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Jul 29 2022

How to Cope With a Bad Day — 14 Helpful Tips

woman looking angry in her office. This article explains how to cope with a bad day.

Whether you woke up on the wrong side of the bed or experienced a series of unpleasant events, bad days are never fun to face. While you can’t rewind time or solve all your issues at once, you can distract yourself from the negativity if you learn how to cope with a bad day.

The trick is to put yourself in a better headspace where you can easily process your emotions and cope better. To get back on track, check out these tips. At least they’ll set you up for a better day tomorrow.

Affirm positive things to yourself

It might seem like nothing can lighten your mood or make you feel better when you’re having a bad day. Luckily, positive statements, even amidst the chaos you’re experiencing, can help to change your thoughts, improve your mood, and increase your positivity.

You can say things like:

  • Nothing lasts forever, not even today.
  • Today has been so bad, but I’ll get through this.
  • It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.
  • I have a beautiful life with things to be grateful for.
  • I am strong. I can get through this. This, too, shall pass.

Get out of bed

When all you want is for a bad day to end, it can seem comforting to stay in bed and wallow in hurt, anger, self-pity, and disappointment while you watch the world pass by. You shouldn’t give in to that. Move around, pace the room, stretch your legs, rearrange your furniture, or lift weights—just make sure you’re moving.

Close-up of lonely african man in bed.

Just breathe

Breathing is also one of the ways to cope with triggers. Blank out other thoughts and focus on inhaling, exhaling, and feeling yourself breathe. You can also try deep breathing exercises and meditation.

Eat at least five spoonfuls of food

Bad days usually come with a lack of interest in everything, including food. But it’s necessary to care for your body regardless of your state of mind. So, what do you do when having a bad day? Count. Make sure you take five spoonfuls of food before you stop. The idea is to condition your mind to cater to your physical needs regardless of your mental state.

Go outside

Take a nature walk and get some sunshine. Exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of serotonin—a “feel good” hormone that helps to boost mood, calmness, and emotional stability.

 beautiful woman 20s wearing black tracksuit working out while running through green park

Talk to someone you trust

Sharing your negative emotions and problems with someone you trust can help to ease stress and relieve emotional distress. So, bare your mind and be vocal about your feelings. Talking might not solve your problems, but it does feel good to be heard.

Allow yourself to cry

Crying doesn’t make you weak. Instead, it helps you relieve stress, release emotional and mental pain, and restore emotional balance. Cry as much as you want to, and don’t hold back.

Cancel unimportant commitments

It’s okay to feel down and not want to socialize. Don’t cave into unnecessary pressures to do so. Clear your schedule, decline invites, and have your alone time. If it’s not urgent or you don’t feel like it, let it wait.

Time your isolation

When you feel overwhelmed or depressed, isolating yourself might be a bad idea. It’s great to have time to reflect and recuperate, but don’t spend too much time alone. Set an alarm if you have to–just leave your room.

Woman with open journal writing. Journaling is also how to cope with a bad day.

Find positive distractions

You can read a favourite novel, start learning a new language, play brain-teaser games, work on a puzzle, watch a movie, cook a nice meal, or do other things you find fun. It’ll distract you and help you calm down.

Express your feelings in your journal

Try this: For 20 minutes, write about your day, feelings, and deepest thoughts. When you’re done, do something fun for an hour or two, then come back to read your notes.

Jotting down your feelings with no censors or limits can be therapeutic. While writing, you’re releasing negative emotions and separating yourself from your thoughts. This will help you to evaluate your feelings from an objective point of view and keep track of your emotions.

Also, since you can only write one thing at a time, journaling helps you to slow down, acknowledge and organize your thoughts, and focus. That’ll help you identify triggers or patterns and learn how to handle them better.

Cross at least one thing off your to-do list

What did you have planned for the day? Pick out the most minor task and do it. That’ll give you a sense of control which is good for your recovery.

Focus on what you can control

Fixating on things you can’t control, like past mistakes, the state of the economy, or other people’s behaviour, would only unsettle you further. Instead, focus on what you can control, like your thoughts, feelings, and associations. This is how to cope with a bad day, as it would help to regulate and finetune your internal balance.


Resting for a while is what to do when you can’t cope with the mental strain of having a bad day. You’d be surprised at the amazing effect that getting a much-needed nap can have on your mental health! If the reason for your bad day is tied to work pressure, getting that rest and taking a break is necessary.

Young handsome black african man resting in bed sleeping or napping.


Though bad times are difficult to wade through, they’re only a short phase of life. And bad days will never be equivalent to a bad life. So long as you know how to cope with a bad day, you can wade through. If you feel the need to seek professional support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Your feelings are VALID, and you matter to us. 

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