It’s been a bad day at work. Not just a long day, or a draining day. One of the awful ones. It probably included one or more of the following:
- Witnessing some backstabbing or being the subject of it
- One (or more) of your clients are in bad shape and you’re paralysed unable to help
- Someone treated you disrespectfully or played the blame game on you
Sometimes it isn’t until you are heading home that you realise how shitty the day was. You feel heavy, yuck, like someone has their boot firmly pressing into your chest. It sucks having to take work home with you, and it sucks even more when it makes you feel like shit.
So, what to do?
You could do nothing. Sometimes when you sleep on it, the sleep magically carries the feeling away with it. But, if you can’t sleep, or have a while until you can sleep, here are some other ideas.
- Distract yourself. Think of something completely different, and something on the opposite side of the emotion spectrum. Thinking of sad or angry things just deepens that emotion´s pitstop in your body, when we want to let it flow through and pass.
- Listen to music. Specifically, big, screaming ballads or your old time favourites that you love singing (or yelling, or screaming) along to. I’ve put together a special lung-bursting playlist for you here.
- DANCE (or other movement). Researchers on trauma and the body such as Dr. Bessel van der kolk and Dr. Rachel Yehuda have shown that the body holds the impact of emotions long after the actual situation has passed. So, put on some music (or don´t), fling yourself around, get your boogy on, dance your heart out.
- Hugs. So, assuming that none of the above have totally worked, getting and giving a big bear hug can also be helpful. Something about the action of squeezing and being squished, like wringing out your body. If you don´t have an appropriate hugging person nearby, squeeze a pillow really, really hard.
- If nothing above works, try letting out the emotion. Try watching a movie that taps into it. I don’t really advise listening to sad or angry music – it let’s you sit in your own experience and deeper into it. A movie means you can have a cathartic release (cry it out!) through identifying with the story of the characters, rather than mulling over what happened to you.