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25 Coping Skills For When You’ve Had a Bad Day

When was the last time something happened at work that left you in the worst mood for the rest of the day? Maybe something a friend said or did made you mad, your children are misbehaving, or you got into an argument with your significant other.

Life doesn’t always go smoothly, and having some coping mechanisms that can help you to blow off steam in a healthy way is important.

While this list dives into several possible outlets, remember that not every coping mechanism is going to work for each person.

While your BFF might prefer to go on a walk after a hard day to blow off steam, you might need something more solitary and relaxing like taking a bath. And that’s okay. The goal is to find coping skills that will work for you, not trying to conform yourself to the coping skill.

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Scroll through this list of 25 coping skills to find the ones that you think could help you work through a rough patch or deal with a bad day.

Coping Skills For When You’ve Had a Bad Day

1. Exercise: Whether you prefer to walk, run, take a barre class, do yoga, or head to Orangetheory, find an exercise routine that works for you and stick to it when you need to have some you time.

2. Arts and crafts: Sometimes take a break to do something as mindless as drawing, coloring in your adult coloring book, or crocheting a scarf is a great way to distract yourself temporarily.

3. Listen to music: Create a happy playlist filled with songs that always improve your mood, and put it on shuffle each time you need a boost.

4. Talk to someone: Find a confidant, whether it’s your sibling, parent, best friend, partner, etc., and talk to them about what’s going on, both to vent and to get a second point of view if you want one.

5. Read: Read a book, a magazine, a blog article, tweets from your favorite Twitter feed, whatever you know will lift your spirits and help distract you or calm you down.

6. Clean: This is a good one for me, but not everyone loves cleaning. One of my favorite things to do is set aside an evening where I just blast music throughout the apartment and do some deep cleaning, and it’s a great way to help me get out frustrations after an argument or a hard day at work.

7. Take a bath: Get yourself a bath bomb, put on your favorite movie or soothing playlist, dim the lights, and take a nice, hot, relaxing bath.

8. Sing: Sing in the shower, sing karaoke, sing in the car. If belting out your favorite song, no matter how poorly, helps you feel better, freaking do it, girl!

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9. Do a puzzle: If you don’t have any puzzles, Target has a great selection, but clear off your dining room or coffee table and get to work sorting out side pieces and colors, and putting your puzzle together.

10. Blow bubbles: Has anyone ever been mad when blowing bubbles? It might sound childish, but if you head out to a park or open grassy area with a bottle of bubbles, your day will definitely improve.

11. Play with your pet: Give your cat some belly scratches (unless they don’t like that type of thing, then definitely don’t), or take your dog to the dog park and play fetch. Your fur babies love you, and spending some quality time with them can help you feel better about the situations you may be facing.

12. Get outdoors: Go on a nature trail, hike up a nearby mountain, or just sit and relax in the park. Getting outside in nature can be a great mood booster.

13. Write in a journal: Sometimes people just need to write to get their thoughts and feelings straight about a certain subject. Grab yourself a pretty journal and write in it when you’re feeling down.

14. Cook: If you love to cook, finding a new recipe and getting to work in the kitchen can be a great way to cope with the issues you dealt with that day.

15. Paint your nails: Or go to the salon and get them taken care of for you. Practicing self-care is always a good coping mechanism.

16. Take a break: Mid-argument with your partner or kids and don’t want to lose your temper? Take a quick break, even if it’s just to go sit in another room and breathe for a couple of minutes before coming back to it.

17. Use a fidget tool: If you’re feeling anxious about a work event or presentation, or a meeting with your kid’s other parent, or whatever you might be dealing with, fidgeting can be a great way to calm your nerves. Check Amazon for fidget tools that can be so much more effective than the oh so popular fidget spinner.

18. Play a game with your kids: If work stress is dragging you down, playing a game (whether it’s Uno or Monopoly or even a video game) with your kids can really help pull you out of your funk. Who doesn’t love a child’s innocence on a bad day? (Only if they win, of course.)

19. Garden: Head out into the yard and work in your garden, tending to flowers or your vegetable/herb patch. You can even water plants or create a small garden in smaller homes or apartments, as well.

20. Take deep breaths: One of my biggest things when I’m feeling anxious is to take deep breaths and drink cold water. Practice various breathing exercises to find the one that helps you most.

21. Watch a movie or TV show: Sometimes all you need after a bad day is your favorite movie or a binge watching session of your latest TV show.

22. Put on a face mask: What I love about a face mask, is I can put one on and the cool, moist feel of the mask on my face always seems to make everything better. I work from home, so sometimes during a particularly stressful day, I’ll pause around lunch, just to grab a face mask while I work.

23. Visualize a happy place: Get as detailed as possible, whether you think about a happy memory or just a place you love to go. Picture yourself actually being there, enjoying it, and getting away from your troubles.

24. Rearrange your furniture: Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need, and rearranging your bedroom or living room and give you an entirely new perspective.

25. Meditate: Getting some time alone to sit, meditate, and think about nothing can be a majorly helpful coping mechanism for many people.

Have you found a few ways to help yourself cope with bad days and issues that might give you anxiety or bad feelings? Let us know your favorite coping mechanisms in the comments!

About the Author

Chloe West

Chloe graduated from College of Charleston with a BA in English. She is currently a Content Marketing Manager at Visme and freelance writer. She loves brunch, stand up comedy, and card games. She works from home and plans to do so for the rest of her life.