Some days I open my eyes and I know it’s not going to be a good day. I hurry out of bed as if I can leave the bad feelings on the pillow. I hear a familiar voice in my head, “Today, and maybe more days, are going to be bad.” At first I fight a mental battle, trying to convince myself that I’m ok. Lots of positive self-talk. But soon I wear down and feel the blackness take hold. My biggest fear is that the bad feelings will last and I’ll be trapped in fear again. But I’ve had enough bad days that I’ve bounced back from to know that the odds are on my side–I just have to get through this bad day.

Through the years, I have gathered tools for getting through bad days and I want you to have them too.

*Surround yourself with love whether that be a person or a pet. There is magic in cuddling your dog and stroking their heads. There is also good juju in hugging someone you like. Spending time with beloved pet or good friend is a great way to get you into a positive mindset.

*Ground yourself by noticing something with each of your five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, hearing).

*Listen to what you are telling yourself. Write it down. Refute the negative talk. For example, if you wrote, “I am weak.”, you can easily say that isn’t true. You are, in fact, very strong. So you need to turn this statement on its head. Listen for other falsehoods that you’re telling yourself. This task gets easier the more you practice.

*Think of three things that would make you feel better and do them. These can be small things, like drinking a cup of tea or watching your favorite program. Showing yourself compassion and doing things that typically make you happy can help you out of slump.

*Go outside. It helps you get out of your head to be in a different environment. There are all kinds of things to notice outside: birds, cars, people, trees. Sometimes I just sit and watch my backyard come to life.

*Exercise. Get those endorphins pumping and pump that negative crap right out.

*Read. Getting lost in a book is a great way to change your mindset.

*Color. I know I’m not the only adult that gets a thrill out of colored pens and pencils. And now there are coloring books specifically for adults.

*Journal. Get that nasty junk out of you and onto a page in your journal. You’ll be amazed at the insight you gain by writing down how you’re feeling.

*Call/text a friend. This can take a lot of courage, but it results in big rewards. Your friend will likely be glad to hear from you. Just making that connection can make you feel better.

Its a combination of these things that will help you through a bad day. And it won’t be the same things every time.

Something else that can help you on bad days is a Self Care Kit. You just need a container (like a shoebox) and some items that bring you comfort. Your favorite scent, a list of positive affirmations and quotes. This list of ideas for stopping a bad day. You can also include pictures of your favorite people, a journal and/or a piece of soft fabric that feels good to the touch.  For a free Self Care Plan, go to

My last bad day, I went outside several times. I grounded myself a lot. I wrote down my thoughts and negated them. I spent time with my dogs, my son and my husband. The most successful slam to bipolar disorder came when my son, husband and I were laughing at our dogs. It went on for at least five minutes and I felt so much better after laughing.

I know that bad days can be scary. But I hope this list helps you push through your fear to find the better day that’s waiting for you. I should add that sometimes nothing helps and that is dirty, mean depression. At these times, I tell myself, “Tomorrow will be better” and I continue to fight by using these tools.

What do you do to get yourself through a bad day?  What tools are in your toolkit?  Please tell me about them in the comments below.

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