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Surviving Bad Mental Health Days: Your Ultimate Guide to Self Care to Make It Through a Bad Day

Surviving Bad Mental Health Days: Your Ultimate Guide to Self Care to Make It Through a Bad Day


Bad mental health days happen to everybody, including myself! I’ve learned several things over the last few years that help make those bad days a little better. So, here are the self care ideas, tips, and tools you can use to help yourself through a bad mental health day.

Be Kind to Yourself

With bad mental health days, the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. It’s not your fault that you’re struggling, whether it be with anxiety, depression, or something else.

Be gentle with yourself. I know it can be really frustrating when you struggle through bad days – that feeling of being inadequate because you can’t be as productive as you normally would.

Push Yourself (A Little)

That being said, don’t wallow in it. Push yourself a little. Do something. I’m not talking about pushing yourself to be super productive, I’m talking about pushing yourself to do things that will actually make you feel at least a little better.

How to Get through a Bad Mental Health Day

These things should help you at least get past that hump when you start off feeling super anxious or depressed, and maybe help you have a better day overall.

  • practice basic hygiene
  • shower
  • put on clean clothes
  • open the blinds and turn on the lights
  • make a cup of coffee
  • get outside (even if just for a second)
  • drink water/eat something

Don’t get me wrong, I know doing this things can be incredibly difficult on those bad days. But, if you can get through one or two of them, often times you will start feeling better and that can help drive you through some more activities that will help you feel better and better. Just use this list as a guide, not a rule book!

Sometimes I just get through basic hygiene and opening the blinds, and that’s what I can do, But other times I get through all of the list and end up feeling immensely better (although not 100%). It’s about balancing being kind to yourself and pushing yourself.

Make Time for Self Care

When you’re having a bad mental health day, make time for self care, period. Whatever self care activity works for you, and that you have the energy for. The list of things that can help you get over the hump could definitely be considered self care!

For me, I like to take time to curl up on the couch with a blanket and read or snuggle my dog and watch stupid videos on my phone. Do whatever works for you. Just make sure you make time to do it!

Surviving Bad Mental Health Days at Work/School

Surviving bad mental health days when you have to be at work or school all day is all about preparation. I have certain things I carry with me that I know will help me if I’m struggling, or even prevent things from going badly and causing anxiety.

Things I Carry with Me for Bad Mental Health Days

  • Headphones & a Phone Charger. Music and videos can help me put aside anxious thoughts, at least until I’m home. So I make sure to carry headphones and a phone charger so I can do those things without worrying about my phone dying, and you know…being able to listen to music and videos.
  • Fun Book. Fun books can be a great distraction during gaps in your day.
  • Journal or Planner. I like to carry a journal or planner for planning purposes. Honestly, I find it calming and it’s helpful to be able to write down all the things going on in my head.
  • Jacket or Sweater. I like to carry a jacket or sweater for two reasons. One, for if I get cold. And two, for if I’m feeling self conscious having a jacket just makes me feel more secure. It’s similar to having a weighted blanket.
  • Medications/Essential Oils/etc. If you have as needed medications or use things like essential oils, anything like that, be sure to carry those in your bag so you have them if needed!

How to Prepare for Bad Mental Health Days

I find a lot of being able to survive bad mental health days has to do with preparing for bad mental health days. So I wanted to share a few ways I do that.

  • Keep what you need in your bag. I already listed off things above that I think are helpful to carry in my bag. Keep whatever things you want with you on a bad mental health day in your bag. Sometimes it’s hard to think clearly when you’re rushing out the door, so it’s just best to try to keep your stuff in your bag.
  • Work ahead on any responsibilities (work, homework, projects, etc). Work ahead as much as you can so when it comes to bad mental health days, you won’t fall so far behind, if at all. I try to stay a week ahead if I can, but that’s not always feasible.
  • Have self care ideas written down somewhere. Keeping a list of self care ideas can be helpful on those bad mental health days so you don’t have to think of ideas while you’re struggling! I like to keep a running list in my bullet journal.
  • Have a support team who knows how to help. It’s helpful to have a support team on those bad mental health days. I personally prefer to keep to myself those days, but I will communicate with my husband about it, and one other friend who gets it. But having people who understand how you feel and why, as well as how to help you, can be instrumental to those really rough days.

So that’s what I have for you as far as surviving bad mental health days! Send me a message on Instagram and let me know if you try out any of these tips. Want more support for your own self care? Check out ways you can work with me!

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If you’re new here, I’m Sara! I’m a self care and anxiety coach. I’m here to help you reduce anxiety with effective and sustainable self care. Stick with me if you want to learn more about how you can make self care a part of your daily life. Learn More>>

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