Turn Around a Bad Day

     I have had bad days—just like you have.  Sometimes, I turn them around and they end up being pretty great days, and sometimes they seem to start badly and just get worse.  One thing I have noticed is that my morning often sets the tone for my days.  That means that a difficult morning can throw me off kilter and having negative thoughts in the morning can keep me in a place of negativity all day long.  It’s important to pay attention to your feelings—they will help you find your thoughts.  If you are arriving at work and up until that point, you have been in a great mood, but upon entering your office, you are hit with a sense of despair, ask yourself why.  Maybe your thought is, “I have too much to do today, and I don’t know where to start.”  Identifying the though driving the feeling will help you come up with A) a better thought and B) a plan of attack.

But, what if, that’s not the case for you, and the day still seems to be spiraling down?  I have suggestions for you for every segment of the day (morning, afternoon and evening) that address how to turn a bad day into a good day. Here you go!


  1. Take a ten or fifteen minute break.  Stretch your legs.  Step outside if possible.  Drink water and/or get a cup of coffee or tea.
  2. Make a list of what you are grateful for—even if it is just on a post-it note.
  3. Get on the phone.  Schedule something to look forward to—maybe a movie with a friend later in the week or a massage appointment.  If that’s not possible, plan something pleasurable you can look forward to when you get home.
  4. Remind yourself that most of the day hasn’t happened yet—it can still turn out great.
  5. Focus on the task at hand.  Get busy, and do your work for the day.  This will take your mind off of whatever is upsetting you and bring the fulfillment of doing your job well.   
  6. Do something for someone else—knowing you will make their day.  Who has a birthday coming up?  Can you send them flowers?  If there aren’t any birthdays, what about sending your best friend or your mom a bouquet just because? Write a short card to a friend or acquaintance—maybe there is something you could thank them or recognize them for—or just send a “thinking of you” card. 

Keep your desk at work stocked with the following items:  a favorite coffee or tea cup and water bottle, post-its, greeting cards, addresses and stamps.

Afternoon/Middle of Day:

  1. Go for lunch with a friend OR sneak off to a quiet restaurant or café (go at an odd time) and have lunch by yourself
  2. Work out or go for a walk.  Make it even better: listen to an inspiring podcast, uplifting music, or an audible book while you exercise. 
  3. Clean or organize your office or take some time to brainstorm new ideas and refine your vision for your work.  Assess what you are doing well and consider how you might improve.
  4. Choose the project you have the most energy for or swallow the frog.  If there is a task or project you’ve been putting off, tackling it will most likely give you a boost of energy and a sense of accomplishment. 
  5. As with the morning strategy, having something fun or relaxing to look forward to, can change our perspective at any point in the day.  Plan something to look forward to for that evening or plan something special for the weekend.

Evening/End of Day:

***There are two paths to take and it depends on your energy:  Rest and self-care or energize and regroup.

If you want rest and self-care:

  • Take a hot bath/shower and change clothes.
  • Read a favorite book or watch a favorite show/movie.
  • Eat a simple but nourishing dinner such as soup or salad.
  • Go to bed early.

If you want energy and to regroup:

  • Go to a workout class or go for a run, walk or bike ride.
  •  Try a new recipe or go out to eat.
  • Make a list and being problem solving—that’s bothering you?  Start figuring out how you’re going to change it or come to terms with it.
  • Spend some time enjoying a hobby that you love.

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