Having a bad day? Why business as usual just won’t cut it

by on March 19, 2012

Having a bad day in your small businessIt happens to the best of us. You come down with a killer flu. You had a big fight with your partner. You got a scathing complaint from a customer. You woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Whatever is going on, the bottom line is that you’re having a crap day.

So should you just buzz along, business as usual? Definitely not. The important first step is recognizing that you’re not in the best head space and completely accepting that. Then it’s time to make the best of it.

Here are some of my favourite coping strategies for when the ick comes on…

Take the day off

Clearly, when you’re ill, this is a must if at all possible. Pushing yourself won’t help you get better. R&R is what’s needed.

Even if you’re physically capable of humming along, if you’re in a really negative mental space, a day off might be just what you need to recharge. As your own boss, give yourself permission to take a mental health day.

Take a break and do something for yourself

Sometimes it’s simply not possible to take the whole day off. In this case, try to squeeze in some time for something that you find enjoyable, that relaxes you, that energizes you.

Take a walk in nature. Have a bath. Meditate. Do yoga. Read a good book. Meet a friend for coffee. Dance to your favourite song. Whatever makes you feel good, take the time to do it. It doesn’t need to be something super long and involved. Even just repeating a positive mantra can do the trick sometimes.

I know that for me personally, if I’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed, starting the day off with a jaunt in the forest is often to get me going again. Trees give me a power and a peace that’s hard to put into words. That’s what works for me. Find what works for you.

When you’re upset for whatever reason, you’re not thinking clearly. Taking a step back will help you to gain perspective on the situation and get a rein on your mind. Some days you will need to take the time to clear whatever is going on so that you can take effective action. Not reactive action that is based on your ego’s lashing out.

It’s challenging not to take things personally and not let our emotions start whirling and swirling. It takes mindful practice and commitment to get a grip on your mind. It won’t happen overnight, and it will come easier some days than others.

Refreshing your inbox a hundred times an hour to see if you got that response you’re waiting for is unhealthy. Sometimes the only way around it is to step away.

Take action, sort of

If something really has you upset and your mind is going a million miles a minute, you might not be able to enjoy taking a break.

But rather than take any sort of rash action, take action and then let it sit a bit. Write that email response, but don’t press send. Formulate a plan, and leave a little space before you get executing. After a break, you can look at things with fresh eyes and make adjustments from a clearer place.

Get it out

Sometimes the best remedy is just getting it all out. Whether you write how you’re feeling in a journal, or you call a friend or a mentor, or you just talk out loud to yourself.

Don’t let things stew with a big heavy lid on top – they will bubble over. Release that steam.

Get out how you’re feeling, take a deep breath, and let it go as best as you can. Sometimes this is all you need to gain a little perspective.

Ditch your to-do list

Give yourself permission to throw out or rejig that to-do list.

Do you have something very involved on your list? Major decisions to make? A task to tackle that you find challenging? Well, delay if at all possible. You’re not in the right head space to be making good decisions.

Do what you absolutely must. If what has you in a tizzy is a customer complaint, you HAVE TO respond asap, however use some of the tactics above to create some space (even just 10 minutes) so that your response comes from the best possible place and isn’t tainted by emotions such as anger, fear or defensiveness, which tend to crop up right away when difficult situations arise.

Otherwise, retweak your to-do list to include things that you like doing in your biz or things that come so easily you could do them in your sleep. Or just get the very minimum done, and then get started on that personal day.

Whether you’re just plain sick, dealing with some stuff in your personal life, or facing some challenges in your small business, having days when you’re just not on the ball is a part of life. And it’s perfectly OK. The key is how you deal with those days.

How do you deal with the bad days? Would love to hear your coping strategies in the comments!

Comments, likes and tweets are always appreciated! Did I mention that I LOVE your feedback?

Image source: vorakorn kanokpipat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Martine | Work at Home Mom Writer March 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Thanks for this, Martina (We have similar names, LOL)
As a work at home mom, I often juggle tasks in order to rock my business while still giving priority to my family. On days when things don’t go according to my to-do list, I’ve learned not to stress and just “reboot” is the ticket to a better day. This might mean working the night hours when the house is quiet, but it’s OK; sometimes those late night stretches are a life- and biz-saver when daylight hours aren’t agreeing with me!

Been following your blog for a few weeks now — learning lots!


Martina March 21, 2012 at 9:52 am

Being flexible with your to-do list is an important way to stay sane for sure. Thanks for sharing your “go with the flow” tip. And I’m so glad that what I’m sharing has been a help to you Martine!


Brad Hinkson March 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Thanks for reminding us that we all have days like this. When I am really struggling mentally at work, I take a mini-vacation like go to see a movie, or drive to the airport and watch the planes, something that on the surface seems irresponsible but gets my attitude back on an even keel.


Martina March 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I think that we all can relate with how hard it is to give yourself the permission to take that “me” time. Thanks for taking the time to share your personal experience Brad!


Martin March 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

Hi Martina,

Lots of martinish names on this blog!?!?..I agree with you that taking on too much and not having breaks will crack you. Simple as getting up a walking around abit to come back and look at it a different angle works for me. Too many push push push that square thru the circle over and over….


Martina March 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

Here, here! Appreciate your comment Martin 🙂


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