When you are having a bad mental health day, all you feel like doing is curling up into a ball under a blanket.

And hope that you won’t come into contact with anyone in your safe space.

Can you relate?

I know all too well about these days…

After suffering with depression and anxiety for 20 years I had more than my fair share!

What I learnt in that 20 years, is that curling up into a ball doesn’t solve the problem.

In fact, it generally makes it worse!

So what can you do on bad mental health days?

That’s right you’ve guessed it…


When suffering with a mental illness there is a high chance that you are not caring for yourself the way you should.


It’s Not Your Fault

41 Self-Care Ideas for Depression and Anxiety

41 self-care ideas for depression and anxietyPlay Video


Now this isn’t your fault, because suffering with mental illness is debilitating to say the least!

But, it’s now your responsibility to make changes in your routine, to start taking care of yourself again.

Now I know it’s tough to get motivated and moving when you are having a bad day.

So, I have put together a list of self-care ideas that will help you on your bad days.

This list goes from super simple tasks that are necessary self-care, to a bit more adventurous for as the day goes on.

From my own experiences, I learnt that the simple and necessary self-care made ALLLLL the difference!

And then I was actually able to move on to more energetic self-care, which improved my mood further.

Sounds good right?

So before we move on, I want to explain exactly what self-care is.

Because let’s face it…

Most people think it’s just a bubble bath and a massage.

But boy, it’s so much more than that!


What is Self-Care?

My definition of self-care is this…

“Self-care is the act of carrying out any practice where you care for and nurture your mind, body and soul. It is when you identify your own needs and you meet them on a regular basis to keep happy, healthy and rested.”

 So you can see how self-care is more than just a bath.

Self-care is taking care of your body and mind as a whole. And not forgetting daily necessities to keep you optimally healthy.

Yes that means enough sleep, water, exercise and nutritious food too!

To learn about the 5 types of self-care, read this post here.

So, self-care is a necessity not an option.

Ultimately, you need self-care daily to function as a healthy human being.

Without it, you will be fatigued, lethargic and have feelings of not being good enough.

Sound like you?

If so, read on.

So let’s delve in and take a look at the 41 self-care ideas for bad mental health days.


41 Self-Care Ideas

Here I will list self-care ideas that you can try out. I will start with the essentials and those that don’t take too much effort.

I will then work up to ideas that take a bit more effort, for when you have re-gained your power.

Take a day off work.

You know that if you go into work you will feel a lot worse when you come home. So give yourself the care you need and take the day off.


Mental illness can leave you feeling more tired than normal. So take as much sleep as you need to re-energize.

Drink some water.

Your body needs water and plenty of it. Make sure you look after yourself by drinking enough each day.

Light a candle.

There’s something about lighting a candle that is so relaxing. So find your favourite and relax.

Cup of herbal tea.

Herbal tea is relaxing and a better option than loading up on caffeine, as caffeine can make anxiety symptoms worse.


Make lists of things you want to do and achieve.

What do you want to achieve in life? Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? List all your goals and dreams.

Diffuse essential oils.

Essential oils have so many amazing benefits for the body and they even help mental health too.  Lavender is great choice for both mental health and sleep.

Mindful colouring.

Mindful colouring brings you into the present moment by calming your mind and using your creative side.

There are great coloring books you can buy on amazon.


Like this one here.

Digital detox.

I am stating the obvious here. Social media makes most of us anxious and I am sure it does for you to. Take a day off and notice how much better you will feel.

Stroke a pet or cuddle a toy.

Stroking animals has been proven to improve your mood. No pets? Grab your fave teddy or blanket.


Journal all of your thoughts and feelings out until you can’t write anymore.

Related Post: Journal prompts for Depression and anxiety.

Positive affirmations.

Swap your negative thoughts for positives and use affirmations to help re-train your brain.

Related Post: How to use positive affirmations for a positive mindset.

Make a gratitude list.

Stop focusing on what you don’t have and want. And start focusing on what you do have and appreciate it.

Related Post: How gratitude improves mental health.

Epsom salt bath.

Take a hot relaxing bath with Epsom or sea salts to detox your body.

Put clean clothes on.

There is nothing better than clean clothes to make you feel a bit fresher.

Face mask.

Sit back, relax and pamper yourself with your favorite or DIY face mask.

Watch a film.

Put on your favourite film and snuggle up on the sofa.

 Listen to music.

Put on some relaxing music and relax your mind and body.

Watch positive Ted Talks on YouTube.

Uplift your mood with positive and informative self-help talks from Ted.

Related Post: 5 TED talks to improve your mental health.

Eat fruit and vegetables.

This is a must. Your body needs vitamins and minerals which can only be found in fruit and veg. Good food improves your mood!

Hug someone.

Human contact is so important, even if you are an introvert. Give someone a meaningful hug.

Talk to someone.

Get your thoughts and feelings off your chest by talking to family, friends or a therapist. It’s better out than in.

Create a vision board.

Visualising is a powerful tool to create a life you dream of. Create a vision board of what you dream your life to be.

Breathe deeply.

Slow down. Take deep breathes, in through your nose and our through your nose.

Related Post: 6 Breathing Exercises to help relieve depression and anxiety.Report this ad



Even if you meditate for just a few minutes, it will really help calm your mind and body.

Related Post: How to meditate for depression and anxiety.


This is my favorite tool to use as it is what I used to overcome depression and anxiety. Become mindful of your thoughts, actions and surroundings to bring you into the present.

Related post: How to overcome depression and anxiety using mindfulness.

Get creative with art and crafts.

Being creative is a mindful practice that can calm you down and lift your mood. Don’t think about what or how, just do and splash some paint on a canvas.


Read your favorite book or a self-help book on happiness would be ideal!

Related Post: 7 Books to Improve Depression and Anxiety.

Write a list of compliments to yourself.

When was the last time you said something nice about yourself? Now is the time sister!

Yoga poses.

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Yoga is amazing for mental illness.

Related Post: Yoga poses for depression and anxiety.

Forgive others and yourself.

Holding onto hate? Resentment? Anger? Let it go and forgive! If you don’t you are only hurting yourself.

Say ‘No’.

Take your power back and say no to things you don’t want to do. Set boundaries.

Related Post: How To Say No Without Feeling Guilty.

Walk in Nature.

Connect to the earth and ground yourself in nature. Pure bliss and the best medicine.

Buy yourself flowers.

Waiting for someone to buy you flowers? Buy them yourself and love yourself.


Singing out loud is a sure way to increase mood, so blast out your favorite tunes.

Shower meditation.

Take a shower and meditate while doing so. Imagine the water is washing all of your worries away.

Bake something tasty.

Bake something tasty and get creative at the same time.Report this ad


Declutter your clothes and belongings.

Declutter your belongings to declutter your mind. Think of clutter as stagnant emotion, let it go!

Dance like nobody is watching.

Get your blood flowing and your cheeks glowing.


Exercise releasing feel good hormones and is good for your health too. Put on your trainers and get active, even if it’s just a few minutes.

Related Post: Short Workouts for Depression and Anxiety.

Leave toxic/negative relationships.

Last but definitely not least, but one of the hardest! Let go of relationships that make you feel less than and don’t support you.

So there you have it. 41 ideas to get you started on your self-care journey to happiness.Report this ad


Important Note

What’s important here is that you start creating a self-care practice that you stick to.

That’s including days that you are feeling better.

Why? I hear you ask.

Because the more you practice self-care, the better you will feel.

I hope this list can help you get started.

Here’s Something Else To Help You

I have created an eBook guide, Free Your Mind, which teaches you all about mindfulness and how to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Creating a mindful routine and life will improve your mental health and happiness.

You can read all about it here: Free Your Mind.

Here’s a quick preview of what’s inside:

  • Detailed explanation about mindfulness and why you need it.
  • What negative thought patterns are and how you can change them to be positive.
  • The exact mindful exercises I used to recovery from depression and anxiety.
  • daily planner to keep you on track with your routine.
  • All explained in an easy to follow method which will create a positive mindset.

Plus much more!

Plus, if you order now you get 3 bonus eBook guides for FREE.

I appreciate you reading this post and I look forward to connecting with you soon.

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