25 Self Care Ideas For Bad Days


As hard as it can be to accept, bad days happen. Maybe you have found your way to this post because you are currently having a bad day and can’t seem to get yourself out of a funk or want some better ideas for when another bad day comes your way. Either way, you have come to the right place! However, if you are looking for the magical way to never experience a bad day ever again or deal with negative emotions…it’s just not realistic and not what I’m going to try to do with this post. 

I’m here to be realistic and equip you with ideas & strategies that you can use to help you feel more in control, even when you aren’t feeling your best! When you know what you need when these days happen, you feel more in control and better able to pick yourself back up. This is what’s going to help you feel like you aren’t constantly starting over because when you let bad days completely take over, that’s when you feel like you constantly need to start over. When this happens, you probably feel like you are in a circle and it takes forever to get back on track. Right?!
Related: Creating A Self Care Routine That Works For You, Tips For Handling Stress & Overwhelm, Adjusting Your Mindset When Bad Things Happen

My goal is to help you stop feeling like bad days leave you feeling heavy, drained and running in circles, struggling to keep up. While they can be difficult, sometimes painful in the moment, I promise there ARE ways to remain in control! When you are able to feel in control of these bad days, you are going to be better able to feel in control of your life altogether.

So, make sure you save this post & these ideas for when you need them! Bad days can come out of nowhere, so even if you don’t need them now, make sure you are prepared for LATER!


  1. Turn off your phone/unplug. In a world revolving around social media, we are consuming an insane amount of information every single day. You might not notice how it’s influencing you, but it negatively impacts all of us to a certain extent. This is especially important if you notice yourself feeling down when you see others taking vacations, in happy relationships, engagements/weddings, pregnancy announcements, buying houses, new job announcements and all around other people just seeming happy. We see others living the reality we wish we were experiencing at an exacerbated level when we aren’t having a good day or feeling our best. If you are noticing yourself getting jealous seeing these things online, it’s time to take a break. You don’t need anyone else to be determining your mood. Let yourself take a break from consuming other people’s energy.
    Related: Why you should incorporate unplugging into your self care routine
  1. Drink a warm beverage. There’s something very calming about drinking a warm beverage. My favorite warm beverage for bad days is green tea, but you can enjoy whatever warm beverage you would like! For some extra relaxation, I like adding a scoop of magnesium, Natural Vitality CALM is my favorite.
  1. Put on comfy clothes. I don’t know about you, but when I’m not feeling my best, I just want to put on my comfiest clothes! DO IT! Even if you have to be at work, see if you can find a comfortable outfit for the day that still looks professional. Or, put on your comfy clothes right when you get home from work/are able to! 
  1. Get fresh air. There’s something to say about fresh air and your mood! Simply just sitting outside, breathing in the fresh air (even if it’s raining!) can help calm your mind. I would recommend leaving your phone inside and allowing yourself to be fully present, taking it all in. Close your eyes and take 4 deeeep breaths. 
  1. Cry. I don’t care what anyone says, crying is NOT a sign of weakness. Let yourself have a good, hard cry. If you are able, go to your car or somewhere private to cry at work if you need to. Let it all out when you get to your car- whenever you are able to find an opportunity, let it all out. 
  1. Scream into a pillow. If this bad day is coming with some built up anger, you might feel like you need something a little more than crying. Go ahead and scream into a pillow or even punch your mattress if you need to! Remember, it’s going to come out at some point so might as well get it out now in a healthy & safe way! Maybe even keep a pillow/blanket in your car if you notice you need it while you are on-the-go.
  1. Take a hot shower/bath. If you really want to kick it up a notch, CRY in the shower! I love to sit in the shower with the water running on the back of my neck while I’m letting out a good cry. It’s soothing, relieving and always leave the shower feeling at least a little better. Plus, the warm water is soothing in itself!
  1. Listen to music. I think just about everyone can agree that there’s a therapeutic & healing nature to listening to music! Whether you like to put on a station on Spotify, listen to one song repeat- do whatever works for you! 
  1. Remind yourself that it’s OK to not be OK today. Accepting the fact that you’re having a bad day is one thing, but accepting the bad day without guilt is another thing. This takes time and practice, which means repetition is key. Keep reminding yourself on these bad days that it’s OK and SAFE to be having a bad day!
    Related: Adjusting Your Mindset When Bad Things Happen
  1. Listen to a guided meditation. Find a guided meditation that you really like. There are TONS of apps out there and you can also look into YouTube as well. Start with a guided meditation that is around 2-5 minutes and go from there. It’s important that you calm your central nervous system. Just 2-5 minutes. Give it a try! 
  1. Exercise/let yourself be lazy- whatever feels best for you. Everyone is different & each situation is different. Depending on you & your situation, decide what you need right now. Do you need to blow off steam with exercise or are you exhausted & need to rest? Either way, honor what your body is telling you…without guilt of course. Ask yourself, “What do I need today?”
    Related: Why I started working out at 5AM, 3 Tips For Transitioning To Early Morning Workouts
  1. Journal about what’s going on. Getting started with journaling can be hard, especially if you’ve never tried it before or you haven’t had much success with it in the past. Journaling can also be the last thing that you actually feel like doing when you are having a bad day. So, where do you even start and what should you be writing about to get the most benefit? 

Try starting here with this prompt: How am I feeling right now? What’s on my mind? What’s bothering me?

It’s important not to overcomplicate journaling. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your journaling. You aren’t answering questions for an assignment. These prompts are just supposed to help you get the juices flowing and help you organize your thoughts. Just let your pen flow naturally with whatever comes to your mind. When your thoughts flow naturally, that typically means that you are getting to the source of what you are feeling. Remember, when you don’t work through & process your thoughts & emotions, they will continue coming up. Also, I want you to let yourself FEEL during this time of journaling. If what you are writing causes some emotions to come up, allow yourself to feel them. Sometimes the best self care for bad days is just letting yourself FEEL! As hard as it might be, it’s very healthy to do!

If you want any more prompts to try, make sure you get your hands on my FREE 50 Journal Prompt For Self Reflection and Self Discovery. Also, check out my blog post on How to start a journaling as a part of your self care routine.

  1. Write an angry letter to someone who is upsetting you (then rip it up and throw it away). Are there words that you wish you could say to someone, but you can’t because of obvious reasons? This is a great opportunity to do so! Writing angry letters is one of my favorite exercises to give my clients, especially those who already find journaling to be very therapeutic. These letters can be used as a strategy that you use often, depending on how you find them to be the most useful. These letters can be about a family member, your boss, coworker, customer, even yourself or your body. It’s important to remember that your feelings are valid and you are not “over reacting”. If you are upset about something, get it out of your head and onto paper! You can also use this as a part of a debriefing routine at the end of the day. 
  1. Color in an adult coloring book. I’m not artistic by any means, but there is something so calming about pulling out my headphones and an adult coloring book and letting myself get lost for a while. Adult coloring books have become increasingly more popular over the years so it shouldn’t be too hard to get your hands on one (or a few!). If you are feeling overwhelmingly stressed out, give this a try! 
  1. Binge a show/movie. Who doesn’t love getting lost in a show/movie?! Get into your comfiest clothes, make yourself a bowl of popcorn and curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket. Ahhhh sounds AMAZING doesn’t it?!
  1. Watch an inspiring TED talk. If you have found yourself in a funk and looking for something to help motivate you to get going again, try looking for a TED Talk. You can browse for what you might find inspiring.
  1. Reach out to someone that you trust and feel comfortable talking to. As humans, we are social beings. Sometimes the best thing you need is to talk to someone and get everything off your chest. I love being this person for my clients because I have noticed that a lot of people don’t have someone they feel like they can reach out to whenever and talk about anything. If you do, that’s great!! Make sure you lean on your support system when you need them!

But, if you feel like you could use someone else in your corner, feel free to reach out to me and learn about my coaching opportunities if you would like! I am truly here for you! If you want to understand more about it, check out my blog post on How to know if it’s time for you to hire a life coach.

  1. Let yourself be alone (if that makes you feel better). Depending on your personality (hello fellow introverts!), you might prefer to be left alone when you aren’t feeling great. I am also an introvert and typically go this route most of the time! I really need time to myself and can get overwhelmed easily. I understand this isn’t always possible, depending on what you have going on in your life, but see what you can work with! Do you try getting up earlier? Stay up a little later? Take your lunch break in your car? See if you can find the time to be alone for a little bit!
    Related: What to do when life feels out of control, How to start prioritizing yourself so you can start getting the most out of life
  1. Remind yourself that it’s OK not to get anything done today. I think we all struggle at least a little bit with what I call “toxic productivity” where we feel like if we don’t get things done, that we are being lazy and not accomplished. Some days, you might not feel like doing anything. The dishwasher can wait. You can sweep the floors tomorrow. Practice letting yourself not be so busy all the time. If you are feeling overwhelmed and feel like you just can’t get to your to-do list today, allow yourself the time away. Sometimes, trying to force yourself to get things done is actually making things worse. Just because you “worked all day”, doesn’t always mean that you were necessarily “productive”. At the end of the day, running your tank completely empty is only going to make things worse.
    Related: Simple tips for getting over burnout & feeling productive again, What to do when you’re not feeling motivated to be productive, Toxic Habits I’m Committing To Letting Go Of
  1. Go for a drive. Driving stresses me out, but if this is therapeutic for you, go for it! Do whatever you feel you need to do. Put the windows down, blast music- whatever feels best! Maybe you decide to take the long way home from work or decide to just get in your car and drive. If driving is therapeutic for you, do it!
  1. Play with your pet if you have one. There’s actual psychological evidence that proves playing with animals releases serotonin (those wonderful happy chemicals!). Throw toys around in the house, play in the backyard, go to the dog park- however your pet likes to play! You can also try going to a humane society and play with those animals if you would like. 
  1. Cook/order your favorite comfort meal/dessert. Let’s be real, nobody craves a salad when having a bad day. Let yourself indulge in some comfort food! Make some brownies, a hearty pasta dish or order from your favorite restaurant! 
  1. Paint your nails. There’s something about having my nails painted that makes me feel good! I try to always have my nails painted and feel like I’m pulling myself together when I paint my nails after not doing anything with them for a while. Something so simple can make a huge difference!
  1. Buy something nice for yourself. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but something that makes you feel good! Whether it’s ordering something online that you’ve been wanting or going to the store down the street. I personally like buying myself some pretty flowers or a new candle! Feel free to browse my resources if you are interested in personal development work!
  1. Keep an emotions diary throughout the day. An emotions diary is where you carry a journal with you and do check ins through out the day. This is a good strategy for help you discover various triggers that are influencing how you are feeling. You might find that early mornings are hardest for you emotionally because you are faced with another day that you aren’t fulfilled with your job or you need an afternoon pick-me-up around 2pm. The first step is always awareness! These things often happen subconsciously, which means that we aren’t aware of them. We just know that something is “off”. So, give this a try especially if you notice that you are consistently in a cycle and always frustrated for reasons you can’t figure out. 

I hope you found these ideas to be helpful for you! Bad days/rainy seasons of life are hard when you are right in the middle of it. Everyone is different which means that different strategies are going to work for different people, and different situations. Self care is often the NUMBER ONE thing that is put on the back burner during these times. Self care isn’t always bubble baths and face masks. It’s important to ask yourself what you need. Honoring what you need is self care. Letting yourself feel and have a bad day is self care. 

I recommend giving each one of these ideas a try and see if any of them helpful for you. If anything, make sure that you make your own “bad day self care” list so you have something to lean on when one of those days happen. It’s not going to be “perfect”. You aren’t always going to know exactly what you need. But, having some ideas to fall back on can make all the difference. 

I know I mentioned this earlier in the post, but if you are looking for someone to guide you to coming up with a plan that works for you, I invite you to check out my Mindset & Confidence coaching opportunities. It can make the journey so much easier and more enjoyable having someone by your side, guiding you through the process. Even if you just want to get on a FREE discovery call with me to chat about it!

Also, make sure you check out my downloadable resources!

>> click here to download my Ultimate Goal Setting & Planning guide
>> click here to learn more about my secret life changing check in system
>> click here to download my Step-by-Step Guide to Handling Stress & Overwhelm
>> click here to download my Self Care Planning Worksheet
>> click here to download my 50 journal prompts for self reflection & self discovery

Coach Jessie Shibko

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