20 self-care ideas for a bad day

Bad days, we all have them! No matter where you are in life, and how content you are with your lot, sometimes a bad day can leave you feeling stressed and wound up. Whether it’s work, money, kids, or just one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong, knowing how to unwind and relax at the end of a bad day is really important.

As we go through the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, stressed and burnt out. Often, self care takes a backseat to all of those other things on our to-do lists. But taking care of ourselves should be a priority, especially after a bad day, as it helps us recharge, refocus, and relax.

First of all let’s have a look at some of the things that can trigger a bad day, as knowing these up front can often help you to avoid bad days altogether.

Top factors that can trigger a bad day include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Illness or feeling rundown
  • Lack of support, both at home and at work
  • Heavy workload

Personally, I know the first one, lack of sleep, definitely has a big impact on how my day is going to go!

If you’ve had a bad day today, or maybe more than one recently, and are finding it difficult to get back to feeling happy and relaxed, here are 20 self-care ideas for a bad day. Remember these when you’re feeling stressed and burnt out…

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1. Take a long, hot bath

A lovely bath at the end of any day is a brilliant way to unwind, and even more so after a stressful day. Warm water helps to relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation. Add some essential oils or bath salts to enhance the experience and really relax.

2. Go for a walk

Fresh air and exercise is proven to help clear your mind and reduce stress levels. If you’re having a stressful day at work, try to take 15 minutes to get out of the office and go for a stroll to help you get your day back on track.

3. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment and aware of where we are and what we’re doing, without being overly reactive or overwhelmed. Try to set aside some time at the end of a stressful day to meditate, journal or practice yoga. These are all easy ways to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

4. Call a friend

Talking to someone who understands your situation can really help to ease your mind. If work has stressed you out, you could try talking to a colleague after work. If family life or children are making you feel overwhelmed, a fellow mum friend is always a good person to chat to.

5. Get enough sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Without getting enough sleep you can be left feeling tired, irritable, and struggling to focus even before things start going wrong. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to give you the best chance of a good day.

6. Listen to music

Listening to music is the perfect self-care idea for a bad day. Experts will often tell you to listen to calm and soothing sounds music to reduce stress and promote relaxation. However, I personally think that any music that makes you happy does the job. A quick dance around to 90s pop music is guaranteed to lift my mood!

7. Cook a healthy meal

When you’re stressed it’s so tempting to turn to a take away or ready meal, but actually eating well balanced and healthy meals helps to nourish your body and promote overall wellbeing which makes you feel better in the long run.

8. Get a massage

Stress can cause tension and aches in your body, so why not try scheduling a massage to help to ease tension and release stress. You can either treat yourself to a spa day or book a masseuse to visit you at home.

9. Read a book

Reading is the perfect way to escape the stresses of your day and forget about the things that are worrying you for a while. Grab your favourite book and get cosy to indulge in some self-care to improve your mood.

10. Watch a movie

Another great way to forget about your troubles for a while is to get comfortable on the sofa or in bed and watch a movie. Escape into a fictional world for a while to give your mind a break, whether that’s a Harry Potter Marathon or something funny that will put a smile on your face.

11. Take a mini-vacation

There are so many ways that travel can benefit your mental wellbeing. Even a short weekend getaway can help to refresh your mind and body. So get planning your next trip and give yourself something to look forward to.

12. Volunteer

Helping others can be a great way to shift your focus and promote positive feelings. Sign up to help a local charity in your spare time to give you something positive to focus on, and give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

13. Create art

Creativity is a great way to boost your mental health and over all wellbeing. Drawing, painting, or crafting is a therapeutic way to express yourself and promote relaxation. So grab some pens or paints and release your inner creativity.

14. Practice deep breathing

When you’re feeling stressed or wound up tight after a bad day, try taking deep, slow breaths to help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. There are lots of deep breathing techniques to try, you’re bound to find one that works for you.

15. Play with pets

It’s a proven fact that spending time with animals can help to relieve stress and promote happiness. If you have pets at home, spend some time playing with and cuddling them to boost your mood and wellbeing. If you don’t have pets you could volunteer at a pet shelter or visit a local cat cafe.

16. Get outside

Being in nature is a great way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Many scientific studies link time spent in nature to improved mood, positive social interaction, and a sense of meaning and purpose. Take a hike, go for a bike ride, or simply enjoy a picnic in the park.

17. Practice self-compassion

If a family member came home from work after a bad day, you’d want to look after them and try to make them happy. So do the same for yourself! Treat yourself like you would treat a friend or family member. Give yourself grace and forgiveness when you make mistakes.

18. Practice gratitude

Focusing on the positive things in life can help to reduce stress and promote feelings of wellbeing. Sit and think about the things in your life that you’re grateful for, you could also start a gratitude journal to help you focus on the positives.

19. Declutter your space

If you’re in a bad mood, having a messy room where you can’t find anything can add to your irritation. A tidy space can promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and as they say “tidy home, tidy mind”. Spend a bit of time clearing surfaces and putting things away – you’ll thank yourself later!

20. Set boundaries

The last on the list of self-care ideas for a bad day, but no less important than the others, is setting boundaries. Saying no to things that don’t serve you and setting boundaries with others can help to reduce stress and promote self-care. No one wants to come home from a bad day to spend time with friends who put you in a worse mood or doing things that will stress you out even more.

Taking care of yourself is essential for your overall health and wellness. These 20 self-care ideas for a bad day can help you to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Remember to make time for yourself, and prioritise self-care in your daily routine.

Sometimes, bad days can become weeks or months, and when this happens it’s important to turn to friends, family, or a support group for extra support and someone to talk to.