5 Ways to Bounce Back From a Bad Day at Work

08/14/2015 05:28 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017
Photo of a businesswoman sitting at her desk with her head in her hands, as if having a very bad day.
Photo of a businesswoman sitting at her desk with her head in her hands, as if having a very bad day.

No matter how positive of a person you are, or how much you love your job, bad days happen to the best of us. When you're having one of those days where it seems nothing goes right and life is just harder than it usually is, it can be tough to pull yourself out of the funk that so often follows.

It's important to know how to bounce back after a bad day at work so one crummy Monday doesn't turn into a crummy week. If you're struggling to find the bright side today, try one of these five ways to get yourself back up and running ASAP.

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1. Don't Take It Personally
Bad days at work can be caused by a number of things -- but if your bad day was set off by someone else's negativity, don't take it personally. If someone else was angry, upset, stressed. frustrated, or just plain mean, it's important that you not internalize their actions or behavior. Don't bottle up how a bad day made you feel. Communicating how you feel to someone else can help you work through how you're feeling, and it may also help to get feedback and perspective from an outsider.

Coach Christine Kane has a great set of tips you can use to stop taking things personally.

2. Shake It Off and Don't Take It Home
When work sucks, it's all too easy to bring our stress and unhappiness home with us. To shake off a bad day, leave work at work. Try to establish an end-of-the-workday routine that helps signal the official end of the day. That way, when things don't go so great, your mind still gets to process that work is over -- and now it's time to go home, relax, and do something that makes you happy.

Speaking of, another way you can bounce back is to....

3. Do Something That Makes You Feel Great!
Put an end to your bad day by seeking out things you know make you feel empowered, confident, and happy. That might mean doing a yoga routine when you get home. Maybe you can grab your favorite book and a glass of red wine and treat yourself to a quiet evening in. Or if you're extroverted, you may get your energy back by taking someone on a coffee date.

Just make sure you engage in healthy habits. You won't bounce back from a bad day if you overindulge in food or alcohol, and having an hours-long TV binge likely won't make you feel better. You need to bring yourself back up -- not sedate yourself with activities that keep you sedentary and disengaged.

4. Vent or Rant if You Need To
And of course, sometimes you just need to vent and rant. That's okay! Get it all out, but put a time limit on the complaint session. Moan and whine for 10 minutes. Then be done, move on, and do something that makes you happy.

5. Evaluate What Happened
Hopefully, one or more of these strategies can help you bounce back after a bad day at work. But before you move on and put everything behind you, take a moment to reflect on what didn't go so great. If you can evaluate what went wrong, you can better understand how to avoid doing the same thing in the future.

This will help you be proactive, rather than reactive -- and you may be able to prevent a bad day from derailing your week before it even happens.

Kali Hawlk, author of this article for GoGirl Finance, is a financial writer and the marketing manage for XY Planning Network. She's passionate about helping others do more with their money, their careers, and their lives. You can find her on Twitter @KaliHawlk.