When You’re Having a Bad Day at Work

We all have bad days sometimes:  Something in your personal life could be causing you stress; perhaps you’re unhappy with the way things are going in your job; or maybe you just didn’t get enough sleep.  The point is that you’re not feeling well and people had better stay out of your way!

Hold it!  You can get away (sometimes) with snapping at your friends and family, but at work it is unacceptable behaviour.  In the workplace, you need to rise above your bad mood and be professional at all times.  Here are some tips to help you snap out of your grumpiness and have a productive day.

Focus on a task that doesn’t involve people.  If it is possible within your job, try to start your day with a more solitary task.  Filing, cleaning, and organizing all allow you to work off frustration and give you a little space from your co-workers.  After you’re finished, you may feel a little better and you’ll be glad that you got the job done.      

Be kind to yourself.  Today is not the day to start a diet or to quit drinking coffee.  Be a little extra gentle with yourself today.  You could treat yourself to a hot chocolate or to lunch at a restaurant.  You could even promise yourself that you will watch the hockey game or take a bubble bath when you get home.  If you allow yourself these little treats, you may start to feel better. 

Tell a co-worker or a friend how you are feeling.  Sometimes it helps to tell somebody that you’re having a bad day.  If you have a friend at work or you are close to a co-worker, don’t be afraid to talk to them.  When you are open with your co-workers,  you start to develop a closer relationship with them.  Also, they may be able to offer you some support.  Tomorrow it might be your turn to listen when your co-worker is having a bad day.

Try to be optimistic.  Try to maintain a positive attitude even though you are having a bad day.  Be grateful that you have a job and know that your problem will not last forever.  When something is causing you stress, you need to either make a change or accept the situation.  Decide what you are going to do and be happy with that decision.

Put on a smile until 5pm.  If nothing is making you feel better, then you need to act like the professional that you are and put on a happy face.  You don’t have to sing love songs, but also don’t snap at people or walk around with a scowl.  If you try to project an image that you are happy, you may even start to feel better.

When you’re having a bad day, it can be difficult to get out of bed, let alone to go into work and be friendly to people.  However, it is important that you smile and act professionally even when you aren’t feeling great.  Think about it- would you want to be around someone who seems unhappy?  If you were a manager, would you promote someone whose moods are unpredictable?  So look happy and get to work!

(Written by:  Karen Bivand)

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