Getting bad news is a part of life – sadly. We’re all going to experience bad news thrust upon us at some point or another, whether that’s a death in the family, a job redundancy, an accident, a break-up or something else. Of course everyone reacts to these things differently and it’s important to remember that we all process bad news in different ways.

But I think as long as we’re processing it in a way that’s not harming ourselves or others, then it’s okay. Because the period straight after finding out bad news is a really weird and confusing time. We can’t all head straight off to a 2 hour therapy session to help manage our emotions. Most of us have to do it by ourselves.

I want to share some things you can do when you get bad news in this post. Because in September, I got a few pieces of bad news and had a very stressful couple of weeks towards the end. The last full week in September was a LOT for me to handle, it just seemed like one thing after another after another.

My anxiety was increasing, my nerves were shot and don’t even get me STARTED on the nervous poos I had that week (if you know, you know).

There were plenty of times where I just had to try and manage my nerves and my feelings because of all the stressful things I had coming up and the news that I had received. Which got me thinking about how I personally manage myself when I have received some bad news.

So if you’ve had some bad news recently (and if you have, my love goes out to you), here are a few suggestions of things you can do afterwards. They won’t reverse the news. They probably won’t change anything. But they might help you manage your emotions, even just for 10 minutes

Journal it out

I have found so much benefit in journaling over the last 6 months and it’s been particularly helpful when faced with some crappy news. It gives me a safe space to vent or talk about my feelings. Even those confusing feelings you’re not sure anyone else would understand. If you don’t know how to process bad news, start by opening your journal.

Related read: 30 Journal Prompts For Mental Health

Have a sleep

A firm favourite act of self care for me and that’s sleep. God, I love sleep. I love naps. I love my bed and the coziness and warmth it brings. And sometimes, after receiving bad news, that’s ALL we need. Bad news can drain us physically and mentally and our bed is there to catch us for a moment or two of rest.

Take care of your basic needs

Sometimes when we receive bad news, we forget about our basic needs. We forget to eat dinner, to wash or drink a glass of water when we feel dehydrated because we’re so caught up with the news, the emotions and how we feel. Which is fine. But in moments of bad news, remember that your mental, physical and emotional health matters too.

Related read: 5 Basic Acts of Self Care You Shouldn’t Overlook

Cry

I think a lot of time, when we receive bad news, we feel like we have to be strong for other people. We shouldn’t let our guard down or show our emotions. We shouldn’t show vulnerability. But I think that’s a load of horse crap and vulnerability is a beautiful thing that allows us to process and connect with others. Damn if you need to cry, just cry.

Spend time alone, if you need to

There are so many benefits of alone time and this is one of them. I think a lot of people would suggest leaning on others or finding support when you receive bad news but sometimes, the best support we can receive is from our inner self. Sometimes we just need to be alone to process some bad news – and that’s okay!

Do things that make you feel like yourself

When we’re caught up in bad news, we often feel a little lost and forget ourselves. We’re so focused on what we have to do next or how we’re feeling or how someone else is feeling that we forget to do those little things we like that make us feel like us. Which ultimately, makes us feel worse.

Related read: 6 Small Ways To Feel More Like Yourself

Get the information

This might not be helpful for everyone but it certainly is for me, so I wanted to share it anyway and that’s getting the information. Information is power in my eyes so if I receive some bad news, I like to know the facts. The more I know, the better I feel and the easier I can process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Breathe

Bit broad but important. I’m not going to suggest meditating here because I know after receiving bad news, sitting still with our thoughts is probably the LAST thing most of us would want to do (although if meditating would help you, then that’s amazing!) but simply breathing deeply and focusing on your breath is a small but wondrous act of self care in tough times.

Of course all of these things are subjective and relative, depending on the type of bad news you’ve been given. But if you find that something on this list would help you, next time you’re given some crappy news, I urge you to give it a try.

When you receive bad news, how do you manage it? What do you do to make yourself feel better? Please share your suggestions in the comments!

52 Comments

  1. There are so many great suggest in this post. My go-to thing is crying it out. Then I need some me-time to be on own, to make plans for what to do next. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Such a well-written post with great information. I think you covered just about everything! One other thing I thought of was physically moving out of the location you are in when you receive some bad news…step outside for a breath of fresh air. The outdoors always makes the world feel like a bigger place…be it a park, or just sitting on your own front porch. Keeping a journal has always helped me…a way of seeing your own feelings from a more objective view. Wonderful post!!!

  3. Bad news is bad news and there is no way to make it any better than it is, so I love that you share things that have helped you handle tough news. I always find myself writing overwhelming emotions out, or having a good cry, as release helps me move on.
    Thank you for sharing!

  4. Thank you for sharing…think that’s something that has always given me a bit of stress and fear even though you know it’s part of life.

    It always just brings this feeling of not being in control and shock.

    Bad news is something we can never prepare for it takes us by surprise.

    For me it feels like someone punched me in the stomach taking my breath away and takes me time to breath normally again…

    Hoping those bad news days are few and far between for us all….

    🌻🌻🌻

  5. I’m so sorry to hear you have gone through a rough period! I hope things are calming down and becoming more manageable for you now (or that they will soon). These are all excellent pieces of advice for how to deal with bad news. I have used most of them but will definitely be adding the rest to my list of coping mechanisms. One I would add is getting outside. Sometimes going for a long walk alone with music, a podcast, or just the sounds of nature can completely turn my mood around, even when I’ve received the worst news. Of course….I wait to go for this walk until I have had a good cry in private!

  6. I truly love your reminder to “do things that make you feel like yourself.” When I receive bad news, I tend to just forget everything that would normally bring me any joy, so reading this was super helpful! Thank you for all of these fantastic tips. They’re definitely going to help me a lot in the future.

  7. These are great tips for dealing with bad news. When I receive bad news I like to take time to be alone and write out how I’m feeling. Sometimes I’ll also indulge myself in a feel-good activity like watching comedies or musicals.

  8. Good tips! Being able to cope with bad news is super important. Some bad news can be hurtful and frustrating. I usually spend my time alone, talk to my BFF, and even cry when coping with bad news. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Not claiming some negative energy for bad news but I remember when I received one, it was so bad that i forgot to exist and wished not to exist. It’s like a decade ago and i don’t know how I’m still here or how i did it. It might be hard to function at first but doing things like breathing little by little is a great start. Thank you so much for this post, i definitely know to myself that I’m just all the opposites of the things you just mentioned when i received such news back in the days and tho i wish that there won’t be any bad news in life anymore, i think I’ll do better next time.

  10. These are all great advices and honestly so helpful for everyone! I usually try to put a strong face in front of bad news and take my time to turn them around my head. For me too informations make a huge change. Crying and solo time are what gets me through them. Also a great reminder is looking after your basic needs x

  11. This is such a good post with some amazing tips! I know when I’ve had bad news, I like to spend time alone and write about whatever the news is on my phone. Just getting all my feelings out is so important for my mental health. Thank you so much for sharing this with us lovely Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  12. I had some bad news last week. A friend has unfortunately died. Bereavement and grief are painful. Thanks to learning about the process, I’ve not fallen apart and helping others has helped me.

    Thanks for this great post!

      1. Thankyou Jenny!

        I appreciate the love and positive thoughts.

        I am grateful that I knew him and knew that even when struggling himself, he did his best to help others.

        I can take comfort from his actions and his willingness to do the next right thing.

        The circle of life continues… 🙏🏻

  13. Some really great, heartfelt advice in this post. I am a bit of a cryer – I cry quite easily. These days, I allow myself to have a good cry, to feel all of the emotions and sit in that state of sadness for a while. Then I make myself put myself back together!
    Rosie

    https://www.loverosiee.co.uk

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