5 Calming Activities to Try When You’ve Had a Hard Day

Person relaxing on the grass in daylight evening

R.E.M.—an American rock band from the 1980’s—used to sing a song called, “Everybody Hurts”. Its lyrics truly resonate with anyone who has ever had a bad day. If you’ve never had a bad day, though, then you’re probably not human. It’s just a part of life as we know it.

“When your day is long

And the night

The night is yours alone

When you’re sure you’ve had enough

Of this life

Well hang on

Don’t let yourself go

‘Cause everybody cries

And everybody hurts sometimes

 

Whether it’s been a demanding day at work or home, life can definitely become overwhelming. You’ve been there, right? Those days can feel like an eternity of emotional pain going on in just one day and all you want is for it to end and for tomorrow to come. Yet, there are things that you can do to help you get through those hard days. If you’re looking for something to help you get through a very stressful day, here are a few self-care techniques that are easy to do.

Try Mindfulness

Mindfulness might seem like a trendy concept. However, studies show that thinking positively and calmly completely reframes your experience. It’s been said that it’s best to “change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” The core of this practice is all about becoming still and allowing your thoughts to come and go without allowing self-judgment.

After all, we are constantly judging ourselves for every little mishap that we do and constantly beating ourselves up over such things. Because of this, self-forgiveness is useful during hard days. It reminds you that you’ve done your best, no matter what, and that that is good enough.

Indulge Your Senses

This technique is particularly grounding. It gets you back into your body if it seems like you’re trying to focus on a hundred things at once. Get touchy-feely with a cuddly sweater or a soft pillow for the ultimate in relaxation. Smell your “signature scent” perfume or cologne, listen to your favorite bands, or head to the kitchen and make a snack. (It’s called “comfort food” for a reason!) If there’s a TV show or movie that you always reach for, hit the play button and escape for a while.

Pick up a Hobby

Having a hobby gets your hands busy and gives you something new to focus on. Plus, the opportunities are limitless! Paint, make something like applique embroidery designs, learn a language, compose some music…the list goes on. Enjoying the creative process is also incredibly satisfying because you often have a product at the end to be proud of.

Go to a Yoga Class

You might feel bent out of shape from what life has thrown at you today. Try bending into productive shapes instead! Yoga has numerous, scientifically-proven health benefits. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, and also helps you sleep better at night. That’s some pretty sweet relief.

Call a Loved One

This can be a friend or family member—anyone you trust to discuss your problems with you. Sometimes, you just have to vent! Talking to this confidante brings your issues into the open so you don’t have to internalize them anymore. It’s also useful to get an alternate perspective that can provide creative solutions to your struggles.

Spend time collecting the things that make you happy. This gets you prepared to rely on them when hard times hit. Above all, remember to be gentle with yourself: your life is so much richer than what anyone difficult day can try to ruin.

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