Thursday 19 August 2021

Dealing with a bad day at work

No matter how much you love your job or how competent you think you are, there will come a time when you have a bad day (or perhaps several for that matter). Whether you’ve sent an email intended for your colleague to your boss in error, you’ve missed an important deadline, or you’ve spilled a cup of coffee over your paperwork, one simple mistake can send your entire day spiralling out of control.

It’s often said that bad things come in threes and for some reason, the saying often comes true. But there’s probably a quite logical explanation for this; when something goes wrong that we weren’t expecting, it can completely knock us off kilter because we tend to panic in the moment. The moment we go into panic mode, our stress levels are raised and we start to attack future tasks with a more negative and haphazard mindset, thus creating more opportunity for things to go wrong.

The effects of having a bad day at work

Bad days are inevitably going to happen for everyone, so it’s really important not to allow them to impair your performance at work as too many bad days can lead to ongoing anxiety and stress. If we are living on our nerves on a day-to-day basis, over time this can lead to more serious issues that will affect our mental health and possibly even our physical health.

Increased levels of stress can play havoc with our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness, and it is often a contributing factor in raised blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. In an article published by Harvard Medical School, it states: "Research suggests that chronic stress contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction."

Ways to deal with a bad day at the office (or any other place of work)

1. Let it go

One of the best ways to get over the stress of a disastrous working day is to clear your mind and let go of any negative feelings such as fear, anger or frustration. If you can, take some time out during the day to go for a walk so that you’ve dealt with any worries before you go home. Perhaps play some music as you walk making a conscious effort to listen to the lyrics and observe everything around you such as the local wildlife or something as simple as cloud formations.

2. Take deep breaths

As soon as we panic when something goes wrong, the adrenalin starts to flow, and our heart rate increases. The moment you feel your mind and body go into panic mode, take long, slow, deep breaths. By focusing on your breathing, you will soon start to feel more relaxed and more prepared to deal with the situation calmly and with a clear mind.

3. Find a distraction

When your nerves are on end it might seem easier said than done to focus on your breathing, so try to get away from the situation where you can distract your mind. Or even find a distraction once you are at home – maybe get stuck into a good book, cook yourself a nice meal or watch one of your favourite comedies that makes you laugh out loud.

4. Talk to a friend

Often, we don’t deal with bad days very well because we bottle up our thoughts and emotions in order to look like we’re in control. But it is okay to release these negative feelings, so meet up with a close friend and talk about the situation. They might even help you put things into perspective and see the brighter side of things.