A Step-by-Step Plan for Turning Around a Bad Day

We all have bad days. Maybe you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or you’re dealing with a difficult problem at work. Whatever the case may be, a bad day can really throw you off your game.

Sometimes the day just completely crumbles in on you. You wake up late, spilled coffee all over your best clothes, and your hair looks awful. But you don’t need to let it get the best of you! With some time and effort, you can turn things around and make the day much better than it was before.

If you had a bad day at work, then you’re not alone. In fact, everyone has had their fair share of bad days. But just because it’s the end of the day doesn’t mean your work is done! There are still a few easy steps you can take that will help turn your mood around and feel more optimistic about tomorrow.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are a few simple steps you can take to turn around a bad day and get back on track. By following this plan, you can nip a bad day in the bud and make the most of your time.

When we get to the end of a bad day, it feels like our mood usually goes from bad to worse. In this blog post, we will be covering how to turn around your bad day with conscious effort and to get back in control.

So what are you waiting for? Get started on turning your bad day around with this step-by-step plan!

“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.”

Valerie Bertinelli

A simple but powerful reminder that when life throws us a curveball, we can choose how to respond.

I can’t tell you how applicable this simple truth is to life because, in life, a lot does not go according to plan, and while frustrating, you can remain in control of your mood through practice and effort.

Bad days happen. Perfect plans rarely survive first contact with reality. We will all face difficult days. We have the option of giving in to the critic in our head or taking action to change the situation.

Actively managing your mood takes work, but you have to do it if you want to change it. It takes more effort on some days than others, and it doesn’t always work, but I’m learning that I really can “choose my mood” if I try. Here’s what I’ve found to be effective, step by step:


The first step in getting past a bad day, in my opinion, is often just recognizing the problem for what it is. You might be feeling fine one second, but then something doesn’t go as planned, and your mood quickly begins to spiral downward from there.

In order to prevent things from spiraling out of control, it is crucial to recognize the early indicators of mood affecting events. It’s true that everyone has their own quirks, but here are a few things I do that guarantee a bad day for me:

  • I have self-defeating thoughts (“I can’t do this!” or “I give up!”).
  • When my temper flares, I become irritable and snap at the people closest to me.
  • When I need a quick pick-me-up, I turn to unhealthy snacks or indiscriminate shopping.


The next step, after you’ve realized what’s happening, is to pause; you need to take a step back, both mentally and physically. Take a walk, hide out in the restroom, or, if all else fails, close your eyes for a while.

Try to take a deep breath or two and let your mind wander far, far away from whatever troubles you at the moment. Ignore everything that has gone wrong, stop worrying about what you still need to accomplish, and give up on trying to improve your mood.

Do nothing but focus on your breathing until you feel your thoughts beginning to subside.


We’ve all had bad days, it’s true, but the good news is that most of the time, our attitude has more to do with whether or not we’re “having a bad day” than it does with the specifics of our environment.

The bad news is that it can be much harder to change your attitude than you might initially think (at least, that’s been my experience!). To do so, one must make a conscious decision to put aside the pain, anger, or disappointment that served as the initial catalyst and move on with life.

I’m the first to admit that there are times when I’m not prepared. It’s important to remember that not every bad day has to be a bad thing. There are days when I have to accept whatever is bothering me in order to find peace. There is no issue with that at all.

There are times when I, too, am not feeling up to the challenge. When things are particularly challenging, it’s tempting to wallow in self-pity rather than put in the effort necessary to change my situation. This is a natural part of being human, and neither you nor I should feel bad about it.

Forget the rest of today if this is where you are; it’s fine to start fresh tomorrow.

In contrast, if you have made up your mind that you don’t want that and that today will be different, then you need to stick to your decision. Accept that the past is the past, establish a clear boundary, and prepare for a new beginning; there is no room for wiggle room here.


Next, I recommend performing a brief “reset ritual” to signal to your body and mind that you’re starting over; the specifics of this step will vary widely from person to person, but the idea is the same for everyone.

Making a pot of coffee or putting on a new coat of lipstick are two examples of quick beauty fixes that can help when time is of the essence. Take a shower or go for a run if you’ve got extra time (or if you’re having a particularly bad day!).

It’s up to you to decide what to do, but once you figure out what works, I recommend making it a habit for the next time you’re in a similar situation.


Now that you’ve made up your mind to move forward, the next step is to seize this fresh start! Do something that brings you joy today, and be mindful about how you spend your time and energy.

Again, you need to experiment to find what works for you from the seemingly endless list of options (and it’s not a bad idea to do so before you’re having a bad day). Listed below are some approaches that have proven useful to me in the past and could do the same for you:

  • Do even one small thing your todo list.
  • Start moving! Get your body moving, literally, toward a better mood.
  • Spend some time catching up with a friend or loved one.
  • Start planning an adventure.


Last but not least, I’ve learned that a lot of my bad days are caused by the fact that I am too hard on myself. This is usually a result of having too high expectations and trying to be perfect.

Because it is not simple and because I frequently require being reminded of it, I thought I would pass on the message in case today was one of those days when you also required hearing it.