Live Through This

Let It Out

Our guide to stomping out stress, exorcising your demons and restoring your sanity after a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day … or week … or year.

Illustration by Cynthia

Let’s talk about bad days. Everybody has them. Maybe yours was caused by a series of seemingly minor events, like you got out of bed and stubbed your toe on your way to the bathroom, and after your eyes stopped watering, you noticed the biggest zit ever on the tip of your nose and spent so long trying to pop/cover it that you were almost late for school, but as it turned out, it actually would’ve been good if you’d missed your first class because you had to take a test you totally forgot about. After that, your whole day fell apart and you wanted to cry or scream, but you felt stupid about it because your reasons seem so trivial. They aren’t. If you feel bad, it’s a bad day.

Or maybe you have a big reason to be upset. Maybe you’ve been fighting with your parents or your best friend or your boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe you didn’t make a team or land the role you wanted in a play or get a good grade on a test even though you worked your butt off. Maybe someone you care about got hurt, or worse. Maybe a few of those things happened at once. Maybe your bad-luck streak has going on for a while now. A bad day became a bad week became a bad month and you’re starting to lose hope that it will ever get better.

During my junior year of high school, I could have been crowned the Queen of Bad Days. I did a lot of destructive things that I thought would make me feel better: smoking, drinking, getting high and cutting myself. They never worked. Sometimes I felt better in the moment, but later I would feel worse.

However, there were other things that actually helped to relieve the stress, sorrow or pure pissed-off-edness I was feeling, things that didn’t come back to haunt me. I started to keep track of these things so I could use them again. Since bad days can happen for a bunch of different reasons and you can’t predict what awful mood they are going to put you into, it’s important to develop an arsenal to use against them. Here’s a list of possibilities. It’s extra long so you have plenty of options and can choose according to your personal interests and whatever’s behind the icky mood you need to squash.

  • Crank up your favorite upbeat song and dance around your room to it. That song you used to choreograph dance routines to when you were younger is perfect for this. Bonus points if you sing into a hairbrush. You know you want to.
  • If that made you roll your eyes, this may be the better option for you today: crank up your favorite angry song and scream along with it. Head-banging helps a lot. So does foot-stomping and pretending you’re in a mosh pit.
  • Make a playlist that suits your mood. If you’re fighting with someone or coping with the end of a relationship, create the soundtrack to that relationship. Include the songs that make you miss them, the songs that make you angry at them and the songs that remind you why you’re fine without them.
  • After you’ve tinkered with that playlist till it’s perfect, listen to it repeatedly, preferably in a place where you can sing along, like the car or your room.
  • Go to a concert. Even if it’s a band you don’t know well or have never heard of, they may surprise you. A couple months ago, I went to see a random band and they came out banging metal garbage can lids together. The bad mood I’d been in for two weeks vanished instantly.
  • Make your own music. Pick up your favorite instrument and start playing—loud, soft, bad or awesome, it doesn’t matter. Or write lyrics and sing them.
  • Journal. Write a rant or the saddest letter ever. Put all your feelings on the page knowing you can be as pissed or whiny as you want because no one is going to see them but you. You can even burn the pages if it makes you feel better. Or you can save them to see how far you’ve come later.
  • Write really angsty poetry. Just, um, don’t turn it in for an English assignment or you’ll get sent to the guidance counselor. I know this from experience.
  • Write a story. Turn someone who wronged you into a zombie. Give yourself the most fabulous life you can imagine. Make your favorite celebrity fall in love with you. Live happily ever after in the city you’ve always wanted to move to.
  • Draw, paint, take photographs, get some clay and make something with it. Don’t worry about if it’s bad, just enjoy doing it.
  • Make a collage. This is one of the best things on earth because you get to cut things up and piece them together. After a horrible day in eighth grade, I spent the weekend cutting out pictures of my favorite rock stars, cool-looking outfits and silly ads from magazines and arranging them on the wall by my bed. I kept doing this when I was upset or even just bored, and by the time I graduated from high school, my whole room was a collage. It cheered me up whenever I went in there because that space was totally MINE.
  • Combine writing, drawing, photography and collaging to make a zine. If it’s something you’re willing to share with others, photocopy and distribute it. Look up other zinesters online on sites like this and see if they want to trade. I made new friends and pen pals this way in high school, and it felt good to know that even if people in my town didn’t get what I was going through, a girl in Pittsburgh or Minneapolis or L.A. did.
  • Do a tarot card reading or check your horoscope. There’s no way to predict your future with total accuracy, but this can help you get into a more positive mindset about what lies ahead. Also, interpreting tarot cards allows you to tap into your subconscious, look at your situation in a fresh way and make new insights.
  • Cleaning your room can help, too. Or totally messing it up. Or rearranging all of your furniture and making plans to redecorate it. Scope out new curtains or sheets or a new color of paint online and start saving for them.
  • You can also window shop or browse online for new clothes, shoes, books, music, etc. Make a wishlist and a savings plan. Or, if you have been saving, treat yourself to something you’ve wanted for a while.
  • If you’re broke, find a piece of clothing you really loved but haven’t worn lately for whatever reason (holes, too small, too big) and turn it into something new. This is very satisfying in the same way as collaging, plus you get something new for free or next to nothing. Look up D.I.Y. clothing guides and get crafty! You can make accessories on the cheap, too. Some good sites for inspiration: P.S. I Made This, Cut Out + Keep, Instructables, Threadbanger, The Fashion Press.
  • Give yourself a makeover. If you don’t normally wear much makeup, go all out. Put on that funky lipstick shade you bought but never wear. Look up YouTube videos on eye makeup techniques and try them. (Rookie’s own Hannah shares some smoky-eye secrets here.)
  • If you wear makeup religiously, take it all off and go fresh-faced.
  • Make your bathroom into an at-home spa. Get one of those clay facial masks and laugh at how you look with that greenish-gray stuff all over your skin. Give yourself a mani/pedi. Don’t worry if you paint outside the lines, I always do. Or really take your time and be precise and perfect.
  • Dye your hair. Yeah, it’s more extreme, and depending on the dye, more permanent than painting your nails, but sometimes we need extreme. Hell, chop off your hair or shave your head if you want. It grows back.
  • Look at old pictures of yourself for inspiration or nostalgia, or to see how far you’ve come. Rereading old journals is good too.
  • Purge your closet. Get rid of the things you don’t need or want anymore.
  • Donate your clothes to Goodwill or a similar organization. You can also donate food to a local food pantry, old toys and books to a shelter or children’s charity. Give yourself and someone else a fresh start.
  • Time is another great thing to donate. During my hellish junior year, I started volunteering at a domestic-violence agency. I did everything from sorting holiday gifts for families in need to organizing the office to working with the Saturday morning kids’ group. It put my problems in perspective and gave my life a sense of purpose and direction. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen or an animal shelter, find a program where you read to people who can’t, or help children or the elderly. There are many people to help in many different ways—choose something that best fits your skills and interests.
  • Get politically active. Maybe what is upsetting you is part of a larger world issue, or maybe you just want to channel negative energy into something positive and create change. People were spreading rumors about me and calling me a slut at the end of my sophomore year, so I started reading about feminism and found a group of like-minded girls in my area. We organized the Midwest Girl Fest, a weekend that celebrated girl power. It helped me heal, and I felt like I was making a difference in the world. Call a local politician to speak out on an issue that you care about, plan a march or make a website for an organization whose work you support.
  • Get physically active. It’s scientifically proven to make you feel better. Go for a walk or a run. Walking in the rain can be really soothing, and running to that playlist you made will feel good, too. Have you always wanted to try yoga or Pilates or martial arts or boxing? A lot of places offer free introductory classes, so check around. Bust out your skateboard and visit the skate park. Round up some friends for a kickball, softball or basketball game.
  • Go to your neighborhood playground or the one at your old elementary school and swing, go down the slide and use the monkey bars.
  • Play with a younger sibling, cousin or neighbor. They’d be happy to go to the park with you. Or you can break out an old favorite board game or video game and teach them to play. They won’t judge you for being childish or nostalgic, and sometimes there is nothing better than making a little kid smile.
  • Pets make fabulous playmates, too. Take your dog to the park, find your cat’s favorite toy, or just sit and pet or brush them.
  • Reread a favorite book or watch your favorite movie or TV show for the millionth time. Indulge in trashy magazines, bad TV or a movie that’s so incredibly stupid but makes you laugh your butt off. Do NOT feel guilty spending an entire day or even an entire weekend being lazy and watching a full season of that show you’ve been meaning to check out. As an overachiever/perfectionist, I struggle with this, but when you’ve been really stressed, you deserve some serious unwinding time.
  • Nothing goes better with a lazy day than junk food, so indulge in that, too. Cooking or baking for yourself is great because you get so focused on the recipe and the mouth-watering smells that you can’t think about anything else. And there’s a tasty reward at the end. You can make something as easy as mac & cheese from the box, or flip through cookbooks and find a new recipe that sounds challenging and delicious.
  • Invite a friend over to enjoy your lazy day with you. A lot of these activities are things that can be done alone, because sometimes we need our space when we’re in a funk. But at other times being alone makes it worse. So call that friend you know you can just sit and veg with, the one who won’t make you talk unless you want to.
  • Or call the really fun friend who will do the makeovers, play the games, make collages, tell a bunch of funny stories and bake (and probably burn) the brownies, and have a slumber party or an all-day extravaganza of silliness with them.
  • Or call the listener, the one who will let you vent and cry and yell if you need to. The friend who will say the right things whether it’s exactly what you want to hear or the tough, honest advice that you don’t want to take, but know you need to think about.
  • I’m gonna get serious for a moment because I joked about the guidance counselor earlier, but sometimes you really need to talk. You may not want to, but in the long run it might be the only way to get through a difficult situation. So find someone you really trust and reach out. In my case it was my best friend, but eventually I found a really nice therapist, too. There’s absolutely no shame in that.
  • There is also no shame in having a serious cry. Wail at the top of your lungs. Sob until there are no more tears and you don’t want to cry anymore. Sometimes I like to bury my face in a pillow and just scream into it. Then I like to throw that pillow and my other pillows and stuffed animals across the room while screeching like a banshee.
  • Break stuff. Sometimes you just need to, but try to do it carefully. Don’t break anything that you’re going to regret wrecking later or that’s going to cause trouble at home. But you can buy some cheap glassware at the thrift store and smash it in the basement or on the concrete in the backyard. Just make sure to clean it up so your little sister or your dog doesn’t get hurt. I had this really evil boyfriend who gave me a couple of CDs and a doll. Part of my healing process was to put on my boots and stomp on them until they shattered into little tiny pieces.
  • Take a long shower or a bubble bath.
  • Burn some incense or a fragrant candle and meditate or daydream.
  • Masturbate. It gives you a nice endorphin rush that can combat stress, tension and, in some cases, even headaches and PMS symptoms. Plus it can help with the next item on this list.
  • To quote a Hole song, “Just relax, just relax, just go to sleep.” Sometimes you’re so emotionally drained that you just have to. Sometimes a nap is all you need. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, maybe even inspired by a good dream. And if you don’t, that’s OK. Skim this list again and try something else from it that sounds like it fits your mood, or do something that this list helped you think of. Rinse and repeat. Do it until you feel better and come back to this whenever you need to. ♦


  • Harriet September 7th, 2011 3:19 PM

    Wow, that really helped :) Thank you Stephanie, I’m going to go and cure my bad day with a bubble bath and scented candles. xxxx

  • Sunshine September 7th, 2011 3:23 PM

    This guide is absolutely amazing. I love all the ideas, especially the ones pertaining to music! Songs really do help. (I’m in love with a particular Taylor Swift song “Tied Together with a Smile”) It ALWAYS helps me get through my day.

    Another thing – if it’s raining outside and the weather is hideous, go outside and dance in it. Laugh like a crazy person – who cares? Cry into the wind, whatever. Oooh, and take photographs. Some of the coolest nature shots came from when I was having a crappy day.

  • Alicia September 7th, 2011 3:26 PM

    This list is perfect. Whenever I’m feeling upset or bored next I’m going to go to it for advice. Thank you :)

  • Cosmo Beatrix September 7th, 2011 3:29 PM

    All of these points are so useful. My usual bad day/week routine would be: Cry. my. heart out. Scrawl the ‘i hate my life’ journal entry with extra ‘fuckings’. 2. i watch my favourite film, that no no doubt makes me feel better. 3. i cry my heart out again when remember how shit my life is. 3. I scrawl a ‘god all my friends have it better than me i can’t even speak to them’ .. and cry. 4. Then i put my hair up and wash my face to feel fresh. 5. Write a, ‘this is it. I’m going to sort my life out’ and write goals i have to achieve and tips to myself. 6. Then go for a walk or buy an expensive magazine or start a new book to make me feel like a new person! Works every time, x

  • Tyknos93 September 7th, 2011 3:32 PM

    I may never have a bad day again….

  • Anjelica September 7th, 2011 3:35 PM

    aw man, I just want to bottle this article up and keep it in my pocket! Really perfect!

  • Muffinbites September 7th, 2011 3:42 PM

    I have an
    Obsessive psycho ex boyfriend who wjll
    Not stop invading my life for the past few
    Months and ive been having to deal
    With a lot of BS lately with other things too. I have done a lot of stuff on this list already and im so happy to see new good
    Ideas. Also, try stretching while listening to music.. Super relaxing. Go get frozen
    Yogurt and put an insane amount of
    Tooppings. Order pizza late at night. Call friends that you miss. Play the same
    Song over and over and over again. Look at the stars while sitting on the roof. Download new music.

  • enfantterrible September 7th, 2011 3:45 PM

    I love love love love love love this!


    (but my bad-month-problem is not having time to do anything. this is so disgusting!)

    the next time I’ll feel sad I’ll start doing a zine <3


  • Marguerite September 7th, 2011 3:50 PM

    Totally True!! I love playing squash cuz i can just let all my anger out on the ball and i feel great and energized after :)

  • Jenny September 7th, 2011 3:51 PM

    Oh Stephanie! I’m so happy this list exists. I wish I had been cool & thoughtful enough when I was a teenager to take my angst and sadness somewhere more productive.

  • L September 7th, 2011 3:55 PM

    I tend to think that having some kind of ritual really helps when things get tough. Like, having a specific mug to drink tea in while curling up in a specific blanket and watching, I don’t know, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset back to back for the 3 millionth time. Because going back to some familiar indulgent activity feels like a treat, like yes, I had a terrible day, and I get to do this thing that I really like and don’t normally get to do. Something about just deciding something is therapeutic really makes it feel that way. I do the same kind of thing when I get sick too. Also, one of my number one crap day remedies my first year of college used to be watching taped Brini Maxwell episodes on the style network with my roommate, back before it changed into whatever the hell it is now. I miss that!

  • Nancy September 7th, 2011 3:58 PM

    I love how this list lists the conventional stuff you usually find in “Combat Stress!” articles in teen magazines (take a bubble bath, take a walk, etc.), but also lists stuff that you don’t normally find (masturbate, break stuff, etc.). I also like that it acknowledges that it’s okay to be an emotional wreck sometimes, whereas these kind of articles usually have a veneer of “Don’t worry, be happy!”. Thank you.

  • bluesless September 7th, 2011 3:58 PM

    I love rookiemag so much. just he mag i needed ! really, just perfect, thaaaaanks u so much. (i’m french, so sorry for my 3 years old english) ♥

  • summerness September 7th, 2011 4:01 PM

    I’d like to thank Rookie Mag for not making masturbation into something dirty and secret. Already, Rookie is doing great things for young women in its first week!

  • EveyMarrie September 7th, 2011 4:12 PM

    I adore this so much. I love all these options.

    Back in freshman year, I was having THE WORST switch from junior high to high school. Junior high never prepared me for high school. While everyone transitioned seamlessly, I was bombing classes and had added pressures from my parents. It caused me to self harm as my only form of relief, but not in an obvious way. Ice cube + salt + pressed to the skin = perfect bruise that you could say you gotten from any situation. (I was in Tae Kwon Do, so I’d say I got punched or kicked too hard somewhere).

    And I was constantly made fun of for being supposedly “emo”, “goth”, whatever (even though I wore colors, my friends wore the black) and got called ugly a bunch. So plus the self harm, I had a journal that I dedicated all of my self-hatred and loathing of everyone, but it didn’t make me feel better, it made me feel worse.

    Once I grew out of the self hate, I looked back at the journal and couldn’t believe all the nasty things I thought about myself and others. When I feel like hating myself, I look back at the notebook and realize,”I went through this shit before and I know none of this is true.” And I feel all better again :)

    Anywhoodle, totally killer article :D haha
    Keep up the great work peeps <3

  • irenita pinkland September 7th, 2011 4:14 PM

    Wow girl! This is good! I had a laugh and I must say it is better than all the advices I’ve got from 6 different shrinks.
    I have been in treatment for 5 years because of a borderline personality disorder, so yeah! There are bad days, but in my case… I used to see days worse than they were and I used to get really mad, and also was kind of addicted to dangerous behaviours… Because I had a rush doing those things (cutting myself, stealing in shops, trying drugs, breaking car-windows or having sex with strangers) and I thought that was the only way to let anger out.
    But no.
    I’m glad to say that now I am recovered, and it’s been thanks to some things I realized were a healthy-rush.
    I already do most of the things you write here. For me, art (in every of its ways) is the best medicine. I started playing sax, producing my own radio on line, I also started with painting and photo… My kitty has been my best carer. And now is very easy to see me dancing like a maniac to cindy lauper. Yes music is like a miracle. Every time I’m down at work, my boss turns up the ipod and plays “in the sun” by she&him and I still can’t believe how a song can change my mood so magically.
    Well… THANKS for writing this, I bet a lot of people need to learn good ways to kill bad mood, pity or anger.
    Thank you

  • darksideoftherainbow September 7th, 2011 4:16 PM

    i LOVED this article! when i’m sad i try to listen to a song that i find sexy, like babe i’m gonna leave you OR i like to watch the video of daisy lowe dancing for i think it was esquire (it’s on youtube) and dancing along with her…it helps me a lot to get that angry energy out. awesome job! <3

  • Marie September 7th, 2011 4:25 PM

    Stephanie this list is PERFECT!! And helpful for us girls of any age!! So awesome!!

  • OrangeSunrise September 7th, 2011 4:28 PM

    Thank you for the wonderful advice!
    I am currently fighting with a -used to be- best friend, and it is really stressing me out. Even if I can’t solve the problem, with this help, I can temporarily make it disappear.

  • Dylan September 7th, 2011 4:29 PM

    Already saving this list for a rainy day. And by rainy day, I mean one of those days where it just rains shit on your life.

  • Illusen September 7th, 2011 4:40 PM

    I always write in my diary when i am mad or sad and it always helps a lot, half way trough the text I start a different subject and forget the reason i was sad or mad in the first place. This is a great list, i am always going to check this out when i feel sad or maybe during the exams so i can relax when i feel more nervous.

  • bev rage September 7th, 2011 4:41 PM

    In my sophomore year of high school, I din’t have a bad day or week or month, I had a bad semester. And the capper of it all was the sneaky feeling I had brought it all on myself.

    A friend gave me some tarot cards for Christmas, and I devoured them. I gave myself a reading every single night, and wrote down all the “answers” (they’re not really answers… insights?) I got into a journal.

    The point of tarot, I think, is not to tell your future, but to tell you your present, and like Cynthia says, get you to meditate and reflect on yourself in a positive way. And it doesn’t help that the mental preparation for a reading is quite meditative. I can’t recommend it enough.

  • Anna F. September 7th, 2011 4:48 PM

    I would like to second the “don’t be afraid to seek professional help” tip. I went through a pretty severe depression in high school and dealt with it in some self destructive ways, but I was terrified to talk to anybody about it. The reason why? Myspace was getting popular and the Hot Topic emo had just become a thing, and I was worried that people would see me as a cliche or following a trend.

    On a happier note, one thing I like to do when I’m stressed is find out different ways to cheer up strangers. Write sweet notes on slips of paper and stick them between pages of library books or in the pockets of clothing at thrift stores. A few months ago, my roommate and I made these signs and posted them up around the neighbourhood:

    And speaking of libraries, GET TO KNOW YOURS. Most public ones have a wide selection of dvds. Find a weird artsy subtitled one – and before you watch it, put on your nicest clothes and drink gingerale out of a champagne glass and pretend you are fancy. Or find a terrible romantic comedy, invite your best friend over, put it on mute, and make up your own dialogue to go along with it.
    Other things you can find at libraries: all your favourite books from when you were a kid, travel books to plan a dream destination, cookbooks to try and challenge yourself in the kitchen, all those classics that you’ve been meaning to read. Plus, it’s all free, which is nice.

  • Minella September 7th, 2011 4:51 PM

    That first one is definetly the best! ‘Blister in the Sun’ by the Violent Femmes always makes me feel better and it’s perfect to dance to

  • stephaniejean September 7th, 2011 4:59 PM

    when I was in high school I would watch Anne of Green Gables on vhs whenever I felt like crap; it was my favorite childhood book/movie. I had to buy it on dvd recently because even though I’m 25 now, I still need Anne to help me get through particularly awful times… or Jonah days as she would say!

    what a wonderful list and useful even for twenty-somethings! I wish a site like this would have been around when I was a teenager. I would have felt less alone and lost.

  • Sonja September 7th, 2011 5:00 PM

    This list is extensive! Amazing, Stephanie. I cant stress enough the importance of putting it all down on paper…”Combine writing, drawing, photography and collaging to make a zine”. This is what i did in my early, early 20s (i’m a late bloomer) and i photocopied this work (ta da! a zine) and mailed these to those i felt a kinship with (writers, artists, musicians et al). I cant tell you the magic that came from this act. Lifelong connections and friends. Eventually this work was published and I am still making books. I found my calling this way. You never know how things will unfold! xoxo

  • Anna F. September 7th, 2011 5:04 PM

    also POST CARDS. Post cards are the best. They are cheap to mail and you can make them yourself. Send them to your friends for no special reason – it will totally surprise them. It doesn’t matter if they live in the same city (or even neighbourhood!) as you.

  • kate September 7th, 2011 5:24 PM

    ahh great list!

  • WitchesRave September 7th, 2011 5:31 PM

    Violet by Hole, in your bedroom, in the dark, with loads of candles = Best Stress Reliever Ever

  • Mohawka September 7th, 2011 5:44 PM

    First I just want to declare that this website is making my life better. I’m loving all the posts so far! I willlllll mos def be coming back to this list when I need it. I’m a fan of scream to loud angry music. Gets out all my anger and frustration. Makes me feel alive.

  • Kacela September 7th, 2011 5:47 PM

    I love this advice! When I get mad or sad I would usually write in a diary, listen to music, or avoid everybody (so I don’t get them mad because they don’t know the reason I ammad.) So now I have this list to go to and try since those bad moods always come one way or another.

    How do I get rid of a bad mood on the go like at scholl or at the mall??

  • Gracie September 7th, 2011 6:03 PM

    This site is actually making me so happy it’s bringing a tear to my eye… It’s like it more than just a magazine, it’s group of amazing, inspiring individuals coming together to tell stories that make us laugh and give us advise that makes sense. Thank you all for making such a wonderful thing and please keep on bringing a smile to our faces :)

  • unicorn September 7th, 2011 6:07 PM

    regarding music…for some reason, the best way to cheer me up is to listen to all the top forty cliche girl power songs, turn up the volume really high, and just sing the lyrics at the top of my lungs while bouncing around my room, then hysterically laugh/cry on my bed while my dog looks at me like “shes finally lost it.”
    and then curl up in a ball on my bed and go to sleep.

  • natasha September 7th, 2011 6:12 PM

    This list is great.
    Next step would be to actually do something on it.
    But I know I won’t. The things you said about your junior year in highschool describe me best. I just can’t get out of this cycle. I don’t know why there’s such a block but there is.

  • Abby September 7th, 2011 6:17 PM

    This is so great. Love it!

  • Dani September 7th, 2011 6:22 PM

    Since I live on the west coast I just got home from a horrible day at school. Reading this right now made my day 10x better already haha

  • Rita Unicornia September 7th, 2011 6:22 PM

    That helps a lot… And now every time my day goes bad I’ll dance to Wannabe by Spice Girls… How strange is that? I don’t care… I’m feeling alright! ROOKIE ROCKS!

  • Stephanie September 7th, 2011 6:37 PM

    I’m glad this is proving to be so helpful to so many of you and I really like all the suggestions that people are adding!

    Sunshine, your whole dancing in the rain, screaming into the wind thing is super awesome!

    Cosmo, your routine totally makes sense to me. It’s good to go through all the emotions and cry plenty to get it out of your system and then move into the phase where you are writing goals and feeling like a new person.

    L, I totally agree. Im all about routine when I’m down

    Anna, I adore your idea of leaving little notes to cheer up strangers and also of sending postcards, I love postcards!

    Kacela, that is a great question of how to shake a bad mood when you are on the go. Its one of the reasons I always carry my iPod and journal with me, so I can listen to the right music or write things down. But worse comes to worse when I need cheering up, I do always have my phone on me at least so I can call someone who will make me laugh or look at pictures of my kitties and friends. Do other people have on the go suggestions? I love the way this is becoming like a collaboration. It is exactly what I hoped for because man like a lot of you mentioned I had it really rough pretty much all through junior high and high school. Trouble with friends, boyfriends and just not liking myself. I hope something on this list will help each of you.

    Natasha, I definitely know the cycle you are stuck in way too well. For you, girl, I say try the one where you go to the park. Something about sitting on a swing really shakes it loose for me!

  • iWantLovely September 7th, 2011 6:44 PM

    Now I want to have a bad day so I have an excuse to do more of these things instead of homework… but instead I’m going to go read for class.

    Oh wait! That class is social world! And I have it tomorrow! Which means that tomorrow is going to be a bad day! So I’ll have an excuse! YAY!! ;)


  • AmandaLouiseHobba September 7th, 2011 7:29 PM

    Yet another very enjoyable article! I so love your writing and the content of what you have to write about as well.
    I particularly like crafty and cooking ideas – two of my favourite things besides reading and writing.
    Something I have begun to do in my life – and something i have begun to blog about – is to make small, achievable goals, or even on-going goals with smaller sub-goals/objectives. It is amazing how good you feel when you achieve something you set out to achieve.
    Also reflecting on goals you have achieved in the past can be a great source of encouragement – especially if you are like me and are notorious for self-doubt and have a nack for never finishing anything.

  • Fiona September 7th, 2011 7:50 PM

    This is really, really good advice. Especially because I used to struggle with self harm problems and finding other things to do besides turning the pain in on myself is a huge step towards recovery.

    I like to go in my garage, turn on “Miss World” by Hole, and BREAK SOME GLASSWARE. Just be careful and clean up afterwards. Smashing things is the best form of relief I have found from stress and sadness. When my friend K still lived in my town I would go over to her house any time I was sad and sit on her couch. We would watch bad TV and eat cake directly out of the pan. That’s also a big help, finding supportive people to eat dessert with.


  • airheads September 7th, 2011 8:39 PM

    This is amazing. AMAZING. I wish I had this list when I was 14, but it’s definitely better late than never.

    Also, thanks for the link to the We Make Zines site! I’ve been making zines for years, yet I’ve never seen this site before. I’m so excited about it!

  • Anaheed September 7th, 2011 8:48 PM

    ANNA!!! FREE JOKES is amazing. I’m gonna steal it, look out!

  • Maimiae September 7th, 2011 8:54 PM

    I needed this soo much. You r amazing

  • Macamera September 7th, 2011 9:13 PM

    This is a wonderful wonderful wonderful and …. wonderful article.

    I have been having currents of bad days due to a rather heart breaking breaking-up. And one of the most genuine things one can read is an honest story about feeling like minded.

    I am going to get all up in these suggestions and forward this article to a bunch of friends and my little sister who is going through highschool right now. Its tough growing up, growing older or growing at all.


  • Shweta September 7th, 2011 9:50 PM

    This is so amazing I really needed this for those bad days :)

  • MichyMich September 7th, 2011 9:59 PM

    Rookie mag, you RULE!! “Let It Out” really made my day!!

    I remember that I did have to suffer the WORST bad days of my life. To me, the worst bad day was AP exam week in Junior year.

    During AP exam week, I had to study for my AP art history exam and there was also a boatload of homework from my English class. I couldn’t handle the amount of stress since it took me away from spending time with my friends, enjoying my life and the worst part is….forgetting my homework for other classes (i.e. math). Getting stressed got to a point when I had to visit my psychologist at school.

    During the visit with the psych, I CRIED my EYES out and confessed to him about EVERYTHING. Thankfully, that catharsis of crying my eyes out really helped me to vent my stress and anger.

  • hannah September 7th, 2011 10:56 PM

    next time I feel stressed in class, I’ll be sure to start jerking off. Thanks rookie!

  • Olivia Todd September 7th, 2011 11:00 PM

    I’ve been trying to get a plate-breaking room at my office for months now. Every time I mention it, co-workers are like, YES! I NEEDED THAT YESTERDAY. (at the other end of the spectrum – nap room)

  • Bean September 7th, 2011 11:13 PM

    Oh, Stephanie, I love how you always put music in as the first thing. Your book playlists are always awesome and ever so perfect. But I also like that you know from experience that turning in angsty writing is a bad idea. Haha. But my favorite thing to do when I’m mad about something or whatever (and it’s most effective if I’m wearing my almost knee high doc martens) is just to stomp somewhere because usually I get irritated while I’m at school or whatever and stomping down the hallway and up the stairs isn’t just oddly soothing but it also makes people move a little further away from you when they see you coming. I don’t really enjoy the general public so this is a good thing to me.

  • insteadofanelephant September 7th, 2011 11:27 PM

    wow i really, really needed to read this. my whole week has just been hell. thanks, yo! this was very helpful

    instead of an elephant

  • gingerblackie September 7th, 2011 11:28 PM

    Just . . . thank you so much!

  • HZurowsk September 8th, 2011 12:09 AM

    My life is complete.

  • KevinAndrew September 8th, 2011 1:19 AM

    WoW. This is amazing and sooo helpful. I love it. Thank You So much. Please Keep Writing!!!

  • samin93 September 8th, 2011 2:38 AM

    next time teach us how to control our emotions, too.

  • Naomi Morris September 8th, 2011 6:19 AM

    oh yes, i do most of these things! such a good list.

  • Izzy September 8th, 2011 11:21 AM

    This is a very, very, very good list. Dancing in the rain, screaming in the wind and smashing things to peices are my favorite things to do when I am angry and angsty. I love nature, it calms me down so. Plus I write the poetry too. Lots and lots of the poetry.

  • Rachael September 8th, 2011 11:35 AM

    Thank you so much for this! I’m bookmarking it for my next bad day.

  • Kelli September 8th, 2011 12:25 PM

    rather than breaking glassware (which can be expensive), throwing eggs into a dumpster or compost bin happens to be INCREDIBLY satisfying.

  • Rhiannon September 8th, 2011 1:45 PM

    I just discovered this website and it’s so inspiring!!! Also this list is amazing, it will be my number one bookmark to come back to all the time <3

  • julalondon September 8th, 2011 3:00 PM

    Thank you so much for that. Normally I dont like people telling me what to do when im having a bad time, -i just wanna be alone and good advices just make me angry. But your lovely article makes me smile and i just wanna put on some music and start doing stuff, just for myself.

  • stellar September 8th, 2011 3:54 PM

    this is great advice!! if u notice that something specific works for u (like yr favorite music), go for it!!!

  • OldBaggery September 8th, 2011 6:40 PM

    Another vote of thumbs up for the matter of fact masturbation mention. Go, team Rookie! Love that you are keepin’ it real here. Thank you!

  • saranev September 8th, 2011 7:11 PM

    Just what I needed today! I’ve found it’s often hard to get myself to WANT to do these things if I’m in a crappy mood, but knowing that these things DO help and I’m not the only one who needs stuff like this to get through a rough patch is really encouraging.

  • AineFey September 8th, 2011 7:20 PM

    I do many of those things already. I’ve been very depressed and stressed lately. It doesn’t take much to upset me when I’m already feeling down in general. So these are definitely great!

  • Yve September 8th, 2011 9:56 PM

    Even though I’m 27 now, I love Rookie. I guess either there’s something universal about being a teenager, or part of me is still 15. My bad-day tonic consists of a few special outfits in my closet. When I’ve had a particularly crappy day I come home and put on high heels and a 50′s-style, halter-neck swing dress and just walk around the house in an awesome outfit, sometimes with dancing but sometimes just wearing something awesome that I wouldn’t normally wear.

  • catshapedeyes September 9th, 2011 9:53 AM

    I’ll never ever ever ever ever feel down or depressed ever again. <3

  • RockHatesMiriam September 9th, 2011 10:45 AM

    I will reference this list whenever I have a bad day, thank you!! xx

  • Laurette September 9th, 2011 1:17 PM

    Great article! And also a good reminder that sometimes you just need to unwind in your own way, without being made feel guilty about it. So excited this site is finally up!

  • Margelo September 9th, 2011 2:29 PM

    this is great, i’m really into your blog, now this is totaly awesome! thanks sooooooo much rookie, you saved the day! xD

  • Paige September 9th, 2011 4:21 PM

    Loved this list! Just wanted to add that Spoken Word poetry is AMAZING for a good emotional release, especially after a bad day/week/month/year. Just started a poetry/writing class and my professor encourages us to write in whatever format we choose. I decided to tackle some spoken word and have been obsessed with it since. It’s like getting to read a really well-written, emotional journal entry to a bunch of people who aren’t afraid to connect with you. It’s the biggest rush stepping off stage while you’re shaking, in tears and everyone else in the audience is shouting and cheering you on.

  • Rhibarb September 9th, 2011 5:51 PM

    As cute as the “singing into a hairbursh” tips where, I’m very pleased about the “•There is also no shame in having a serious cry” and “Masterbate” ahaha! and I actally love you for those links to DIY sites!

  • Vetra September 9th, 2011 8:32 PM

    Hello, I’m from Indonesia, still new in this site like this site too, right?

    I found this article is the best for my bad day. Thank you Rookie !

  • 11thDimension September 10th, 2011 12:44 AM

    This is an amazing list. I’m actually going to bookmark it for every unfortunate day I have.

  • soybrain September 10th, 2011 11:41 AM

    awsome. when I’m pissed I plug in my guitar and play so loud it hurts. it’s really nice. then I can take out my anger on my amp instead of my wrists.

  • mtraptor September 11th, 2011 4:30 AM

    At 22 I’m not too far out of high school, but I really appreciate that masturbation was included as a stress relief technique. Even as early as junior high, I knew that I couldn’t be the only one of my friends who touched themself, but it reallly bugged me that we couldn’t even acknowledge it to each other!

    Also, I want to say that sometimes the worst days are the ones where you just feel like a blob and aren’t doing anything or communicating with anyone. For me, the best cure is just to do anything creative. The other night I tried to find friends to go out with, but it just wasn’t happening. I ended up sewing for 3 hours straight while listening to music, and it felt amazing. And anything can fit the bill- writing, drawing, practicing an instrument. It really makes the time go by and help to feel productive, even though it can be hard to get started.

  • annagracie September 11th, 2011 6:24 PM

    This list is absolutely great. I love Rookie so much, it’s just so funny and cool for me because EVERYTHING you guys post is completely relevant to me and my life as an angsty, music-obsessed, curious, vintage-loving, teenage girl. Love this, and love you guys.

  • Chimdi September 11th, 2011 11:30 PM

    I love making zines…but how I do I share them and stuff? none of my friends are into all that…

  • Anna F. September 12th, 2011 3:34 PM

    Chimdi – open an etsy store! Or, if you’re too nervous about selling them right away (totally fair), start a blog/tumblr to meet other zine-sters. Many people are up for doing trades.

    Depending on how big the city you live in is, there are probably independent bookstores who carry zines, music shows you can give them out at, or even small press fairs. I’ve met some incredibly wonderful people at these places.

    Of course, you don’t have to share your zine with anybody; I’ve made some that are total diaries/scrapbooks. Sometimes, I make one copy, and give it to a friend as a gift – you can really personalize them this way. Hopefully, once your friends see all your creative zine making endeavors, they might want to join in! Even if they think it’s uncool at first, sometimes all it takes is to see one other person start something creative. Be a trend setter in your group!

    If you’d like to do a trade or talk more, you can e-mail me at annaclaire.fitzpatrick @

  • Zan September 12th, 2011 5:50 PM

    Gotta love a magazine that doesn’t patronize girls or try to keep it PG at the expense of truth. Your hair WILL grow back, and masturbation is a great mood fixer.

  • Sparks September 12th, 2011 7:24 PM

    This is one of the most beautiful articles I’ve ever read. Although you are older now and this article is targeted mostly to teenagers, you consciously stop yourself from preaching and that is part of what makes this so great and honest.

  • Cherries April 23rd, 2012 7:58 PM

    “Write really angsty poetry. Just, um, don’t turn it in for an English assignment or you’ll get sent to the guidance counselor.”

    I kind of did this in an “autobiography” assignment in english class. My english teacher send me to go speak to the head of year to see if he needed to suspend anyone for me =P I was a good quiet student.

    People enjoyed my poetry though, the teacher would ask me repeatedly to read it out loud when he gave us assignments. If i declined then students would say “please! please!” *happyhappy*

    I’m working my way up to making a zine =) with collage, scanning things and illustration so thanks for the links =)

  • Anindita Adya April 7th, 2013 12:02 PM

    This was a nice article, and I can really relate to a lot that’s on it. I once went to my psych teacher’s office (she’s also one of the counsellors, though she mostly handled the younger kids) and raged and ranted (is that even a word?) and all that even though we didn’t actually come up with any solution per se. But it helped. A lot. Getting a third person’s views was refreshing.
    She said she’d be happy to listen but she couldn’t be my counsellor because as my teacher, she knew me personally and didn’t think she could be objective. And knowing someone completely, unexpectedly cared about me was really nice.

    I’m gonna add something to this list that I personally use a lot. Read. Read, read, read. Read some more. It doesn’t matter what you’re reading as long as it keeps you engaged. It’ll help you clear your mind, maybe whisk you away into a whole new world where you can drown yourself in someone else’s joys and sorrows, adventures and misadventures. It can also really put things into perspective for you. Plus, nothing wrong with a little more literary education – especially if you enjoy it!