50 Self-Care Ideas for a Bad Day: Nurturing Your Mind, Body, and Soul

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Some days are just too much. You know that feeling when you want to curl up on your sofa and wait for the day to end? 

You may have been under a lot of pressure at work lately. Or perhaps your relationship recently ended. Maybe you are still grieving the loss of a loved one. Maybe you are experiencing a sense of unease without fully understanding the cause of your feelings. Or you might be struggling with anxiety or depression. 

Whatever the reason for having a bad day, some self-care can go a long way.

Why is Self-Care (Even More) Important on Bad Days?

Self-care is about caring for our emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Taking good care of yourself, especially in times of stress, can help you feel relaxed, improve your resilience, boost your self-esteem, and increase your optimism.

Even though practicing self-care may take many forms, anything that helps you recharge and relax will do.

A Little Bit of Care & Understanding Goes a Long Way

When you’re having a bad day, you might not even have the energy to get out of bed, let alone stick to your self-care habits. On days like this, go easy on yourself and keep things simple. Sometimes all it takes to improve your mood is a warm bath or a sunny spot outside.

50 Self-Care Ideas for a Bad Day

We all have bad days now and then. Whether you’re feeling a bit blue, struggling with mental illness, or simply need a break, these 50 self-care ideas for a bad day might help you feel better.

Would you like more happiness and joy in your life? Consider enrolling in my RiseUP online course to help you create a powerful shift that will open up a world of new opportunities to last a lifetime.

Nurturing Your Mind

Self-care habits for nurturing your mind can involve any activities that promote a sense of calmness, relaxation, and self-love. To take good care of your mental well-being, try these self-care ideas:

1) Practice Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Relief

Mindfulness involves focusing on your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without reactivity or judgment, reducing stress and helping you relax. 

2) Engage in Journaling to Express Thoughts and Emotions

Writing down your thoughts and emotions might help you recognize what triggers you and how to deal with stress.

3) Read a Book or Listen to a Podcast that Inspires You

Reading an uplifting book or listening to a podcast can provide a welcome distraction or motivate you to do something good for yourself. 

4) Challenge Negative Thoughts with Affirmations

To combat self-destructive thoughts and feelings, write and repeat positive statements about yourself. Place affirmations somewhere you can see them and revisit them throughout the day. 

5) Take a Break from Technology and Social Media

Technology and social media can bring up emotions, causing you to feel lonely, unhappy, or distracted from other things you’d like to do. Consider taking a 15-minute break from your phone just before bed or in the morning when you start your day.

Caring for Your Body

woman wiping her face

Physical self-care involves everything you do to maintain or improve your physical health and condition. 

6) Engage in Gentle Exercise or Yoga for Relaxation

Even a half-hour walk or yoga exercise can help you unwind and start your day positively.

7) Enjoy a Warm Bath or Shower to Relieve Tension

Indulge in the healing power of water and watch as the tension in your muscles goes down the drain.

8) Prioritize Healthy and Nourishing Foods

Eat a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seafood, olive oil, nuts, herbs, and whole grains, as it might help reduce stress and improve your well-being. 

9) Get Quality Sleep to Recharge Your Body

Nothing recovers the body like a good night’s sleep. Create a soothing atmosphere in your room, and avoid using technology right before bed. 

10) Go for a Walk in Nature to Clear Your Mind

Spend time in nature to relax, distract yourself from negative thoughts, and focus on what you are grateful for.

Soothing Your Soul

Soothe your soul by engaging in activities that promote serenity, joy, and gratitude.

11) Listen to Your Favorite Music to Lift Your Spirits

When you are upset, stressed, or sad, listening to your favorite music can help you cope with negative emotions and improve your mood. 

12) Engage in Creative Activities that Bring You Joy

Engage in creative play such as dance, music, or painting to improve your mood and express your feelings freely.

13) Spend Time with Loved Ones or Pets for Emotional Support

What’s a better mood booster than talking to someone who truly gets you or cuddling with your pet?

14) Practice Gratitude to Shift Your Focus on the Positive

You’ll feel more optimistic, happy, and thankful once you start noticing simple things to be grateful for.

15) Engage in a Hobby or Activity that Brings You Inner Peace

Hobbies naturally increase the production of happiness hormones, provoking pleasure and happiness. So, find what makes you happy and go for it!

Finding Comfort in Simple Pleasures

Big pleasurable things in life happen only so often. But most of our days are filled with small joys. Don’t let these pass you by. Indulging in tiny pleasures can boost your optimism and happiness, and you may find yourself better equipped to deal with stress.

Enjoy the following mindfully to make the most of simple things in your everyday life:

16) Treat Yourself to a Cup of Your Favorite Beverage

Whether it’s coffee, tea, or a glass of cold water, start your day by sipping it mindfully, feeling at peace with yourself. 

17) Watch a Feel-Good Movie or Comedy

Nothing improves mood like a hearty belly laugh. Treat yourself to a movie night at home or at your local movies.

18) Spend Time in Natural Sunlight for Mood Boost

Enough sunshine boosts serotonin levels, naturally improving your mood and happiness.

19) Wear Comfortable Clothing and Surround Yourself with Cozy Blankets

Sometimes, we just need to feel safe and secure like in the womb.

20) Light a Scented Candle or Use Essential Oils for Relaxation

Enjoy the scents and allow your mind to wander to a place where you feel relaxed and calm.

Unplug and Recharge

Staying away from technology, work, and commitments can do wonders for your well-being. So, try the following:

21) Take Short Breaks Throughout the Day to Recharge

Even a short walk to a water fountain at the office can help refresh and focus. 

22) Practice Deep Breathing Exercises for Stress Relief

When you breathe mindfully, your mind stays in the present moment. It slows down, decreasing the amount of cortisol in your blood and reducing stress. 

23) Create a Calming Space in Your Home for Relaxation

Create a cozy corner in your room where you can retreat and relax throughout the day. 

24) Set Boundaries and Say No to Unnecessary Commitments

Self-care begins with our ability to set boundaries and reject unreasonable or uncomfortable expectations.

25) Disconnect From Work and Engage in Leisure Activities

Spend your leisure time doing things you like, whether alone or with the people you care about. 

Explore Nature’s Healing Power

Spending only half an hour in nature daily can significantly improve your mental health and well-being. 

26) Spend Time in a Garden or Park to Connect with Nature

To ground yourself and connect with nature, go out and feel the sun on your face, the grass beneath your feet, and the soil between your fingers.

27) Watch a Sunrise or Sunset for a Moment of Serenity

Taking in dawn and dusk might help you feel more at one with nature and calm your racing mind.

28) Go Stargazing for a Sense of Wonder and Peace

What could make our worries look more insignificant than a connection with the Universe?

29) Take a Day Trip to Explore a New Natural Setting

Sometimes you have to start your engine and leave the worries behind.

30) Practice Grounding Exercise by Walking Barefoot on the Earth

Kick those shoes off and feel the Earth and its energy flow through your body. 

Engage in Acts of Kindness

Selfless acts offer us a feeling of purpose and have the potential to promote our optimism, confidence, and general well-being.

31) Write a Heartfelt Letter or Note to Someone You Care About

Remember to tell the people you care about how much you appreciate them. Why not put it in writing?

32) Volunteer

Volunteering in your community may allow you to make a difference and give you a sense of purpose. 

33) Help a Friend or Neighbor in Need

Help a friend out by taking care of their plans while they are away, or take your sick neighbor’s pet out. 

34) Perform Random Acts of Kindness for Strangers

Research shows that performing acts of kindness for strangers can improve your mental health, help reduce anxiety, and increase social connection.

35) Donate to a Charity or Cause You Believe In

Giving to others can improve your mood, health, and well-being.

Find Inspiration in Art and Creativity

Art and creative expression can help you explore and express your emotions, break free from negative thoughts, and relieve stress.

36) Visit an Art Gallery or Museum for Creative Inspiration

Observing art can reduce stress, boost creativity and problem-solving skills, and make you happier. 

37) Create Art, Draw, or Paint to Express Your Emotions

Colors can be used to communicate feelings. Also, creating art by drawing or painting allows you to focus on your thoughts, imagination, and feelings and explore your inner world.

38) Write Poetry or Engage in Creative Writing

End your days by writing poetry or journaling, as writing allows you to express your deepest thoughts and feelings.

39) Dance or Move Your Body Freely to Music

Dance and movement bring joy and laughter, improving brain function and releasing endorphins, natural mood-lifters known as “feel-good hormones.”

40) Listen to Uplifting Music or a Guided Visualization

Listen to uplifting music when you feel worried or stressed out to reduce negative feelings and relax.

Cultivate Inner Peace Through Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be a powerful tool to promote inner peace, cultivate self-compassion, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Are you constantly stressed, anxious, & overwhelmed? Start building up your resiliency & strengthen your daily choices when you enroll in this stress management course.

41) Practice Mindful Breathing to Center Yourself

When you breathe mindfully, you focus on each inhale and exhale, which helps ground you, relieving stress and anxiety. 

42) Perform Body Scan Meditation for Relaxation

Bring attention to sensations in your body to become more aware of your feelings and thoughts and their effects on your body. 

43) Engage in Mindful Walking or Mindful Eating

Mindfulness in daily activities like walking or eating might help you think more clearly and feel more grateful.

44) Practice Gratitude Meditation to Shift Your Focus

When you practice gratitude regularly, your brain becomes more receptive to things that generate appreciation.

45) Engage in Loving-Kindness Meditation for Compassion

Loving-kindness meditation is an open presence that makes us feel more loving, connected, and kind to ourselves and others. Practice it regularly to get rid of negative feelings and thoughts. 

46) Connect with Your Spiritual Community and Attend a Service

Connecting with your spiritual community may help you find peace, reflection, and self-love.

47) Read Inspirational Books

This can help you feel empowered to make positive changes and embrace challenges in life. 

48) Spend Time in Reflection or Meditation

Unplug at least once daily and meditate, pray, or contemplate in a quiet area of your house, workplace, or park.

49) Practice Forgiveness to Release Emotional Burden

When you let go of anger, pain, and shame, you may release negative emotions and improve your relationship with yourself and others.

50) Connect with Nature to Experience a Sense of Oneness

When you spend time in nature, you can feel the barriers between you and nature dissolve, promoting a profound sense of serenity and harmony and significantly improving your well-being.

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Kamini Wood

Kamini Wood

Kamini Wood is a Certified Life Coach, and best-selling author. Her mission is to empower high-performing adults and teens to become resilient self-leaders by reducing stress and anxiety, overcoming imposter syndrome, working through trauma, and re-discovering their AuthenticMe®.

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I’m Kamini Wood

My name is Kamini Wood, and I’m here to accompany you on your journey toward understanding yourself on a deeper level so can create the life you want personally and professionally. It’s time to embrace your AuthenticMe ™