Seven Ways to Turn a Bad Day Around

There are a lot of reasons why you might be having a bad day. You could be at the walk-in clinic after a car accident, dreading all the time and energy it’s going to take to deal with your insurance. Maybe a coworker got promoted when you thought you were a shoe-in for the job, or maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

You aren’t doomed to have a bad day! There are things you can do to try and turn your day around, no matter why you’re feeling crummy.


Sleep can have a huge effect on your mood. If you didn’t get enough shuteye the night before, you’ll find yourself much more irritable and you’re likely to view the glass as half empty instead of half full. No matter why you feel like you’re having a bad day, if you didn’t get enough sleep, it’s going to feel worse.

Do yourself a favor and try and get a little shuteye. Go back to bed after breakfast, take a nap in the afternoon, or take a quick 10-minute snooze in your car during your break time at work. Not only will getting some Z’s boost your mood, it also provides you with time away, which is something we all need when we’re struggling.

Treat Yourself

It doesn’t always take something big to make your day better. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of taking a few minutes to do something nice for yourself. A few ideas include:

  • Getting something special to eat for lunch
  • Getting ice cream or your favorite candy
  • Having dinner delivered
  • Buying a shirt or a fashion accessory you have had your eye on

It might also mean doing something you normally wouldn’t take time for. Take a stroll through your favorite park, people watch on a bench downtown, or take the afternoon off of work just to binge watch your favorite show on Netflix. It may be just what you need to put you in a better mood.

Drop Something From Your To-Do List

Feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff you have to do? Lists can get long, especially if you work full-time or you have kids at home. If you find that thinking about everything you have to do is making you feel even worse, consider dropping at least one thing from your to-do list.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore important tasks. You still have to meet that deadline at work and take the kids to soccer practice, but there are likely other things on your list that can wait. Leave the dishes in the sink after dinner, wait to answer your emails until tomorrow morning, and make that dental appointment some other time.

If your to-do list is long and it’s affecting your day, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Ask a family member to do some of the chores around the house or ask a friend to grab you something for lunch so you don’t have to.

Mark Something Big Off Your To-Do List

Just because you can’t do everything on your to-do list doesn’t mean you can’t still get things done! If you know you’ll feel terrible because you’re putting things off for another day, modify your strategy and tackle one of the biggest things on your to-do list.

Surprisingly, when you’re in a bad mood, you actually have better judgement and you pay more attention to details. That means you could put your rotten mood to work on a project that requires some concentration!

Start on that paper for school or that PowerPoint presentation for work, make that difficult phone call you have been dreading, or reorganize the garage. Not only will you feel accomplished, which will boost your mood, the outcome will end up being better than if you waited to tackle the task until you feel better!

Do Something That Makes You Laugh

Laughter really is the best medicine. It changes the way your brain functions, which means it can pull you out of a bad mood and provide you with a cheerier disposition for the rest of the day.

Laughing with friends is a great way to boost your mood. Invite a friend over, ask a friend if they want to grab coffee, or call someone you care about who you haven’t talked to in a while. Just make sure you avoid talking about depressing news stories and focus on funny things instead.

You can still have a good chuckle alone! Watch a funny movie or browse funny memes on the internet if you can’t hang out with someone else.

Rephrase Negatives as Positives

It’s easy to spiral after one bad thing happens, and all of a sudden, everything seems terrible, even though it’s not. That’s because you’re phrasing things in a negative way. Instead, try actively looking for ways to rephrase negatives as positives.

Many common negative self-talk can be rephrased in more positive ways. For example, instead of thinking you’re an idiot, remind yourself you just don’t understand right now. Instead of thinking you shouldn’t have done something, think about a positive that came out of it.

It’s also very powerful to start thinking about the best that could happen instead of the worst. The more you think about positives and possibilities, the more your bad day will melt away.

Identify What Went Wrong and How You Can Avoid It Next Time

If something really did go wrong, instead of dwelling on what happened, spend time thinking about what you could do to avoid it next time. If you come up with a plan of attack, you’ll spend less time wishing the bad thing didn’t happen and you’ll spend more time finding ways to move on with your day in positive ways.

We all have bad days, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to deal with whatever kind of day you’re dealt! There are plenty of things you can do to salvage the minutes and hours you have left so you can have a better day.

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

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