Whether you wake up on the wrong side of the bed like the grumpy protagonist from the children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day or encounter a string of major inconveniences throughout the morning, it's never fun to feel like you're having a bad day.
While you can't exactly solve all of those problems or hit the restart button on an "off" day, there are some smaller things you can do to interrupt and reroute the cycle. In fact, the key is to put yourself in a better headspace so you can more easily cope with all of the unlucky things piling up. To help you boost your mood and get back on track, try the following 31 things to do when you're having a bad day. At the very least, they'll set you up for a better day tomorrow!
If you can devote a lot of time to this and head out on a hike or picnic, great. But if you have a hectic day at the office, even a short burst of outside time will boost your mood. Try taking a 10 minute walk around the block — it'll really help!
Take a five-minute walk around the block to lift your energy and take your mind off of everything.
Call Up Your Family Members
Or try calling long-distance friends to catch up during your commute or after a long workday. Talking to your loved ones can help bring you out of a small rut.
Practice Deep Breathing
If you find yourself overwhelmed, or you just want a reset in the middle of a busy day, try deep breathing exercises. This practice can help you calm yourself down and shift your mindset.
Go See a Movie in Theaters
Instead of curling up with Netflix (though this can help sometimes, too), try getting out to a solo movie date. It'll allow to you disconnect and immerse in the fictional story rather than dwelling on your bad day.
Treat Yourself to Something Relaxing
Treating yourself to something like a massage, pedicure, facial, or blowout is a great cure for the blues. If that's not your jam, you can try something like reading a book or doing a puzzle.
Turn Your Own Bathroom Into a Spa-Like Oasis
Choose one of your favorite candles, a luxe soak, and a relaxing playlist and relax in utter bliss. Don't forget to turn off the lights, grab your Bluetooth speaker and a couple of snacks.
Get Some Perspective
Bust open that journal! Write down the events or moments that brought you down so you can assess how little or large these issues really are in the scheme of things.
Call Your Bestie
Our friends really make the world go 'round. Don't forget to check in with your bestie every now and then, and if it's someone who lives nearby, make a plan with them.
Read Some Motivational Quotes
If you need to lift your spirits, read some of your favorite feel-good quotes or poems. We're personally fans of Rumi Kaur and the iconic Maya Angelou.
Go for a Long Drive
Going for a drive is one of the best ways to relieve both restlessness and pensive moods. Blast your music, roll down your windows, and let the wind wash your stress away.
Update Your Résumé
Look at job postings online if you're feeling stuck and overwhelmed at work. This will make you feel like you're doing something to make a change, even if it's going to be a longer process.
Write Down What You Admire About Yourself
Try not to be so hard on yourself or blame yourself for the bad day you're having. If that sounds impossible right now, try hiding away these little self-love notes around your home so you find them next time you're having a bad day.
Grab an Adult Coloring Book
And get to work with some pretty colored pencils. If you want an extra mood booster, pour some sparkling water and play your favorite playlist on your speakers.
Go on a Pinterest Bender
Is there anything better than going on Pinterest and curating your wardrobe or your next vacation? We don't think so. Make a few Pin boards of some recipes you want to try or cute hairstyles for your next weekend brunch date.
Create a Gratitude List
Instead of focusing on the things that aren't going well in your life, remind yourself of everything you're thankful for. All you need is a journal, a pen, and your thoughts.
Visit a Museum Exhibit or Art Gallery
Taking a leisurely walk through a museum or looking at art in a gallery is one of the best ways to relieve stress. A reminder: a little beauty can go a long way.
You can write it down in a notebook if you don't have anyone who will listen, or text a friend, roommate, family member, or significant other. Sometimes you just need someone else to confirm that it isn't in your head and that your day really is bad.
Do Some Retail Therapy
There's nothing like a new reward in the form of shoes. If you don't have time to go anywhere, shop online.
Find a New Dessert Recipe to Try
Baking is an incredible stress reliever — and there's nothing like eating something delicious you;'ve made with your own hands. If you don't have a sweet tooth and/or dislike cooking, eat your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant.
Listen to a Comedy Podcast
Laughter is the best medicine! Listen to your favorite funny podcast or look at a hilarious meme account on Instagram to your daily dose of laughter.
Play with Some Animals
You know that feeling you get when you see a cute puppy on the street? That's true happiness. Schedule some time to play with animals at a local shelter, offer to walk a friend's dog, or just google cute puppies and kittens.
Take a Shower
Sometimes you don't need to do anything elaborate to turn your day around. Bust out your body scrubs, your good deep conditioner (we all have one), and your waterproof speaker and have the best shower ever.
Sign Up for a Yoga or Meditation Class
Sign up to attend a yoga class tonight or tomorrow morning. This will give you something to look forward to, and it'll really help clear your mind.
Look Through Old Photos and Family Albums
Reminisce about all the great times you've had with your loved ones. Seeing these funny or sweet pictures will remind you of fond memories.
Stroll Through a Public Park
Or enjoy a good book on a bench. If you've been cooped up indoors, a nature walk with a good book is a serious treat.
Learn How to Make Your Favorite Cocktail
Making cocktails at home is truly a flex. Go to YouTube or try a lesson on Masterclass to learn how to make the perfect margarita or a French 75.
Drink Enough Water
This may sound obvious, but sometimes when our minds are elsewhere, we forget the basics, which is key to functioning well mentally and physically. Drink a full glass of water and watch how you feel better almost instantly.
Play a Round of a Board Game
These intellectual activities are great ways to stimulate our minds without doing something stressful. You can even try a card game or chess
Try Some Gardening
Consider signing up for a plot in the community garden, or use your own backyard. If you don't have the space, you can also try your hand at raising a few indoor plants.
Try Taking the Holistic Wellness Route
Is there a healing shop in your area? Ask the shopkeeper to teach you about aura sprays, healing crystals, and ritual candles just for fun.
Work Through the Frustrating Emotions
Get the bad-day vibes out of your system, not by distracting yourself, but by letting yourself scream into a pillow. Not working? Punch it! Cry into it, rip it, hug it, yank it… and then clean up your mess as you regroup and calm down.