70 self-care ideas for a bad day

70 Self-Care Ideas For a Bad Day

So you’ve learnt how to create the ultimate self-care checklist, but what exactly should it consist of? If you need a little bit of inspiration for some activities to fit into your routine, then I have 70 self-care ideas for you!

Because I suck at self-care and get bored easily, I find it handy to have a go-to list of self-care ideas. I like to switch things up every so often to give myself the illusion that my life is spontaneous and interesting. I think it works because the other day my friend asked me what I was up to instead of just assuming that I was playing The Sims (which I was totally doing, but not the point).

These self-care ideas range from the splendidly simple to the more consciously tasking, but all of them are brilliant ways to promote self-compassion, physical health and mental wellbeing. Like I said in my previous post, try to treat your self-care checklist as a guide rather than a to-do list – it’s much less stress, and much more productive!

So get stuck in and browse through 70 self-care ideas that promote physical, emotional, intellectual, social and environmental health.

Physical Self-Care

We often forget about the simple things, but making yourself feel good physically is fundamental to achieving mental wellness. Not only do simple self-care routines aid positive self-perception, but a healthy body is more likely to pursue, maintain and feel the benefits of other self-care activities. Think of bettering your physical health as the foundation for attaining a healthy mindset.

1. Get out of bed early – A must on my list thanks to Mia’s 12 Amazing Benefits of Waking Up Early. Lie-ins feel a lot more rewarding these days.

2. Have a long, relaxing shower

3. Complete a skincare routine – having a foolproof skincare routine to keep your skin feeling fresh and spot-free is a major self-esteem and mood boost.

4. Brush teeth/floss twice a day – we all know that we should floss, but who actually remembers?

5. Eat three meals a day

6. Drink 2 litres (8 glasses) of water a day – this one has been on my list since before the end of time but rarely ever gets the tick. Maybe tomorrow 😛

7. Exercise at home – yes, dancing definitely counts!

8. Exercise outside/at the gym – If you aren’t able to get out to the gym, try going for a jog or even just a nice stroll around your area.

9. Make a smoothie – The fresher the better! Gather your favourite fruits and get creative with it! I love trying out new flavours. Check out Kristine’s healthy breakfast smoothie recipes for some inspo!

10. Get in your 5 fruit and veg a day – Everyone knows this is easier said than done, especially when you’re living on a budget. Don’t feel obligated to start with 5 – if just 2 or 3 portions a day is all you can manage for now, that’s fine!

11. Take medication/vitamins

12. Try to get 8 hours of sleep

13. Soak in a bubble bath – it had to be here. Bath bombs anyone?

14. Get a massage – both physically and emotionally gratifying! If you’re like me and don’t have a willing beau to rub you up and down, try this at-home massage kit. It’s an essential for me because

15. Drink more herbal tea – herbal teas have multiple different health benefits and are a lot more hydrating than a cup of coffee! Fruit and green teas are also excellent choices. Try replacing your morning coffee with an energising green tea, or settle down with a hot cup of chamomile before bed.

16. Do some yoga – Just because I hate yoga, doesn’t mean that you have too!

17. Iron your clothes ready for the next day – such a satisfying, simple bit of self-care.

18. Or meal prep for the days ahead – saves you time and is great for those down days when you can’t muster up the energy to cook.

19. Smile/Laugh! – sounds stupid, but is so important. Laughter really is a medicine and smiling – even if it is just at yourself in the mirror – can really help to combat sadness.

20. Do some stretching exercises – or just have a good old stretch while you’re taking a 5-minute break. Great for relieving tension.

21. Have a power nap – Power naps are good for you! Napping for up to 20minutes a day can increase memory, cognitive function, creativity and more! It also helps you stop relying on coffee for a pick-me-up.

22. Deep condition your hair

23. Moisturise – just because it feels good. Take your time and give yourself a mini-massage while you’re at it.

24. Stay off your phone 30mins before bed – allow yourself to disconnect from the world and reap the sleep benefits as you do it!

25. Go to bed at a reasonable time

Emotional Self-Care

Looking after yourself emotionally is often one of the hardest things to do, especially when you suffer from a mental health condition that negatively attacks your emotions. However, learning how to manage your emotions is vital to your overall wellness. Completing activities that encourage you to understand and analyse your emotions is a great way to influence positive self-perception and improved emotional control. It is also crucial when practising self-care that you incorporate activities that promote positive emotional reactions. Often these are things we love doing and can be used to directly defend against negative emotions.

26. Use positive affirmations – Just by telling yourself daily that “you are good enough”, you’re practising one of the most important aspects of self-care; the ability to be self-compassionate. Check out these 50 daily positive affirmations to find things that you connect with, or simply make up your own!

27. Watch a funny video

28. Talk to someone about negative emotions instead of bottling it up – whether it be a therapist or a friend, sharing your troubles with others can help lessen their grip on you and calm that emotional storm.

29. Read your favourite book – when I’m sad, you’ll find me in the corner re-reading the Harry Potter series for the 5437th time.

30. Indulge in your favourite treat

31. Start a journal – these 117 journal prompts encourage you to explore yourself and your life is constructive, positive ways. I use so many of these prompts for my own journaling and have discovered so much about myself.

32. Have a pajama day – there’s nothing quite like putting on your PJs and curling up on the sofa.

33. Be kind to yourself – Stop beating yourself up about things. Allow yourself to take some time out. Forgive yourself for whatever it is that you feel you did wrong. Treat yourself as you would a child or a best friend – soothe, comfort and forgive. We are our own worst critics and it’s easy to forget to be kind to yourself, but taking the time to be objective can encourage self-compassion and inner peace.

34. Take time out to listen to music – I love blasting my all-time-favourite nostalgic tunes and singing along to them loudly in my bedroom (although not sure that my housemates share my enthusiasm.) Discovering music is also a great way to take your mind off things.

35. Create a feel-good Spotify playlist – So you’ve got your feel-good tunes on the go

36. Cook your favourite meal

37. Have a pamper session – break out the nail kit, face-masks and cucumber slices and treat yourself to an at-home spa.

38. Practice mindfulness or meditation – me and mindfulness have an on-off relationship because I swear my brain is sooo against shutting the f up for five minutes. Still, when it works, it works really, really well. Check out this super informative, fun blog post on what mindfulness is, why it is so beneficial and how you can practice it in your everyday life.

39. Colour in an adult colouring book – so therapeutic and can be done while listening to music or podcasts.

40. Play a videogame

41. Watch your favourite program – or get into a new one.

42. Do something to help someone else – practising self-care means doing things to be the best version of yourself. Helping someone out, whether it’s a friend or stranger, is a beautiful way to exercise positive affirmations about yourself and the world around you.

43. Try doing some breathing exercises

44. Window shop – or actual shop if you’re not broke like me.

45. Seek/attend therapy – this fits in multiple categories because it can be so emotionally, intellectually and physically rewarding. Find a service that’s right for you and stick with it even if at first you don’t think it’s working. It may be a slow burn but it’s definitely worth it in the end.

Social / Relationship Self-Care

Everyone is different and one person’s social needs can vary drastically from another’s. While some might experience joy in constantly being around others, there are some of us who can’t function properly without our much-needed alone time. In saying that, it is beneficial to identify your own needs when it comes to the social vs solitude balance, as neglecting these needs can have a negative impact on your overall wellbeing. Personally, I believe that it is important for me to incorporate a healthy balance of both into my life, even if my social anxiety doesn’t always agree!

46. Start saying yes to more things – don’t let insecurities or anxieties hold you back! Try saying yes to at least one social activity a week.

47. Have a conversation with a cashier / bartender – sometimes all it takes it some friendly small-talk with a stranger to boost that social need and brighten your mood.

48. Have a two-hour social media detox

49. Grab a coffee with a friend and catch up

50. Call / text someone you love

51. Implement healthy social boundaries by practising when to say no – Saying yes to too many things because you’re scared of letting people down can quickly lead to burnout. It’s OK to say no, even if your only excuse is that you just want some alone time.

52. Reconnect with an old friend – for you lucky sods who actually have old friends, pick up the phone and reach out. You’ll probably be surprised at just how easy and effortless it is to reconnect with someone you lost contact with.

53. Avoid toxic relationships – staying away from people who bring you down is imperative for a healthy mindset. Try to limit your interactions with toxic people.

Intellectual Self-Care

Taking the time to challenge yourself intellectually by engaging with cognitive and creative activities is a great way to alleviate boredom and combat a negative self-image. It is easy for life to feel stagnant and pointless if we don’t work to enrich our knowledge. Learning new things and strengthening our skills are vital to self-growth and long-term mental wellness. You’re already doing some intellectual self-care just by reading this blog post!

54. Draw something – did you know that anyone can learn to draw? Even if still-life isn’t your thing, even just doodling can get those creative juices flowing.

55. Take up a new hobby – want to learn how to sew? Knit? Play an instrument? Well give yourself some time every week to put some practise in. Everyone has to start somewhere!

56. Listen to a podcast – I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. They aren’t the most cheery, but they’ve taught me a lot about serial killers and how I probably won’t realise I’m in the company of one until it’s too late. So there’s that.

57. Read a self-help/inspirational book – If you’re looking for some serious, no-bullshit life advice, Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck’ is truly brilliant! As a chronic overthinker, this book gave me a kick up the butt and motivated me to stop obsessing about things I can’t control. You can buy it from amazon here {affiliate).

58. Learn a new fact – there are some cool apps you can download that send you one random fact a day which is really low-effort. However, googling something you’re interested in is great! Make sure to write it down so that you have a little log of all the cool facts you’ve learned.

59. Try a mind puzzle – I like solitaire and sudoku, but there are a host of apps that provide entertaining mind-puzzles and games. If you’re a bit more old school, you could always try busting out that old rubik’s cube!

60. Write up weekly to-do-lists – because nothing screams “I HAVE MY LIFE TOGETHER” like a bunch of to-do-lists right? Right?

61. Learn a new language – this one’s for you ambitious folk out there with way more motivation than me.

62. Have a thought-provoking conversation with someone – ask a friend (or even a stranger) one of these 113 deep questions and buckle yourself in for a meaningful conversation.

Environmental Self-Care

A healthy environment promotes a healthy mindset, which is why it’s important to take care of your living space. Rather than the feeling of overwhelmed defeat when entering an untidy bedroom or cluttered work-space, have your surroundings evoke positive emotions by doing simple things to look after it. Not only will comfortable, clean surroundings lift your mood, but they will increase productivity too – which you’ll need to complete your self-care checklists!

62. Change your bedsheets – so simple. So effective.

63. Spend some time in nature

64. Clean an area of your house – or your whole house, don’t let me hold you back.

65. Try out a new healthy recipe

66. Light some scented candles – there’s something about apple and cinnamon that makes me feel warm and cosy, so best believe my whole house will smell like it all year.

67. Declutter an area of your house – try throwing away 5 things in your bedroom or, if you’re brave, try tackling the storage room.

68. Create a cleaning schedule – and stick to it. That’s the tricky bit.

69. Clean dishes straight away – I’m a ‘clear up as much as I can before I sit down and eat’ kind of girl, which drives other people mad. However, there’s just something so satisfying about having only one plate to wash up after eating … even if my dinner does sometimes gets a tiny bit cold.

70. Have some time away from people who drain your energy – some people are all go, go, go, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need. However, it’s important to set time aside to relax and rejuvenate. Taking a day’s break from people who seem to sap up your energy is a great way to find that much-needed balance.

70 self-care ideas for bad mental health days #depression #anxiety #mentalwellness #positivity #selfimprovement

So there it is, 70 self-care ideas and suggestions for you to consider putting on your self-care checklist.!

I’m curious to know if there are any self-care activities that I haven’t included, especially if it’s one of your must-dos! Please feel free to leave any self-care ideas of your own down below – I’d love to hear them.

This post contains affiliate links.

I am a mental health blogger sharing my experiences with BPD, depression and anxiety. I have created this space of understanding and healing in order to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. I also offer lots of self-care tips to help you live your best life! Any advice I give is based off my personal experiences and should not be substituted for medical advice. You can read my full disclaimer by clicking the link in the footer.


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