A bad day at work can sour anyone's mood — it makes you automatically think of packing up and moving to a beach town, one where you could make a career out of selling ice cream to tourists. Forget this office life, who needs it. But you can turn around a bad day at work faster than you can pack your bags to Barbados, so it might be worth giving that a shot first. While I'm all for indulging yourself in a good sulk (sometimes you need it!) often times a work environment doesn't make it easy to brood and stew.
For days where you can't just put up your hoodie and wish everyone around you to hell, here are some bulletproof tips on how to shake off a bad mood. And the best part is they're all super simple. From letting yourself feel your emotions without judgement for five minutes to treating yourself to a fancy pastry, there's something that will work for everyone. So the next time a client ruins your morning or a delayed train has you scrambling to catch up with your schedule, pull this list out and fix yourself right up. Below are 11 ways to turn around a bad day.
1. Treat Yourself
Some might advise you to go shake it out with a couple of push-ups in the bathroom, but I'm all about that Sweets Train. If you're having a lousy day, treat yourself to a doughy, frosting-filled lunch at your favorite bakery. Stephen, an engineer at Full Stack, told career development site The Muse, "Eat anything sweet and delicious. If the day’s really bad, I won’t take it to go; I’ll sit at the shop for five minutes to relax and reflect." Let yourself enjoy the moment while simultaneously working out what went wrong.
2. Let Yourself Stew For A Minute
While it's not a good idea to marinate in a foul mood for the whole day, letting yourself really feel that disappointment or travesty for five minutes or so will make it easier for it to pass. Lifestyle writer Dawn Gluskin at Huffington Post explained, "Trying to bury the funk or pretend it’s not there will only create a pressure cooker-type situation where you are likely to explode later. Instead, allow yourself to feel your emotions without judgement." So go to the bathroom and let whatever emotions that need to roll over you. Acknowledge that they're there and that you're feeling them for about five minutes, and then give yourself permission to move forward.
3. See It As An Isolated Incident
Whatever happened, box it up to only have to do with the hour that it happened it. This doesn't mean the bad juju will bleed out into the rest of your day; it doesn't hint at how the rest of the week will go. Business writer Geoffrey James at entrepreneur site Inc suggested, "If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what's already happened, then rest assured: You'll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true."
4. Buy Your Desk Some Flowers
How can you keep frowning if there's a happy bouquet of peonies or daisies on your desk. According to lifestyle writer Laura Newcomer at self-improvement site Greatist, "Studies find flowers provide an instant — and lasting— mood boost." So push away from your desk, walk to the nearest grocery store or flower stand, and treat yourself.
5. Turn On Something Fun On Your Phone
When doing house-keeping tasks or heading for a break, turn on a comedy podcast to pull out some giggles and help you focus on something that isn't tragedy-ridden. Natalie Galivanes, a Junior Video Editor, shared with The Muse, "In line with the adage, ‘laughter is the best medicine’ I like to listen to comedy podcasts to lift the mood and boost through afternoon tasks, even the mundane ones! Some favorites include Comedy Bang Bang, The Podcast, Nerdist, and All Things Comedy." If your mood-souring moment was something minor, this could be enough to pull you through.
6. Write Out A Happy List
While you might be tempted to just scowl at the wall for the rest of the day, move your mood along by taking out a piece of paper and writing out all the things you're grateful for at that moment. Gluskin offered, "Take a few moments to list the top 20 things you are grateful for right now and notice your mood to instantly start to shift." Whether it's that amazing donut shop down the block, the fact that you can ride your bike to work, or that you have a date with a pal this week to go get tacos, write it all down. You'll soon see you have more to smile about than pout about.
7. Change The Definition Of Bad
Ok, you got chewed out by your boss and that was super uncomfortable. But does that really make a "bad" day? James explained, "Decide that a good day is any day that you're above ground. Similarly, decide that a bad day is when somebody steals your car and drives it into the ocean. Those types of definitions make it easy to be happy — and difficult to be sad." A bad day is when your favorite dress shrinks in the wash and your apartment building burns down. This is just a hitch.
8. Picture The Best Version Of Yourself
While a certain situation might have thrown your whole day into a stressful loop, take a moment to sit back and visualize what your most perfect self would look like just then. Would she freak out and stare at the clock till 5? Or would she glide through this problem with brains and class? Newcomer explained, "imagining our 'ideal' selves — calm, confident, movin’ like Jagger — can make us feel better, even when we’ve got miles to go before we get there." It'll help you set a blueprint on how to move forward.
9. Go On A Snack Run With Your Office Bestie
There's nothing quite like venting to get the worst of it off of your chest. Add that with a bag of snacks and you're on your way towards a great mood again. Abby, an editorial intern, shared with The Muse, "I take a trip with my favorite co-worker to get a giant bag of Chex Mix (because she’s my snack partner-in-crime)." Not only will the quick walk let you decompress and share your frustrations, but spending time with your favorite pal and a bag of junk food will lift your mood significantly.
10. Do Some Pampering
If a client went off on you like a rocket or a project got a hitch, find yourself a moment where you can focus on yourself and destressing. Gluskin suggested, "Some other ways to nurture yourself could be: a warm bath, schedule a massage, get some extra rest, cozy up with a good book, or maybe just make some time for yourself to sit and relax with a cup of tea." The goal here is to pamper and hug yourself — it'll do a world of good.
11. Go Out Of Your Way To Be Nice
Whether it's buying the gal behind you her cup of coffee or buying your cubicle buddy a doughnut, doing something nice will help give you a quick mood boost. Newcomer explained, "being nice can help us feel nicer. Small actions—holding the door for the person behind you, sending a quick love text to a partner or friend, or donating ten bucks to a favorite charity—count, so there’s no excuse not to get your nice on."
Keeping these tips in mind, you can turn around any bad day. Remember, it doesn't have to bring your whole afternoon down. You can totally kick it!
Images: @abeautifulmess/ Instagram