How to Turn a Bad Day Around – 15 Ideas to Get You Out of a Funk

It happens to the best of us. One minute you’re on top of the world, and then suddenly your day takes a turn for the worse. Maybe it’s work-related, or maybe it’s just one thing after another that sets you off on a bad mood spiral.

I tend to play victim to my moods a little too easily. “I’m feeling weirdly sad” often translates to “Let me have some food, it’ll make me feel better”, which then translates into a day-long binge-fest. “I’ve already wasted half the working day doing random stuff” often results in more hours being spent on doing random (read: non-productive) stuff.

Of course, over time I’ve learned that no matter what happened, no matter how rubbish the day was, there are always ways to make it better. And it also helps to remember that one bad day does not equate to a bad life.

How to Turn a Bad Day Around

I get it – it’s not as simple as telling yourself to ‘snap out of it’ (though that also works every once in a while) but the key is to turn your focus to something else that can hopefully get you to focus on the positives around you.

If you’re having one of those bad days yourself, here are 11 ideas for turning your day around!

1| Get Off Social Media

Social media *can* be an inspiring place every once in a while, but I’ve found that it’s rather easy to get lost in a sea of negativity when scrolling through social media feeds and what looks like everyone else’s perfect lives. It can be especially frustrating if you’re looking for validation on your bad day. Take time out from the internet and focus on ‘real’ things around you.

2| Spend Some Time in Water

Maybe it’s something about me being a water sign, but I’ve always found water to be incredibly healing. A long shower, a few laps in the pool, a few minutes by the sea – all of these things feel extremely restorative to me, and usually, leave me feeling cleansed and calmer.

3| Journal it Out

Journaling is a great way to work through your thoughts and feelings. Even if it’s just for ten minutes, get all of those negative emotions out on paper (or in type). It can be cathartic to put those things down on paper, or even better you might find yourself able to come up with solutions once everything has been aired.

4| Get Outside

Fresh air and green spaces always feel good when the day isn’t going well. Walk barefoot on the grass or on the beach, if you can. The earth will always be there, and it’s one of the most grounding things to have contact with.

5| Clean or Organize Something

It’s been said time and time again, but it doesn’t hurt to mention – cleaning or organizing is therapeutic. Give yourself a goal for the day (clean out your wardrobe, clean up the kitchen or the junk drawer) and unleash your inner Monica for a few hours without abandon.

I do tend to resort to this quite often, especially when I am having a bad day at work – something about throwing out useless/old stuff just feels so cathartic, that by the time I’m done, I’m in a better frame of mind, and find myself able to concentrate better.

6| Tick Off Something From Your To-Do List

You’re feeling bad and can’t be bothered to do anything, but there are a million things on your to-do list. Tackle one of them! You’ll feel better about yourself for getting something done, even if it’s just ten minutes’ worth of effort.

7| Treat Yourself to Something You Love

It might be something as simple as a hot bath or some chocolate, but if you can find an activity that feels like therapy to you on a bad day and do it without guilt – go for it.

One of my favorite things is buying a new romance to read. I adore reading romance novels, and it’s one of my favorite ways to get out of my own head when I am feeling low.

8| Cry It Out

It sounds counter-intuitive, but crying it out can be a really cathartic experience. Sometimes we just need to let our emotions run their course and cry until we’ve got nothing left in us (within reason).

If you’re feeling bad, the last thing that you want to do is hold all of those negative feelings inside – so give in and let them out.

9| Create a Gratitude List

I mentioned this one in my post on self love, but it’s worth mentioning again. The beauty of a gratitude list is that you can change your entire focus with just a few words – from all that is wrong in your life to all the goodness that already exists in you and around you! There is never a bad time for counting your blessings really.

10| Seek Out People Who Lift You Up

If you’re okay with handling some company when you’re down (I usually am not, so it’s something that I tend to do), go be with those people who you know will lighten up your mood and pull you up.

11| Get Some Sleep

It’s simple, but we all need it. In order to fully come back from a low point in your life, you need enough rest to get through the day and feel emotionally balanced again.

12| Move Your Body

I’ll be honest – this is not my default reaction to bad moods, but it does work. Going for a walk (or to the gym) releases all those feel-good hormones you keep hearing about – endorphins – and eases you into a better mood. It doesn’t even have to be an all-out workout session; a walk in the fresh, open air is also effective to put you in a better mood and see things in a brighter light.

13| Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, or experiences at any given time. To be mindful means to create space for yourself and your emotions about a situation, without judgment. It’s not easy but it works like magic! This can also take the form of meditation if that works for you, or even some deep breaths to just feel centered.

14| Do Something Nice for Someone Else

Giving to others feels so good – and it’s a great way of taking your focus off yourself for a second. Reach out to someone you care about or are close with, buy a small something for a friend, give someone else a compliment… The options are endless!

15| Seek Professional Help

If you’re feeling bad or struggling with something, don’t be afraid to go see a therapist – you deserve to feel better. There are also psychologists and counselors who can help you deal with the tough stuff and not just “cope.”

When I am having a bad day myself, I’ve realized that the key is to do something which even remotely feels like an accomplishment or forces me to lighten up.

Going for a 10-minute walk, filling up a page in your journal, or even laughing out aloud to a silly show on TV – all of that is better than being in a dark space by yourself.

How do you deal with your bad days and what are your tricks to turn a bad day around?

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  1. It can be hard to pull yourself out “of a funk” I completely agree with all your points here! Doing something imperfectly is better than not doing anything at all :)
    I particularly sympathise with the get moving one as that’s the most difficult one to improvise for me but it probably works the most too!
    Diana Celine

    1. Hi Diana, thank you for dropping by! :)

      These days when I find myself going down a negative thought spiral, I whisper to myself “stop it” or “you’re okay, you’ll be okay” till I calm myself down. I’ve found that usually does the trick.

      Also, in this lockdown situation that we have here in India, I’ve found that going down for even a 20-30 min walk really helps. How are things in your town?

  2. I love this post Shirsha! Such helpful advice! We all have those days that were in a funk and just can’t seem to shake it. I absolutely agree when you say that you just try to do anything that even remotely feels like an accomplishment. I call that “engineering small wins” and I do it for myself pretty regularly. I’ve got to say, it works almost every time!

    Also getting out in nature, and just admitting out loud (usually to my partner) that I’m in a funk and I don’t know why. There’s something oddly freeing about saying it, and usually they’ll cut you a little slack. Seems to help me anyway. ?‍♀️

    And can I just say that I never noticed the description on this section of your blog about your experiments in wellness. I absolutely love that! I definitely have the same approach.

    1. It’s been years since I wrote this post, and I think the concept of engineering small wins is something I’ve started to appreciate only recently! Sometimes, we really need to listen to our own advice. :)

      To be honest, I am still figuring out the wellness bit… I mean, it’s not a lack of knowledge or information, but more about getting consistent about it. More intentional. It’s still an ongoing journey. :)