Having a Bad Day? Here’s How to Turn it Around

*disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links and mental health triggers… and it will definitely contain curse words, hard truths, hope, inspiration, and love

Can I be honest with you? I know I started a mental health blog because the fog of my clinical depression has finally lifted and I wanted to share inspiration and my learnings with others, but even I have bad days sometimes more than I’d like. 

But learning how to recover from having a bad day before it completely ruins my entire day has been an integral part of my healing journey. And I feel pretty confident that I’ve mastered the art of turning around a bad day and figured I’d share my blueprint with you. 

What to do When you are Having a Bad Day

Recovering from having a bad day really isn’t hard to do and using the steps I’ve listed below will be a game changer for you. But the REAL secret sauce here and the ONLY way this will truly work for you is if you remove your ego and victim mindset from the equation. Gross, I know. But trust me, give it a whirl because you might like what you find. 

Our ego and victim mindsets are both definitely a big deal in general when working through mental health and depression but they SUPER stand in the way of turning things around quickly when we are having a bad day. And there’s only 24 hours in a day, so let’s not waste any time.

Completely understanding, working through, and recovering from your ego and victim mindset takes time so I’m not expecting you to be a complete expert on this when it comes to recovering from having a rough day. I’m just calling them out as you will need to have some awareness around your capability to sit in ego and a victim mindset in order to work through managing your one off bad days. 

So without further ado… Here are my foolproof tips for navigating having a bad day. 

Are you having a bad day? Learn my tried and true secrets for turning around a bad day! You won't want to miss my bonus tip!

Identify Why You are Having a Bad Day

Duh. We can’t fix things when we don’t know what the problem is.

Did someone cut you off on your way to work?

Did you forget to answer a super important email and now your boss is mad?

Did your best friends go out for drinks last night, no one called you, and you are just now finding out through Instagram Stories?

Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, there is a reason why you are having a bad day – and that’s a-okay! But you need to find the root of your bad day if you want to stop having a bad day ASAP. 

A few questions to help you start to understand why you are having a bad day (but don’t stop here with these questions…  keep exploring ‘why’ with your own questions):

  • Did a specific event happen that impacted your day or is this just a feeling?
  • Why are you reacting the way you are?
  • Is any of this in your control?

Give Yourself Permission to Have a Bad Day and Eliminate Judgment

Something I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I need to give myself permission. Like, for all the things. Is this healthy? Idk… but it’s what I need so it’s what I do.

I hope that one day I’ll be far enough along in my healing journey where I won’t need to give myself permission to feel things or do things or not do things, but for now it’s what works for me. 

And when I say ‘give myself permission’, I mean that I literally give myself permission. I say to myself..

“I give myself permission to {fill in permission here}”

I give myself permission to feel my feelings, even if they are sad/bad/negative. I don’t always have to be okay.

I give myself permission to take a mental health day for the rest of the day, as long as I practice healthy coping skills.

I give myself permission to cry.

But here’s the caveat… this permission is just to help you reset your day. This particular bad day. I do not advise you giving yourself permission to call out of work and sit in bed for a week while eating your weight in bonbons because someone looked at you sideways when you were in line for your coffee this morning.

This ‘permission’ is there to give you space to allow yourself to feel how you feel without getting mad at or being mean to yourself (which so many of us do when we are struggling with our mental health). This ‘permission’ you give yourself is subconsciously tricking your mind into not feeling judgment towards you feeling what you feel and giving yourself what you need for your own support. 

Ways to Remove Judgment When you are Having a Bad Day

Remove Should Statements From Your Vocabulary

‘Shoud’ statements’ are insanely unhealthy and toxic in general, but definitely super not helpful for turning around a bad day. Should statements are going to get you caught up in the nitty gritty details as well as subconsciously take responsibility for your bad day and add judgement, which you don’t need to be doing. These statements invoke negative thought patterns or cognative distortion that kicks up the heat in our anxiety and worry. Avoid ‘should’ statements at all costs when you are having a bad day. 

Stay in the Present

Focus on what you are feeling RIGHT NOW, not how you were feeling when you realized you were having a bad day or projecting what your feelings will be or how you will be handling things in the future. Just stay right here in this moment.

Practice Affirmations

  • I am allowed to feel how I feel
  • My feelings a valid
  • Bad days don’t last forever
  • I am able, willing, and ready to turn this bad day around.

Change Your Environment (if possible)

Trauma and feelings live in our body, so it’s not a crazy concept that our bodies feel icky when we remain in a physical space that gives us bad day vibes. But obvs this is so much easier said than done. If we work at a desk job, or are confined to a one bedroom apartment with another human whom we love oh so much but drives us absolutely fucking insane, or if you are getting on an airplane and sat in a bunch of urine from the passenger before you but you still need to be on this plane (this one actually has happened to me. TWICE)… you kinda can’t change your environment and ya gotta use some of the other things that I mention in the post to cope.

BUT if you are able to change your environment.. DO IT!!!

Different air, smells, tones, and views (just to name a few) are a great way to trick your mind and body into starting fresh when you are having a bad day. Sometimes staying in the environment that gave you the bad-day-icky-feels makes it basically impossible to reset because trauma and feelings live in the body. And your physical body is in the space that initiated your bad day. 

If you can’t change your environment, at least give yourself space. Go for a walk, sit outside, call a friend. Do something to create a pause in the environment that impacted your bad day if you are unable to completely remove yourself. 

Distract and Practice Stress Relieving Activities

My disclaimer with this section is that this honestly doesn’t work for everyone, specifically me, so don’t be mean to yourself if you aren’t into this section… I just wanted to share it for those who would benefit. 

Personally, I’ve tried everything that I am going to list and only a few of them do it for me sometimes, but I have friends who swear by some of the things that I hate which is why I’m sharing them all. 

Senses Work

Here’s the deal with senses… working with and focusing on your senses has the ability to reduce anxiety and bring you back to the present. The most well known technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 which you can read about here

I personally struggle with the 5-4-3-2-1 so I don’t use it. I instead like to close my eyes and just list things that I know should be in the room around me. All of the senses are just too hard for me to focus on, so I don’t. 

The cool thing about healing is that not everything has to work for you and there really isn’t a right or wrong. Take what people suggest and adjust to what you can do based on where you are in your journey. 

Phone Call with Friends

I don’t personally do this one because I’m not the kind of person to ask for help or reach out to someone to vent to. I’m working on it but I’m not there yet. Buttttt people who do have a network they are comfortable reaching out to find this step super helpful. 

It’s just nice to talk to someone who gets you and why you might be upset. It can also create a lot of validation or be helpful for reframing. 

My one suggestion is to not call the friend who will turn the situation into a 4 hour long bitch fest and rile up angry feelings. The point of calling a friend is just to feel heard and not alone. 

Color / Arts and Crafts:

Coloring and arts and crafts are great stress relieving activities and a great way to distract your mind by keeping your hands busy. They calm the brain and help the body relax which gives you a chance to cool off. 


Some people really benefit by writing their thoughts/feelings down on paper. I am not one of those people. But I do get it. Writing down what situation upset you, how it made you feel, and giving yourself a chance to really understand the situation can be super cathartic. 

Related: Easy Guided Journals for When You Suck at Journaling

Find Gratitude:

When we find gratitude, we are gently reminded that things could be worse. Finding gratitude could be exactly what you need to take the edge off the sting of whatever situation created a bad day. 

Move that bod

Moving your body is SUCH a great form of release. And I’m not saying you like have to go for a run or climb an elliptical. I’m just saying you should MOVE. Go for a walk. Play tug of war with your dog. Have a dance party. Hulahoop. JUST MOVE! 

Reset and Redirect

This is the last step in turning things around when you are having a bad day. Woohooo, you’re almost there! This step puts the power back in your hands. Sure, whatever messed with your day initially took control and tried to steer you astray, but you caught control of the wheel and now it’s time to pat yourself on the back and tell your bad day to go kick some rocks. 

Andddd breathe! And accept.

Whatever happened that made your day bad is behind us. We’ve identified what bothered us, we’ve given ourselves permission to feel it rather than judge it, we’ve changed our environment or at least created some space, we’ve distracted with activities known to calm and relieve stress, and now we get to decide how WE want the rest of our day to look. 

And you better not say you wanna sit in bed under the covers and feel sorry for yourself or we’re gonna have to have a chat.

Nothing is ever going to be perfect. Life is pretty much always gonna mess with you. Saylahvee. And TBH, people are gonna be fucktards. A LOT of people are gonna be fucktards. Always. And you can’t change their fucktardness. All you can do is control how you do not let things ruin your day and how you keep moving forward.

Here’s how to reset and redirect to keep your day moving forward and positive:

Shorten your to-do list

Get rid of literally anything that can wait until tomorrow. BUT don’t get rid of the entire list. Having a bad day is not an excuse to fuck off… but you are definitely allowed to give yourself grace. 

If the thought of your to do list is overwhelming and creating a sense of doom when you think about the rest of your day, just give yourself permission to finish the important things now and push what you can to tomorrow. BUT only push things that you can handle on top of tomorrow’s list… you don’t want to set yourself up to fall behind and spiral. 

Set achievable mini goals

Accomplishing things and finding ways to feel proud of myself is a really big thing for me when I’m having a bad day. When I reset my day, I always try to find a few mini goals that I KNOW I can achieve. Again, don’t set big goals that set you up to fail. The point of this is to find ways to feel good and proud.

Work in ways to be kind to yourself

You don’t have to spend money to be kind to yourself… it can be making your own compliment jar, having a mini at home self care day, or go through some past achievements to give yourself proof of the badass amazing human you are. Giving yourself a little confidence boost can be a great way to shake off the icky feelings of having a bad day. 

Reward yourself at the end of the day for powering through like the mental health king or queen that you are

Helloooooo treatyoself! Set a reward for yourself. It honestly doesn’t have to be anything big. Just something to show your mind that you can make it through a bad day and good things come when you do. Kinda like how we train a dog to do new tricks with treats… you can train your brain to recover from bad days with rewards. 

Bonus: Have some ideas of how to reset and what to do with the rest of your day in your back pocket

If you’re typically someone who just has no clue what to do with their days and constantly feels paralyzed, I suggest having some ideas ready to go of how you’d like to reset your day. 

I suggest this because I am one of those people who can feel paralyzed in filling my days, but I also know how important it is to put a positive spin on a tough day after doing all of the work we just did above. Which is why I like to have some ideas of how to reset in my back pocket.

I try to break it down into categories of what I need. Do I need me time, friend time, snuggle time, vitamin d // fresh air time? It’s kinda hard to predict what I need because my mood is always different so I just line up some potential options for all of the above. 

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Go for a bike ride
  • Scavenger hunt with friends/loved one
  • Movie day/night
  • Date night 
  • Read a book
  • Go somewhere new (I have a list of local places I’d like to visit)


Andddd that’s what I got! That’s my step by step plan for turning things around when I am having a bad day!

How do you navigate bad days? LMK in the comments below!

saylahvee, Michelle
Not sure where to go next? Peep my latest posts!
[email protected]

saylahvee is a blog with mental health related rants, rambles, advice, information, and inspiration for the fighter who is fighting the hard fight against depression and anxiety and is in need of good laughs and ugly cries to help feel a little less lonely while learning to navigate the world of mental health and this crazy thing we call life.

  • Nimoramsey
    Posted at 02:18h, 19 October Reply

    This a great and informative post.Thanks for sharing

  • Nimoramsey
    Posted at 02:19h, 19 October Reply

    This a great and informative post. Thanks for sharing

  • Krystian
    Posted at 12:47h, 19 October Reply

    One of my new favorite mantras: You have to have good days to appreciate the bad.

    You can only see light because you saw the dark.

    Just like bad days make you appreciative of the good days you have. ❤️

  • Deanne Roye
    Posted at 17:17h, 19 October Reply

    This is such a great article and love the suggestions.

  • Deanne Roye
    Posted at 17:18h, 19 October Reply

    Great blog post love all the suggestions to improve a bad Day.

Post A Comment