We all have bad days. Sometimes a really challenging day can trickle into the next. We might start the day off on the wrong foot or we might encounter a negative experience that throws us off balance.

Here are some tips on how to navigate bad days while at work (content by Not Myself Today):

1.       Change things up

  • If possible, work on something simple that requires less energy and focus. This could be something that you might usually do when there is downtime.
  • If you feel stuck on a particular task, try switching to a different task that is more meaningful. If it must be done, ask for help.  
  • For folks delivering care: ask for help and /or prioritize urgent care needs first. If this is difficult for you, ask a co-worker or leader to help you determine what must be done and what can wait.
  • Tap into technology to free up energy. Use alarms, automated reminders, transcription tools in a meeting to take notes.

2.       Set reasonable expectations

  • Even on good days, you cannot do everything! Consider what is actually achievable, and be kind to yourself.
  • Sometimes our automatic thoughts get in the way of self-compassion. Check out the “Train your Brain to Master your Mood” resource poster by Not Myself Today. You might discover some thinking traps that cause you to put a lot of pressure on yourself.

​3.       One step at a time

  • Break tasks down into small steps. Everyday tasks can seem especially overwhelming on bad days; try to simplify them into manageable small steps.
  • You should hopefully feel a sense of satisfaction each time a small step is crossed off the list, as you slowly but surely get through your tasks.

4​.       Connect with others

  • You may feel the impulse to isolate. Try to reach out to a trusted colleague for a coffee, a walk, or a chat.
  • Tell someone how you’re feeling. Not Myself Today is all about normalizing how we actually feel. It’s normal to feel off, and it’s okay to talk about it.

5.       Take feel-g​​ood breaks

6.       If yo​u need help, ask for it

7.       Take a breath​​er if you can

  • Taking time away from work for mental health challenges is just as legitimate as a break for physical health challenges. Do you have sick leave? Unused vacation hours? Personal days?
  • If you need an extended break, speak to your manager.

8.       Bad days will happen. It​​​’s okay to have them.

  • You’re not alone; we all have bad days. Pretending that you’re “okay” all the time can weigh on you and your mental resources.
  • Are you experiencing more bad days than good days? There is no shame in seeking help from a mental health professional . It’s a sign of strength to reach out and get the support you need.

For more information about Not Myself Today, read the relaunch story where details about registration to the online platform can be found.

The original “Working Through the Bad Days”​ poster by Not Myself Today, can be found here.

If you missed it, check out the recent story about Language Dos and Don’ts and Mental Health​!

Providing the best care to the people we serve is dependent on our own health and wellness. We are working to deliver a comprehensive Staff and Medical Staff Wellness Action Plan, to help us create a healthy and safe work environment where everyone can flourish. If you have a wellness idea that could make a big difference to you and your colleagues, please send it to Ideas: Forward. If you have questions about this plan or feedback on wellness at PHC, please be in touch: missionforward@providencehealth.bc.ca.