Mental Health

Self-Care on Bad Days

On bad days I try to think about what self-care activities make me feel better and then start with the easiest and most appealing on the list.

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Bad days. There’s no getting away from them and, honestly, if we didn’t have them it wouldn’t be very human of us, now would it?

For some of us, bad days can feel like every day and for others, it’s a rare occurrence kept for break-ups and grief. No matter what side of the coin you are on bad days are horrible and infectious not only to you but others around you.

The day after I returned from my vacation (and the day I took a tumble in the backseat of a car and broke my friggin’ nose) was a pretty bad day for me. The previous week had been filled with ups and downs (mostly downs but I’ll not get into that here) so that incident was just the icing on the shitty cake to me. When I managed to get the bleeding stopped and got it checked out I took to moping around the house. I didn’t open a book, I didn’t start to write, I didn’t hydrate or any of that jazz; I just smoked and napped.

But when I woke up, I got thinking about how I could pull myself out of a rut like this in the future. I had been beating myself up all morning and afternoon for not being as productive as I had previously hoped. I felt horrible while lying with ice on the bridge of my nose and cursed the whole damn thing.

Mostly, I cursed myself like I usually tend to do in these situations.

Yeah, okay, I had just busted my nose and felt like crap and I took that into account, but I did do something in an attempt to fix things. No matter how small it was, I managed to pull myself from that negative spiral and write a friggin’ blog about it.

How do I even begin to think about self-care when I don’t feel deserving of it?

Good question and one I still ask myself all the time. Every morning I get of bed I have to fight with myself to take my medication, to eat, to not weigh myself, etc.

The list of horrible things I could do to hinder my recovery is endless while the list of self-care options I have is seemingly pointless.

I know that any of those horrible things could make or break my day and yet I still want to stick by them? Really? It makes no sense, but neither does mental illness.

On bad days I try to think about what self-care activities make me feel better and then start with the easiest and most appealing on the list.


Here are a few ways to practice self-care on days when it’s the last thing on your mind:

Allow yourself to feel

There’s nothing wrong with having a bad day. Like I mentioned, having them makes us human. Just be aware not to let it translate into a bad week/month/year. Allow yourself to feel those emotions! Welcome them like visitors but don’t let them set up camp!

Call someone you love

Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us. Others can help rationalise what we’re feeling and give us the support we need to come out of a rut. Make sure you have a trusted friend or family member that you can call on in times of need (and vice versa).


Remember that water is your friend and can make you feel surprisingly better in a bad situation. I always keep a trusty (re-useable) water bottle with me at all times!

Remember to eat

Even if you don’t want to, please remember to eat. This is coming from someone who avoids food like the plague when feeling bad, but I know how important it is to remember to nourish ourselves at all times. Food is important in order to regulate our blood sugars, which can be a big reason why our emotions are in the weeds.

Take a bath or a shower

Take a simple shower with a bitchin’ podcast on or stick on your favourite playlist. If you have opted for a bath, grab some bath salts or a bath bomb, perch the laptop at a safe distance, throw on a good show and relax.

Use a body lotion/body scrub

These bastards work wonders for everyone. Use a face mask if you’re not great on the lotion side of things. Either way, look after your skin and it will do wonders for your mood. That and you’ll smell amazing!

If you feel uncomfortable doing these sorts of things pick something else to take care of. Do something with your hair, nails, trim your beard, etc

Watch some feel-good shows

One word: Netflix. Queer Eye, Ru Paul, Breaking Bad, Rick & Morty–I could go on, and on, and on.

Take part in a hobby that’s easy for you to manage

Do something like reading or playing video games. Even download a colouring app on your phone and create masterpieces. Choose something that’s is easy for you to do and doesn’t require a great amount of energy but makes you feel calm.

Do some exercise (if you’re able)

Do some yoga or go for a short walk. Exercise isn’t the answer to all of life’s problems, but it can help release pent-up stress that we may have built inside.

Take a nap

If you’re feeling low on energy and have the option, allow yourself to take a nap. Don’t feel guilty about feeling exhausted.

If you have a pet show it some love

Cats and dogs are proven to reduce stress! So get cuddling.

What others can you come up with?

Keep a note of these and reach for them when you’re having a bad day. I can guarantee something as simple as taking a shower can make you feel better, especially partnered with a wicked podcast or playlist.


self-care bad day

Article Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

My name is Chloe. I write about eating disorders and mental health (among other topics) over on my blog. I've suffered from anorexia for over 13 years and spent about 7 of those in quasi-recovery. It was only after a recent burnout in December of 2018 that I relapsed and decided, once and for all, to get the help I needed. I believe that each and every sufferer has it inside them to reach that point where food is no longer the enemy, and that full recovery is an obtainable goal.

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