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. In this post, we’re going to look at 40 things to do when you’re having a bad day, to give you that little extra boost of self-care, on a day where you need it most!

things to do when you're having a bad day

40 Things To Do When You’re Having 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.

things to do when you're having a bad day

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.

things to do when you're having a bad day

I’ve had my fair share of crap days, like everyone else. I remember 2016 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 of 40 things to do when you’re having a bad day, which I have done on the dark days; but 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 to take our mind off the crap day we’ve had!

things to do when you're having a bad day

40 Things To Do When You’re Having a Bad Day

1. Watch a documentary

When I’m having a bad day, I find it helpful to put myself in someone else’s shoes by watching a documentary.

2. Do some yoga and focus on your body and breathing

You know I’m a huge Yogi so I find Yoga extremely relaxing and even more so when I’ve had a bad day. Try some of these restorative Yoga practices to help you switch off and relax.

3. Cuddle a pet or a fluffy toy

You can’t beat this, right?

4. Have a de-clutter

There’s nothing that makes me feel quite as better as having a massive de-clutter does! Whether it’s your office desk, your bedroom, your clothes or your Facebook friends, have a de-clutter and see how you feel afterwards!

5. Call the Samaritans

If you’re really struggling, you might need some immediate help and a kind ear to listen to your problems. Consider calling the Samaritans. Or you can check out their website here.

6. Have a nap

If you’re not conscious, you can’t worry about your crap day, right?

7. Read a favourite book

Sometimes going back to something that’s familiar can be a huge comfort and I definitely find that with books. Go back and pick up a favourite book, something you know you love.

8. Write down how you’re feeling

There’s so many benefits of journaling. If you need some help, check out these journal prompts.

9. Have a bath

Have a long soak, with a good book and soak away your day.

10. Cook yourself a meal; nobody else, just you

I love cooking myself dinner. Throwing ingredients together with sweet abandon and creating something yummy for myself!

11. Go outside and focus on your surroundings

Getting outside in the fresh air can be a great way to switch up your mood.

12. Brainstorm a new project

Use your over-thinking brain for something productive!

13. Volunteer somewhere for the day

If you have the opportunity to do so, try and volunteer somewhere when you’re feeling low. It’ll be a change of perspective, open you up to new things and allow you to do something for someone else.

14. Bake something for someone else

Sometimes feeling better means doing something nice for someone else. I always find this is the case anyway.

15. Listen to your favourite band

Dance, sing, play along. Music can do WONDERS for our mental health and our mood!

16. Call a friend

Sometimes on a bad day, you just need to hear a friendly voice.

17. Buy yourself something

Check out this mega list of ways to treat yourself for some inspiration!

18. Exercise

Sweat it out! Go for a run, do a HIIT workout or join a class at your local gym.

19. Cry

Sometimes we just need to cry.

20. Go to the library

There’s nowhere more calming on a bad day than a library.

21. Start teaching yourself something new

Take your bad day into your own hands and turn it around. Doing something you’ve never done before can be a great change is perspective. Perhaps enrolling on a course, learning a new language or trying a new exercise.

22. Lay on the floor for no reason

A change of perspective. That’s all this is. It can trigger emotions. Sometimes, when I’m laying on the floor, especially after a Yoga practice, I can get really emotional. And sometimes that’s beneficial for getting my angers out.

23. Make yourself a cracking sup of tea

Tea makes everything better. Make yourself a cup of tea like it’s the last one you’re ever going to make.

24. Practice mindfulness

There are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness or simply just slow down, take things one step at a time and breathe.

25. Do your make up, just because

When we have a bad day, we can feel so crap about ourselves. Change the script. Get dressed up, do your make up and make yourself feel good for that self esteem boost!

26. Take yourself out for coffee

A change of scenery and your favourite coffee can be a simple way to perk you up when you’ve had a bad day.

27. Meditate

Just 5 or 10 minutes of meditation can work wonders!

28. Do something creative

When you’ve had a crap day, getting creative can really help clear your mind. Paint, draw, write, create music – whatever suits!

29. Buy yourself some flowers

Because why not?

30. Watch funny YouTube videos

I mean, you can’t go wrong with funny dog videos.

31. Plan something fun for the weeks ahead

When you’re having such a bad day, it can make you not look forward to the future. Turn that around by arranging something fun for the coming weeks. Whether that’s a date idea with your partner, a day out with family or a solo date idea.

32. Give yourself a foot massage

This is an excellent self-soothing technique which is so beneficial for times when you feel bad.

33. Create some positive affirmation wallpapers

Get on Canva and create some wallpapers with positives affirmations that will serve you in this moment!

34. Write a gratitude list

We can often forget the good things when we’re in the midst of feeling rubbish, so try and write a gratitude list to cheer yourself up!

35. Have a shower

And simply wash away the crap day! Possibly the easiest thing on this list of things to do when you’re having a bad day!

36. Be kind to yourself

In whatever way feels appropriate to you.

37. Have a glass of wine 

Or alcoholic beverage of choice. Always drink responsibly, that goes without saying but you never want to deprive yourself of something you enjoy and sometimes a nice glass of wine is a great way to unwind.

38. Take yourself to a spa 

If you have the means to do so, just do it. You won’t ever regret taking yourself to a spa, I promise.

39. Play a video game

Video games are an excellent tool for really switching off from real life and immersing yourself in a different world for a while!

40. Break something!

Something that you don’t mind breaking and of course, in a safe space! Sometimes this REALLY helps when you’ve had a super frustrating day and don’t know what to do with the pent up anger.

We all go through bad days.

They don’t last and you’re absolutely allowed to feel sad, annoyed, irritated, frustrated and all of the negative emotions.

Even if it’s just because your day has encountered some inconveneinces that’s thrown you off course.

Don’t make a habit of wallowing and instead, proactively try and turn your day around – and this list of 40 things to do when you’re having a bad day should help with that!

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

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  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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