6 Infallible Hacks To Use When You Feel Down At Work

Going to work when you feel down can be immensely difficult. Let’s be honest, spending the day hiding in the bathroom to cry is neither fun nor productive. But no matter what happens during your day, you can always turn it around. You just need to know how. In this article I share with you my 6 infallible hacks to use when you feel down at work so you can stop hiding in the bathroom. These hacks have served me well over the years.

The emergency checklist

What has always worked for me on a bad day was using my emergency checklist. This is a list of the quick actions that will help me snap out of the downward spiral of depression.

My emergency checklist has evolved over the years, but the concept remains the same. What will bring me up fast?  

For a long time, my emergency checklist looked like this:

  • go for a quick run
  • call a friend
  • do a short meditation
  • watch a comedy
  • eat comforting but healthy food
  • have a rest
  • help someone else

The idea is to tackle the items on the list one by one until you feel better. Sometimes you feel better after tackling the first item. Sometimes, you need to repeat the list every day for a while. But if you stick with it, it will work. Trust me.   

Now the things on the list above aren’t usually an option when you feel down at work, so you need to adapt it. My work emergency checklist was:

  • tell someone at work how I felt and have a quick chat
  • go for short walk around the block
  • go to the multi-faith room for a 10 minutes’ meditation

Once you have worked out what works for you, keep the emergency checklist with you so you can use it when you need it.

Have an ally

Ideally you want to have at least one person at work who you can open up to about how you feel. Try to pick someone who is kind, compassionate and supportive.

This is someone you want to share your emergency checklist with, so that if you have a bad day you can look at the list together and work out what you should do.

Take a break with a friend

This could be the same person as the ally we just mentioned, or it could be someone else.

Sometimes, just taking a short break with someone you like and talk about something completely different can be a great distraction that might help you get back on track.


The best thing here would be to go for a run or hit the gym if you have one onsite. This could make a massive difference to your day. If this is not an option, go for a walk.  

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The reason for this is that moving your body will help clear your mind. To paraphrase Tony Robbins: to change your state of mind, change your physiology. To read more on this click here: How can I change my state of mind? | Tony Robbins. This always works for me.

Added bonus if you are exercising outside, the fresh air will help too. We spend too much time indoors breathing recycled air. Put super simply, fresh air brings oxygen to your brain and helps it function better. So you can think clearly.


As in actually focus on your breath. Even if you just do this for 5 minutes, it will help you find a sense of calm.

Find somewhere quiet, sit comfortably but upright. Put a timer on for 5 minutes and close your eyes. Focus on breathing in and breathing out. That’s all you have to do.  

Other options are to follow along a breathing exercise on an app or a meditation. There are thousands to choose from YouTube. Here is one I like:


Another brilliant tool that can bring you back to calm very fast is tapping. You need to be somewhere you won’t be disturbed so you can watch a tapping video and follow along. Here is a video from Brad Yates on tapping for feeling down. Works wonders. Depending on low you are feeling, you might need to do it several times.

X Infallible hacks to use when you feel down at work – key take-aways

  1. Have your emergency checklist with you
  2. Have an ally
  3. Take a break with a friend
  4. Move
  5. Breath  
  6. Tap  

Try these simple hacks and let me know how you get on

Do you have other tips on how to bring yourself up when you feel down at work? What works well for you? I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments.

Further resources

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

This article is part of the series Happier At Work, which you can find here.

And remember, happiness is a choice, and you are in charge!

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