Let’s not kid ourselves: even for the most happy-go-lucky among us, some days just start off on the wrong foot.
Maybe your commute was rough. Maybe you worked late last night and you’re starting extra early today. Maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
Whatever the cause, the end result is the same: a bad start to your workday makes the rest of it harder than it needs to be.
So, when you find that your day is taking a turn for the worst before, you’ve got a choice to make: give in and suffer through it, or take steps to turn it around.
If you chose the latter, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled nine things that can help you to take a bad day and make it better.
1. Take a Mindful Moment
When your day’s off to a bad start, take a few minutes to go through a mindfulness exercise. Focusing intently on the present moment can help you identify what’s bothering you so you can more easily address it. Not sure where to start? Try one of the following:
- Breathing Exercises: Try the 4-7-8 breathing method. Sit in a comfortable place, breathe in through your nose for a count of four, hold that breath to the count of seven, and exhale through your mouth to the count of eight. While you do so, focus intently on what you’re feeling and what’s bothering you.
- Body Scan Meditation: Lay on your back with your legs extended and arms at your sides, palms facing up. Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, in order, from toe to head or head to toe. Be aware of any sensations, emotions, or thoughts associated with each part of your body.
You may come to realize the root of your bad mood is something trivial and insignificant. Or, if not, you’ll be able to hone in on the issue so you can address it.
2. Free Up Some Time
Another great way to get yourself into a better headspace is to relieve some pressure by freeing up some time in your workday. You can do this by prioritizing your tasks in order to focus on the most important ones and spare yourself the unnecessary ones.
Try using the 4D method which involves breaking your tasks into “four D’s”: Do, Defer, Delegate, and Delete.
To get started with The 4D System, look at your to-do list at the beginning of the workday and assess:
- Which tasks can be done by you quickly right now (Do)
- Which tasks can be done quickly right now by someone else (Delegate)
- Which tasks don’t need to be handled right away and can be temporarily paused (Defer)
- Which tasks to drop altogether (Drop)
Looking at the tasks on your plate from this perspective will help you get a better understanding of what to tackle right away and what can wait.
3. Don’t Wind Yourself Up
If you find yourself in a bad mood, it’s smart to avoid winding yourself up with stimulants like caffeine. Too much of it will make you jittery and jittery and fry your nerves. It’ll also dehydrate you, which can have a negative impact on your mood as it is, and will also lead to an inevitable crash during the workday.
4. Get Some Blood Pumping
Getting some exercise--whether it’s a walk, a run, or a workout--can help give you a shot of endorphins while also reducing insulin resistance and inflammation in your brain. All of these things help you get a clear mind, improve your cognitive function and memory, and get your mood out of the dumpster.
5. Take Stock of the Good Stuff
When you get in a bad headspace, it’s easy to hyper-focus on the negatives. But it’s important to flip that process on its head by forcing yourself to practice gratitude and focus on all of the good things in your life.
The simplest way to do this?
Write a list of people, things, and activities that make you happy, a few more things that would make your day great, and some positive affirmations for yourself.
You’ll be surprised how quickly this simple exercise helps turn your mood around.
6. Don’t Let Yourself Complain
The same way that focusing on the negatives perpetuates your bad mood, so does speaking and thinking negatively.
If you want to turn your day around, you need to speak and think it into reality. This is easier said than done because it requires you to take control of your words and thoughts. But you can do so by actively stopping yourself from complaining, both out loud and in your head, and avoiding using negative language.
As we said, this isn’t always easy because it requires you to repeatedly check yourself. But with a bit of effort, you can manifest a better day just by speaking and thinking more positively.
7. Throw On Some Tunes
Great music is a certified mood booster. It’s not just that it’s enjoyable to listen to. Studies have shown that music can literally improve your mood and fend off depression. It can also improve blood flow, lower your levels of stress-related hormones like cortisol, and even ease pain.
So, the next time your day isn’t going great, take a few minutes and throw on your favourite song or playlist. You’ll be glad you did.
8. Do Something Nice for Someone
Here’s another interesting one: being kind to others can actually make us genuinely happy. For one, it activates an area of the brain called the striatum. This part of your brain responds to things we find rewarding. And the feeling you get from doing something nice for someone even has a name: “warm glow.”
So, when you’re feeling down, you can actually turn your day around with one small act of kindness. This doesn’t have to be anything major. Think about paying for your coffee and leaving your change for the next person in line. Even just giving a genuine compliment to someone can have a positive impact on your mood.
Plus, you’ll be excelling in the karma department on top of it all!
9. Put Yourself in a Positive Environment
Your environment has a big influence on your mood. So, if you’re having a bad day, it always helps to put yourself in an inspiring environment surrounded by awesome people. For example, spending your workday at a coworking space immersed in a community of hard-working people can get you out of your own head and help you refocus on the important things in your day. You can even just sit down in one of the space’s communal areas and strike up a chat with someone to ease your tension.
If your day gets off to a bad start, you don’t have to give up and concede to being in a bad mood all day. You just need to get proactive in taking steps to turn it around. And luckily, this doesn’t have to be hard!
If you want to learn how being part of a coworking community can be the cure for your bad days, get in touch today and come check out Project Spaces! We’d be happy to show you around.
Founder-friendly coworking in downtown Toronto for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. EST 2011. We create original workspaces, fill them with relentless entrepreneurs, and watch the magic happen. Learn more