15 Self-Care Ideas for When You Are Having a Bad Day

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15 Self-Care Ideas for a Bad Day

We all get them – those days when you just wake up unhappy, didn’t sleep well, had miserable dreams or you’d just plain rather not face all of the problems and responsibilities in front of you at the moment. These are the days when you’d rather just crawl back into bed.

If you want to function at your best, every once in a while you need to stop and recharge. Whether you’re having a bad day, or just need a little reboot, try these self-care ideas to turn the day around.

15 Self-care ideas to turn a bad day around

  1. Refresh your morning routine – The first hour of the day pretty much dictates how the rest of it will go.
  2. Scroll through the camera roll on your phone – If you took a picture of it, chances are it made you smile once so it probably will again!
  3. Cook your favorite meal – We all love yummy food and most of us have a few go-to dishes for comfort. Allow yourself a little indulgence for one day.
  4. Give yourself a spa day – If you can swing it at an actual spa, go for it! But it doesn’t have to be big, lavish, and expensive to feel good.
  5. Clean it up – This may not seem like an act of self-care at first, but most of us are a lot happier when our homes, offices, cars, and lives, in general, are clean, neat, and orderly.
  6. Do a digital detox – We spend so much time connected to our electronic devices. Being connected that much tends to heighten stress and anxiety. Step away and combine this with another one of the self-care items on the list!
  7. Diffuse essential oils – Essential oils are excellent for improving your mood, reducing stress, purifying the air, or even as a pick me up!
  8. Watch a motivational Ted Talk – For some ideas check out the 25 Most Popular TED Talks of All Time.
  9. Do restorative yoga – Restorative yoga is a very gentle, slow yoga that is comprised of mostly seated postures. It uses long-held, supported resting poses to allow the body to naturally unwind, resetting the central nervous system.
  10. Connect with someone who makes you smile – Who is it that really makes you laugh and puts a smile on your face? Reach out to them today and have a call or Zoom session!
  11. Remember what you love about yourself – Self-love and appreciation are not being conceited or arrogant, they are just plain sensible!
  12. Buy yourself a treat (flowers, etc.) – This doesn’t have to be a big deal and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
  13. Try something new – Pick one thing off of your ‘hometown tourist list,’ grab some comfy shoes, and head out!
  14. Create or revise your dream board – Every once in a while you need to remind yourself what’s important, why you are doing all of this crazy stuff, and what the end goal is. Vision boards are a perfect way to re-inspire yourself!
  15. Pause. Breathe. Fix your world. – Pause. Breathe. Take time for a few things from the above list.

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Refresh your morning routine

If you don’t already have a solid routine in place, this is an excellent time to revitalize that. Some self-care ideas related to your morning routine include tweaking what time you get up, what you eat, and the first priorities of the day to set yourself up for a happy, healthy, productive day.


Clean up the camera roll on your phone

How many pictures are on your phone right now? For most of us it’s well into the thousands. And how often do you go back and look? Scroll through, delete, put others in albums, upload them to the Cloud or share with friends. You might even make someone else’s day too!


Cook your favorite meal

Cook your favorite meal and serve yourself like a guest with a placemat, fancy dishes, and cutlery if you like that or maybe curl up on the couch with a bowl. Whatever feels good to you! That’s the goal of all self-care ideas, after all.


Give yourself a spa day

This is the ultimate choice when it comes to self-care ideas. Give yourself a mani-pedi. Try that new face mask you bought a few months ago or luxuriate in the shower with a salt scrub for baby soft skin. Even just taking the time for yourself will feel loving and luxurious.


Clean it up

Pick up any clutter that is lying around, put the small things away, make sure the kitchen is spotless, and change the towels and sheets. Everything will look and smell better, and chances are you’ll burn off a little of that bad energy just getting everything done.


Do a digital detox

Just for one day, do what you need to and other than that back away from the computer or smartphone. Pick something else off this list and treat yourself to a little more self care.


Diffuse Essential Oils

Diffusing and therefore inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory system which connects with both the limbic system and amygdala, parts of the brain responsible for emotions and memories. Botton line is that it just makes you feel good, but if you want to read more about this, check out Yale Scientific here.


Watch a motivational Ted Talk

If you haven’t discovered TED talks yet, now is the time. TED talks are presented by thought leaders and I always find them thought-provoking and, sometimes, life-changing. From their website, “TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).” For some ideas check out the 25 Most Popular TED Talks of All Time.


Do Restorative Yoga

This is my number one go-to for weekly self-care. If you can’t find a class close to you, hit YouTube, or do a Google or Instagram search. There are hundreds of free videos available online!


Connect with someone who makes you smile

Notice I didn’t just say reach out to a friend because we all have those friends that are cool people but maybe a bit of a sour puss or complainer. Who is it that really makes you laugh and puts a smile on your face? Put everyone else on the back burner and that’s who you reach out to today.


Remember what you love about yourself

Think of 5-10 things that are really cool and amazing about you. Maybe write them down in your journal or share in a ‘lovefest’ group chat where everyone chimes in.


Buy yourself a treat!

If you are a flower person, Trader Joe’s has mini bouquets for under $5 as do many local flower markets. Flowers aren’t your thing? Grab a little something for your desk or kitchen table. It brightens the room, not just your mood!


Try something new

We are all the worst tourists in our own cities, but there must be something you’ve been meaning to try? Maybe a botanical garden you wanted to see, a museum, gallery, or a super fun attraction unique to your town. Pick one thing off of your ‘hometown tourist list,’ grab some comfy shoes and head out.


Create or revise your dream board

You can either revise an existing one or create a new one from scratch. Click here for more on dream/vision boards and how to get started.


Pause. Breathe. Fix your world.

When all else fails, hit the reboot button. Fix your world. And then…. Keep going. You’ll feel so much better and be glad you did!

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About the Author

Hunter Phoenix

Hunter Phoenix

Certified Professional Life Coach

Hunter has an M.A. in Psychology and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. For more than 10 years, she coached clients to find and follow their passion and live their best lives. Hunter has also done youth coaching work with Covenant House, realizing that this is such a challenging and important time in life.
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