21 Self-Care Ideas When You’re Having a Bad Day

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We all have them. Bad days. Bad weeks.

And sometimes even bad months and years.

When you’re in the middle of negative spiral, it may seem like there’s no way out.

Here are 21 ideas to consider …

1) Call or meet with someone

When you’re having a down day, it’s easy to get lost in the heaviness of your own thoughts. Break the pattern by talking with someone you trust, either by phone or in person.

2) Take a nap

Another way to change the pattern of negativity is to give yourself a break. If your schedule allows, crawl under the covers, listen to some soothing music, and drift off to sleep.

3) Enjoy something lighthearted

If this option speaks to you, the best medicine just might be treating yourself to some mindless television, a silly movie, or a favorite stand-up comic. Laughter can be very therapeutic.

4) Doodle or journal

Instead of staring into the distance, lost in thought, activate your senses. Grab a pencil, pen, marker, or a paint brush. Move your hand over a blank page and see what comes out. Also consider an adult coloring book.

5) Scream and pound pillows

If you’re feeling frustrated and angry, let it out. Please don’t hurt yourself or anyone else. But if you can vent in a safe way, it can be cathartic.

6) Breathe and meditate

If your bad day results in physical tension and stress, find ways to relieve the pressure. An easy way to do that is to stop and purposely take several long, slow, deep breaths in and out. Then close your eyes and do your best to quiet your mind.

7) Eat a favorite healthy food

Everyone has a go-to comfort food — something tasty that soothes you during rough times. Indulge your taste buds, but try to make it something healthy and nutritious.

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8) Get fresh air and sunshine

A great, beneficial way to clear the cobwebs and wash away the blues is to go outdoors. If the weather permits, take a walk. Let the sun shine on your face. Commune with nature if at all possible.

9) Listen to nature sounds

If getting outside isn’t an option for you, the next best thing is exposing yourself to the sounds of nature. Search for videos or recordings of the ocean, birds, rain, etc. Hearing these sounds just might do wonders to put you at ease.

10) Take a bath or shower

Another easy way to break the pattern of a bad day is to immerse yourself in water. Take a hot or cold shower — or alternate temperatures to stimulate your body. Or fill up the tub, soak for a while, and nurture yourself.

11) Move and get active

For some people, the best way to get out of a rut is to get physical. So consider exercising, dancing, stretching, or going for a run. Get your blood flowing and your mood just might improve.

12) Make a gratitude list

One of the best ways to counter a negative attitude is to count your blessings. Make a list of the people and things you are thankful for. Remind yourself of the good that exists all around you.

13) Clean and declutter

Having a bad day can cloud your thinking and mentally weigh you down. One way to get out of that rut is to tidy up a physical space. Choose a drawer, closet, desk, or an entire room. Throw out what you don’t need and organize the rest.

14) Play with a puppy or hold a baby

Here’s another sweet, enjoyable way to break a negative pattern. If you don’t have pets or small children, contact a friend who does and ask if you can come over and play. Get out of your head and interact with a living being that brings you joy.

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15) Text love notes

When you’re feeling down, it may seem like you’re the one who needs words of encouragement the most. But you can also lift your spirits by expressing your appreciation to others. Send messages to five friends to let them know they matter.

16) Listen to music you are drawn to

Music and sound are powerful. Ask, “What am I in the mood to hear?” Perhaps a happy, upbeat song or album would do the trick. It’s also okay to choose something more melancholy that matches your mood. Trust your musical instincts and listen.

17) Spend the day at home nesting

If your schedule allows, give yourself permission to take the day off. Relax and do what your heart desires: take a nap, watch a movie, read a book, eat your favorite foods. Sometimes, doing nothing is the best medicine.

18) Go to a new environment

While nesting at home may be ideal at times, there’s also something to be said for getting out of the house (and the rut you’re in). Choose a public place you’re not familiar with to visit: a museum, antique shop, arcade, botanical garden, etc. Enjoy the fresh sights and sounds.

19) Hydrate

Make sure you drink plenty of water, tea, and healthy liquids. The benefits of staying well hydrated are well documented. Don’t let a bad day cause you to forget that. So drink up!

20) List your accomplishments

When you’re down, you can feel like a failure. Like nothing is going right. It might be a great time to remind yourself of the good you’ve created in your life. So, make a list of all the cool things (both big and small) you have accomplished.

21) Make a bucket list

In addition to all the great things you have done, make a list of all the adventurous stuff you still want to do. Having goals and desires is the best way to add purpose and zest to your life. Make that bucket list!

I hope you found at least a few self-care ideas on this list that will help you get out of a rut when you’re having a bad day.

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My mission in life is to inspire & empower people through audio affirmations, guided meditations, books, podcasts, music, art, coaching, and improv comedy.

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