5 Steps to Bouncing Back from a Crummy Day

The secret to recovering from a bad day is learning how to move forward despite it. How you respond is the difference between a quick recovery or a full-blown funk.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
stress management, letting go, mindset

Even if you love your job, an occasional bad day is par for the course. Everyone has those days where no matter how many happiness hacks or positive mantras you try, you just can’t shake a glass-half-empty attitude. A bad mood can ruin your productivity, putting the kibosh on your motivation and draining you of your creative energy.

The secret to recovering from a bad day is learning how to move forward despite it. How you respond can mean the difference between a quick recovery or devolving into a full-blown funk.

Here are five steps to help you get back on track so you can come back stronger tomorrow.

1. Don’t Ignore It

Don’t push away your emotions; embrace them. Give yourself permission to release any feelings of anger, guilt, or self-blame so that you can move on. Remember, you’re human, and like the rest of us, you’re bound to have moments when you’re not performing at your best. As much as your inner perfectionist may be railing against that idea and chastising you, be kind to yourself.

2. Change Your Mindset

In the middle of a bad day, you’re prone to making catastrophic statements like, “I feel so stupid” or “Nothing is going according to plan.” Unhelpful thinking is common, but you can unhook from it with reframing.

For example, “I keep messing up at work, and I’m so frustrated with myself” becomes “I’m having the thought that I’m not accomplishing enough, and I’m feeling frustration because of it.” Labeling your thoughts and emotions in this way has been shown to improve problem-solving and lower stress.

Once you identify your automatic negative thoughts, tweak your self-talk to be more balanced and realistic.

3. Connect to Recalibrate

When you’re having a bad day, it’s tempting to retreat and wallow alone. But resist the urge to isolate. We all have that one buddy who puts a smile on our face, no matter what, so see if you can arrange a quick coffee date with this person–or, if he or she lives far away, send an email or text.

4. Treat Yourself — the Healthy Way

Don’t confuse self-care with self-sabotage. Skip drinking the day away at happy hour. Focus on activities that restore you and help you feel refreshed, even in the tiniest way. That may be giving a co-worker a compliment, going to bed an hour earlier, or saying “no” to a networking event so you don’t overextend yourself.

5. Put it Behind You

Draw a boundary with an evening routine that brings closure to a bad workday. At home, request space to decompress if you need it.

Instead of beating yourself up when a crummy day happens, expect them. Remember, you get to decide how you respond when bad days happen. Will you let it derail you? Or will you choose to see failure as feedback, a tiny bump in the road on the way to achieving your goals?

Get Your Copy of The 5-Minute Inner Critic Makeover

Stop negative thinking spirals and regain your confidence at work. Get the guide and discover how to tame your inner critic when you sign up for weekly tips here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Growth In Life Transitions Dagmar Meachem

5 Steps To Growth In Life Transitions

by Dagmar Meachem

3 Tips to Help You Hack Your Brain, Break Bad Habits, and Make Better Decisions

by Justin Bariso
Unplug & Recharge//

Are You Burned Out or Having a Bad Week? How to Decide

by The Muse

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.