After A Really Awful Day, Go Ahead & Treat Yourself To These 10 Little Things At Home

by Caroline Burke

Let's face it: sh*t happens. You can do your very best to have a productive, healthy, enjoyable day, and yet, it can all fall apart, anyway. Sometimes it's simply out of your control, which is why it can help to have a plan B in your pocket: Instead of carrying your bad mood into the evening (and maybe all the way to the following morning, too), you can do some little things to make you feel better after a terrible day. The best part about this feel-good strategy is that there are plenty of ways to turn your day around, without having to make a big effort or spend a lot of money.

Flipping your mood around at the end of the day might seem like a monumental task (especially if your mood is downright awful), but you might be surprised by how effective a little bit of self-care can be. Whether you love sweating away the frustration, or settling in for the evening to marathon a new Netflix show, you should always try to keep in mind that no day is over until your head hits the pillow.

Here are 10 ideas for how you can improve a terrible day in the simplest way.

Taking A Long, Hot Bath

Taking a nice, long, hot bath at the end of the day won't rewrite history, but it will almost guarantee a more relaxed state of mind, and allow your thoughts to slow down to a trickle.

Even better, taking a hot bath or shower actually cools your body down, Health reports, by spiking your body temperature, and subsequently creating a steep drop, which helps your body totally unwind. Throw some epsom salts in the suds, and you're really going to decompress.

Eating Some Comfort Food

Yeah, yeah, nutrition is important — but sometimes, you just need to eat the comfort food you've loved your whole life. Whether it's a juicy cheeseburger, a steaming plate macaroni and cheese, or a bowl of ice cream with hot fudge drizzled on top, there's nothing wrong with making a special dinner filled with the things that remind you of simpler times, when rent was a word you didn't understand, and bedtime was whenever you wanted it to be.

Opening Up A New Book

I am a firm believer in quitting books that you don't enjoy. If I'm not feeling a story by page 50 or so, I'm out, because life is too short, and there are way too many amazing books out there, just waiting to be read. Why slog through a story that makes you bored to tears?

For this reason, I think there's something especially exciting about reading the first few pages of a new book. It's all opportunity, and no sense of dread that you might get from opening up War and Peace a third of the way in.

Going To Bed Early

Maybe today was terrible, but who's to say tomorrow can't be great? The best way to set yourself up for a good day is to get the proper amount of rest, so why not go to sleep an hour or two earlier than usual, and get yourself those eight to 10 hours you almost never reach?

If you do decide to go to sleep early, try to make sure you're not bringing technology into bed with you, as staring at the blue light that emits from your laptop or phone screen will likely make it harder for you to fall asleep.

Drinking A Hot Cup Of Decaffeinated Tea

A hot cup of tea is like a bubble bath for your mouth — sort of. As long as it's decaffeinated, drinking a hot cup of tea is an excellent way to de-stress at the end of the day, no matter how hard the last few hours were on you.

Plenty of teas out there also deliver the type of homeopathic health benefits that you'd usually only expect from obscure herbal remedies. According to TIME, tea is filled with antioxidants, it can help improve bone density, and it can decrease your risk of heart attack, to name a few benefits.

Turning Your Phone Off

As soon as you get home, turn your phone on airplane mode, or turn it off entirely. You might not even realize how agitating it can be to have a little device that's constantly buzzing with app updates, text notifications, phone calls, news alerts, calendar invites — the list never ends.

Turning your phone off and going into another room to read a book, or simply sip some tea in silence, will give your mind some much-needed peace and quiet, allowing you to recharge and process the events of the day without feeling overwhelmed.

Catching Up With An Old Friend

If the last thing you want is to be alone after a sh*tty day, then maybe it's time to meet up with an old friend, or finally schedule that FaceTime call with your bestie who lives across the country.

Talking to your friend will not only make you feel better, but it will also give you some perspective about how little most of the day's problems really matter in the bigger picture. Everyone has ups and downs, and the more you share these feelings with other people, the more you'll realize how universal these things really are. Talking with a friend can be an easy reminder that you're never truly alone, even when it feels like you are.

Going To A Nighttime Yoga Class

Want to center yourself? An evening yoga session might just do the trick, as the practice is essentially the perfect middle ground for people who want to exercise and let out the bad feels, but don't really feel up for a run, or a gnarly cycling class.

Yoga is all about finding your center and focusing on gratitude, all while pushing away petty frustrations — aka exactly what you need after the day you just had.

Watching Your Favorite Movie

Yoga might be all about centering yourself, but watching your favorite feel-good movie is all about forgetting your own life for an hour or two. Sometimes, on especially crappy days, this is exactly what you need.

Not all upsetting moments demand introspection. Sometimes, you just want to forget about all of the little annoyances of the day, and if Dirty Dancing does that better than any meditation session could, go for it.

Working On A Hands-On Project

It can be something as complex as making pottery, or as simple as writing a letter, but doing something with your hands (no matter what it is) can be a great way to distract your mind from those racing thoughts that are consumed by how awful your day was.

Creating or physically working on something will require you to use a different part of your brain, and will most likely relax you in a way that watching TV potentially couldn't.