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  • Alan Taylor

A bad start needn't stop a great finish

As much as you love your childcare role, there are some days that you never want to repeat.

But those days happen to all of us, no matter what role we perform. It’s how we’re able to get through them that makes it easier to get over them each time.

Most days start off perfectly fine, but it can take one comment, or one event to turn it to rubbish. But while some can shrug it off and move on, it can take time for some of us to recover.

Sometimes we’re the recipients of someone else’s bad day. A parent who’s had a harrowing morning may snap at you as they drop their child off, and it can be hard not to take it personally.

So, what are some ways to recover from a bad day?

1. Talk to a co-worker. Everyone has had one of those days, and the support from co-workers can be invaluable when you need a little time to recover. See if someone can step in while you gather yourself and refocus.

2. Get lost in your work. Children, with their natural curiosity and delight in new discoveries, can soon take your mind off the morning’s mishap. Surprise them with something out of the ordinary and get lost in their enthusiasm.

3. Isolate incidents. It's easy to overgeneralise and say something like, “This day just has it in for me.” and allow incidents to overshadow your day. I once worked for an IT company who sent me out to fix a client’s main server that held all their data. It was early morning, and I wanted coffee. Bought my coffee, but didn’t check the lid in my haste and tipped it down my shirt. Then, I was on the phone to the server support team who told me to unplug and re-plug the hard drive. “The power’s still on,” I said. “It needs to be on,” the support guy replied.

I did as he asked, caused the server to go “BANG” and destroyed the hard drive with all their data. My company sent to experts onsite to restore the server and called me back to the office.

As I returned to my car, a parking inspector printed a ticket. “I’m leaving now,” I said to him. “It’s too late, I’ve already printed it,” he replied. “But the good news is that you can now park here all day.”

It gutted me. I’d tipped coffee down my shirt, destroyed a client’s server, then got a parking ticket. The day really had it in for me.

But did it? Those three events were unrelated. I just grouped them together into a sweeping truth that something was behind my bad day. All could be resolved. Wash the shirt, restore the server from backups, and pay the fine. The rest of my day was uneventful once I assessed the situation.

4. Claim victories. Do something that’s instantly gratifying. By instantly gratifying, I mean a minor task that you’ve been meaning to do, and complete it. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Small wins can improve your outlook.

Some may include:

Tidying the messy corner (you don’t have one? It’s a win already!)

Calling a parent you’ve been meaning to follow-up.

Everyone has bad days. But they can get better if you see them for what they are. Unlinked events that together conspire to make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Look at them differently, talk to someone, or just spend time with the children and let their innocence, enthusiasm and wonder wash over you.

And remember, although talking to someone, or spending time with the kids can help you deal with your funk, the only person who can truly end it is you.

Your day belongs to you. Make it your best, but make tomorrow better.

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