Don’t spread the bad mood flu


This year’s flu season is one of the worst. My daily news feeds are replete with tips on how to avoid catching the flu and what to do should you get it.

But there’s another type of malady that seems to be common this time of year – the bad mood flu. It can be difficult to keep up a cheery disposition during the first few months of the year– the holidays are over, the weather is cold, and folks generally seem to be tired of winter. When your job is to deliver luxury service, it can be hard enough to keep your own mood cheery, let alone worry about someone else’s.

This seemed to be the case during a strange encounter I had with a luxury hotel professional recently. There was construction going on that limited the amenities normally offered. When I inquired when the constructed would be completed, I was met with silence and an icy stare. After a several minutes of silence, I thought this person might be distressed and I asked if I had said something to upset her. Again, she said nothing and continued to stare. I asked if she was all right and if there was something I could do. Finally she said “You can move on.”

Obviously, something was troubling this person. Perhaps it was simply that I was the “nth” person who’d asked about the construction that day. Or perhaps there was a personal or family issue upsetting her. We’ve all had difficult days and it can be a challenge not to let our emotions show through. So what can you do if you’re in a bad mood, but your job requires you to be polite and friendly to the public? The thing about the bad mood flu is that it’s very catchy. If you really want to ruin someone’s day?, provide them with snippy, unfriendly service.

Here are some ideas to perk up your disposition. Think of these as bad mood flu remedies. They may or may not work for you. They may work some of the time, but not all of the time – especially when you have a particularly severe case of the bad mood flu. In which case, you may want to stay home or seek help (just like with the real flu). But sometimes, all we need is a little time out, a deep breath or a broad smile to make it right again.

Take a mental vacation
The more you think upsetting thoughts, the worse you’ll feel. Steer away from these thoughts by imagining yourself on that sun-soaked beach, skiing down the slopes, or canoeing on a peaceful lake.

Go for a walk
A change in scenery, some fresh air and a little exercise can get your endorphins running again.

Tell a joke
Laughter creates changes in your brain and gives you a positive mood boost right away. Whether you’re the cracking a joke or you listed to a funny store, humor is one way to help manage your emotions.

Just a few minutes of sitting quietly, focusing on the breath, and quietly chanting can turn the blues around. Luckily, there are any number of meditation and mindfulness apps that can bring calm and peace into your life.

Savor a special moment
Take a minute to do something that really gives you pleasure. Let a piece of chocolate melt in your mouth, hum along to your special song, take a few seconds to watch that funny kitten video, breathe in your favorite essential oil or fragrance. Certain scents, such as orange or lavender, can decrease anxiety and improve your mood.

Make a thank you list
Sometimes when life’s little tribulations chip away at our happiness, it helps to take a minute to remember all the good things we are grateful for. Make a list of what you are thankful for and keep it handy for when you’re feeling down.

You may not feel like it, but like the bad mood flu, smiling is contagious (but in a good way). If you can manage a smile, you may see someone smiling back at you. It might be just the thing to sweeten up a sour disposition.

I’m sure you may have your own remedies for improving your mood and I invite you to share them in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “Don’t spread the bad mood flu

    1. Hi Jamie,

      Thanks for your comment. If it had simply been that this person was rude or surly, I would probably have pointed it out to the supervisor. But this was a situation that I’d never encountered before. I wasn’t sure whether this person was really upset over something or whether she was angry with me. The stare was disturbing. I chose not to exacerbate the situation by speaking to her supervisor. Not sure if it was the right call, but it felt right at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

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