daily cycle of seeing your colleagues and may be a much needed break to even out your stress levels.

Your body and mind

You don’t have to meditate for hours on end or visit a spa for the weekend to unwind after a bad week at work (although these are great ideas!). Simply getting that extra hour or two of sleep each night can help you feel optimistic and refreshed for the next day. Make it a priority to get some exercise after work too, you will be surprised how much a 30 minute gym session or run can help clear your mind and release some tension. You can do whichever exercise you prefer.

Sort out your priorities

“I don’t have time to go for a run”, “I’m always working, even whilst at home”, “I think my frustrations and worries may be coming from family and friend issues”. These are all signs that you need to have a look at your priorities and set some boundaries for work and for home. You may think that staying an extra 2 hours at work finishes off is a good idea but it means you can’t spend time with the family and with friends, or spend time on yourself to clear your head. Remember that the work will be there waiting the next day. Similarly, if friends and family are calling you all day at work with problems, unless there is a major issue which means you have to leave work, wait until the end of the day to sort it out. It may be easier said than done, but try to leave your personal problems at the door and collect them again when you leave. Leave work at work, and leave home issues at home.

Suck it up and deal with it – there is more to do

We all have bad days at work, just like Brazil losing 7-1 to the Germans on Tuesday night. The entire team and their fans are distraught and frustrated at such a defeat, but there is still more for Oscar and friends to do with the third place play-off game on Saturday night. The Brazilians need to suck it up and refocus their energies for the next game. Just as you need to be prepared for the next day of work, no matter how you feel. So if you are having a rubbish week at work, remember the tips above and try to make small changes in your life to improve each working day. And if things are still bad, some serious thought may be required as to the next steps.

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