Every single one of us goes through times when things are completely and utterly crap. And sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when you have a bad day because everything feels like an unnecessary effort.

what to do when you have a bad day

It might just be the odd day here and there; you’ve stood in dog poo on your way to work, then the trains are delayed, then your lunch has spilt in your bag that sorta thing.

It might be a week where everything keeps piling up or a longer period of time when things are particularly difficult; you’re not getting on with your partner, tensions are high at home, a pet is ill or you’re facing money problems.

Whatever the reason things are crap for you for, it’s not unusual that we feel completely out of kilter during these times in our lives. Like the world is continuing to turn but slightly to the left and we no longer feel in rhythm with it.

Nobody should feel embarrassed, ashamed or a failure when things are going crap for them and they find it hard to function or go about daily life as normal. Life is a whole bunch of ebbs and flows; up and down constantly from beginning to end. We will all get them. It’s how you deal with them that’s important.

Even things which seem irrelevant; like a bird pooing on your head. It can be hard to feel “normal” when you feel off kilter with the rest of the world and that’s when looking after yourself is super important. I’m a huge advocate for self-care; I don’t know why any of us shouldn’t put ourselves first.

I’ve had my fair share of crap days, like everyone else. 2016 in particular was particularly difficult for a bunch of reasons and was definitely one of those years where I felt the world was moving on without me. I learnt some coping strategies for those awful days that sometimes we just can’t avoid.

So I’ve compiled a list of things which I have done on the dark days; not all of these are designed to make you feel better. Sometimes, nothing is going to make you feel better and you just have to accept that. But just stuff that you can do. Cos sometimes we just need to do something.

what to do when you have a bad day

25 ideas of what to do when you have had a bad day:

  1. Watch a documentary to put yourself in someone else’s shoes
  2. Do some yoga and focus on your body and breathing
  3. Cuddle a pet or a fluffy toy
  4. Clean and de-clutter your room / house / work-space / Facebook friends
  5. Call the Samaritans (or check out their official website here)
  6. Have a nap
  7. Read an old favourite book
  8. Write down how you’re feeling or try some journal prompts
  9. Have a bath
  10. Cook yourself a meal; nobody else, just you
  11. Go outside and focus on your surroundings
  12. Brainstorm a new project
  13. Volunteer somewhere for the day
  14. Bake something for someone else
  15. Listen to your favourite band
  16. Call a friend
  17. Buy yourself something
  18. Exercise
  19. Cry
  20. Go to the library
  21. Start teaching yourself something new and different – like a new language
  22. Lay on the floor for no reason
  23. Make yourself a cracking sup of tea
  24. Practice mindfulness
  25. Buy your favourite chocolate and eat the lot

what to do when you have a bad day

Do you have anything to add to this list? Do you do any of these things when you’re having a particularly crap time?


  1. […] through my WordPress reader. It wasn’t just the title of Jenny’s post Things to do when everything is crap that caught my eye! It was a timely reminder that there are things one can do when things […]

  2. Wonderful list! Sometimes, when you’re having a crap day, it can be really hard to think of self-care. So this list is really useful, and I’ll be referring back to it in the future 🙂

  3. Doing some yoga or going for a walk- anything that moves my body helps to clear the clouds a bit! X

  4. I love how unique some of these tips are! I’d never thought of watching a documentary or brainstorming project ideas as acts of self care. Thanks for this post <3

  5. I love these ideas! When things are crap for me, I go to the library, or I get my paints out and get creative.

  6. Thank you for sharing this, Jenny! I agree that there is a tendency for people to brush bad times under the carpet, especially on social media, but you’re totally right that there’s nothing shameful about having a really crappy day! Your list is a great one, especially no.25, gimmie a big pack of Galaxy anyday!

    Abbey 🐬 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

  7. I definitely eat chocolate, read old favourite books and cuddle my Golden Retrievers when I’m sad. I’d also add rewatching my favourite TV shows and movies. Amy x

  8. Thank you so much for writing this post, I think sometimes we should allow ourselves to feel and just take time to do something we enjoy. I particularly liked that you put ‘cry’ on the list – sometimes its the choked up emotion that makes you feel worse. I always find comfort in a good book. Thanks for sharing! x

    Rumaanah // https://ruminvte.wordpress.com/

    1. Curling up in a duvet can be amazing! Especially if it’s a freshly washed duvet which smells gorgeous and clean (: (I did try and comment on your latest post but I had a weird message come up so I’m not sure if it went through!)

  9. I love this list, it really made me nod and smile! You’re right, occasionally having a good cry really does help but it’s hard to do because I always feel like it’s a bit self-indulgent. TBH I’m much more likely to go for the chocolate option 😋 x

    1. Oh it’s not self indulgent at ALL I think it’s necessary for our wellbeing. Even if you do it in private and don’t tell anyone you had a good cry! Then you can eat all the chocolate afterwards as a pick-me-up (: xxx

      1. It can often be the healthy option. As long as the cat gets fed she don’t care

  10. This is a great list 🙂 I usually end up cleaning / decluttering when I’m feeling like crap. I feel like throwing away junk i dont need in the physical world helps with everything going on in my brain 🙂

  11. I think that this post is very helpful for people who struggle to overcome the “crap days”. And I appreciate the list you made, especially the point “cry” because sometimes, everything becomes toooo much, so you have to get rid of it. Such a beautiful post in which you show that everyone feel the same some time in their life and that these feelings are normal!

    1. Awh thank you so much for your lovely comment! Cry is SO essential I believe and absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Even if you do it privately and don’t tell anyone – it can be a miracle worker. Absolutely, everyone feels crap and has crap days and we’ve just gotta deal with them at the end of the day. There’s no miracle cure – just things to help us through xxx

  12. Thank you so much for this post. This past year or so, things have been a bit up and down for me. Sometimes things seem to be going great and then I just have a period of a few weeks where everything is just awful. I’ll be sure to try out some of the ideas on your list! I cannot emphasize how amazing the power of yoga is. A couple of years ago, I was living in Japan and I was so stressed out. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, wasn’t eating properly…and with a little help from yoga, I completely changed my routine. I set aside 45 minutes each morning for a little yoga session and because of that, I began going to bed at a decent time and because I could feel my mental health improving, I wanted my physical health to match up so began cooking proper meals too. Perhaps it’s a habit I should pick up again!
    Also, yes to documentaries! I like to watch things like Ghost Adventures because they really make me laugh with how cheesy and dramatic they are!

    1. Awh I’m sorry to hear that – I’m kinda in the same boat so I know how you feel. It can be awful when things are going well for a little while then something happens and it all comes crashing down again. You lived in Japan?! That’s AMAZING! I’d love to visit. You really sound like you got the full benefits of yoga! It’s amazing isn’t it? I’m so into it at the moment and even though I only do 20 minutes or so a day, I desperate try and not miss a day because it really does make it 10x better, regardless of what happens after that. Just taking the time to spend a little while with yourself, moving your body completely freely can work WONDERS!

  13. I think I’m definitely going to take up some of these! At the moment, with the move and becoming an ‘adult’ I’ve got alot of my plate! I think you’ve just got to calm down and do one of these to make yourself feel a little better. I am definitely a sucker for buying chocolate and eating it all…

    Gemma | http://www.anoceanglimmer.wordpress.com

    1. Haha who isn’t?! You’ve gotta treat yourself sometimes though haven’t you. Yep, even when it’s the most STRESSFUL time of your life, you really need to switch off and try and forget about everything for a while! xxx

  14. Colouring in or watercolouring! I’ve found that is such a relaxing, mindless yet mindful thing to do when I’m having a tough time. And there’s a sense of accomplishment once I’ve coloured/ painted a pretty page 🙂

    1. I’ve not long bought myself some watercolours (I used to love it and be good at it in school!) but haven’t used them yet cos quite frankly, I don’t know where to start! xxx

      1. It really is! I have found it so calming, and it’s just a different way to express how I’m feeling, when I can’t quite find the words.

  15. I’m up to my neck in the brown stuff at the moment… and you’re right, not much helps. We just have to try and ignore whatever it is and pray it goes away…

    1. Yep and just do what we can. If we can pass the time and take our minds off it by doing a couple of these things every now and again though, great. Hope the brown stuff passes for you soon xxx

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