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How to Face a Tough Day at Work

Updated on June 19, 2013
ChrisMcDade8 profile image

Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 18 years in the public sector.

Christine McDade is an experienced human resources manager.

The sound of the alarm clock can be the last thing an employee wants to hear when facing a tough day at work.
The sound of the alarm clock can be the last thing an employee wants to hear when facing a tough day at work. | Source

Putting on that brave face for a difficult day at work.

Sometimes, getting up in the morning can be a challenge when one is faced with a difficult day at work. A sleepless night, lack of an appetite, and general nervousness about the day can be challenges that wreak havoc for the employee who has some sort of difficulty waiting for them at work. Whether it is a public speaking event, an impending deadline, cross words from the boss or scrutiny by fellow co workers over some issue, employees must choose fight or flight when it comes to facing a difficult day in the workplace. Life is hard enough without having to fear going to work.

Balancing Personal with Work Life

Employees face the daily challenges of balancing personal and work life in a manner that has both being successful and rewarding. Unexpected personal events, such as illness, death of a loved one, marital problems, and financial struggles can derail the best of efforts to balance both responsibilities. When work is out of balance and events plague that side of the scale, employees face similar strife in trying to keep a positive perspective on life. Examples of issues in the workplace that cause challenges are: pending project deadlines, unrealistic work loads, losing out on a promotional opportunity, disciplinary actions, problems with co workers, etc. One, and certainly a combination of those issues, can place a lot of stress on an employee. Expectation of some difficulty from one of those events can cause an employee to not want to go to work.

A heavy workload can be daunting for an employee each day.
A heavy workload can be daunting for an employee each day. | Source

How can an employee prepare for a difficult day?

There are several ways to prepare for a difficult day at work. To help combat the challenges in the workplace, the employees can try the following:

  1. Get plenty of sleep. When the next day at work is sure to place some significant challenges to you and your nerves, it is always advisable to make every attempt to get plenty of sleep the night before. Employees who have had a good night sleep are more likely to have the patience to deal with whatever difficulties come about during the work day. If sleeping is difficult, make an effort to exercise and eat the right foods before calling it quits for the night. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and soda, that will naturally keep one awake. In addition, avoid drinking too many liquids that will force you to have to get up in the middle of the night. Once you wake up, it is likely that you will start thinking about whatever struggles lie ahead and will have trouble getting back to sleep.
  2. Eat breakfast. In addition to getting plenty of sleep, it will be beneficial to get a good start in the morning by having a breakfast. A lot of employees skip breakfast for a variety of reasons. Instead of starving until the lunch hour, employees do not need to be distracted by a growling stomach because of a skipped breakfast. A good tip for the employee facing a tough day would be to be sure to at least have a light breakfast or healthy breakfast.
  3. Exercise. Many employees start their work days at the gym. Exercising is a great way to start the day in a positive manner. By getting the day started with a workout, employees not only boost their physical health but their mental health as well. Knowing that you have gotten the workout completed is a mental boost because you do not have to worry about doing it at the end of the day. Exercise makes one feel good on the inside as well.
  4. Talk to your spouse, family member or a friend. Venting to a close friend or loved one about a problem at work that is weighing heavily on the soul is an advisable approach to a difficult day. It is very likely that the person may have some sound advice that can be taken to work with them. It will make the employee feel good to be able to vent about the problem with someone who has their best interests in mind.
  5. Read a daily devotional or inspirational literature. Employees may have a favorite inspirational passage or daily devotional which will provide some valuable perspective on the difficulties they are about to face at work. Writing down a favorite saying or putting a spiritual verse on the smart phone might provide a great reference for later in the day. Set the phone to flash the verse as an alert just before a difficult meeting or even at the start of the day. The spiritual verse may serve as a positive reminder and provide some much needed comfort.
  6. Consult the company's EAP. If the employer has an EAP (Employee Assistance Program), it would be a good idea to make an appointment with a counselor to discuss the concerns. EAP counselors are trained to listen and then offer professional advice.

Remember to take care of yourself.

Work plays such an important role in our lives that we often let the challenges control our outlook on the entire day. Unexpected events, such as spilled coffee, a flat tire, or a traffic jam can get things off to a difficult start on any given workday. When the anticipation of a troublesome day gives an advance notice that there is going to be some significant hurdles to jump that day, the outlook can be even more daunting for the employee. When there is an advance notice that the workday is going to be busy with significant challenges, it will be helpful to be prepared for the battles of the day. Taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, will be the best armor that any employee can wear to fight off the negativity of a bad workday.


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    • ChrisMcDade8 profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine McDade 

      5 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Thanks for your feedback. I agree that simply talking to a family member or friend can help us get through tough times at work. They usually will give an honest assessment of the situation but with the care that will be sensitive to your needs.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Great tips here. I definitely advocate talking to a family member or friend. That helped me get through an incredibly difficult job situation until I was able to find a new job.


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