Bad days happen to all of us from time to time. Odds are good you have plenty of family members and friends who have this experience at least occasionally. Odds are also good you’d like to know what you can do to help them when these bad days strike.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Steps for Writing an ‘Open When You’re Having a Bad Day’ Letter
- ‘Open When You’re Having a Bad Day’ Gift or Theme Ideas
- ‘Open When You’re Having a Bad Day’ Message Examples
Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to make someone’s day when they genuinely need it. One simple but effective gesture is to give them an “open on a bad day” letter. As the name implies, this isn’t a letter a person should open when you first give it to them. Instead, it’s a letter they’ll leave unopened until a day comes along when they need a pick-me-up.
The following guide will explain how to write such a letter. It also provides some basic ideas and examples of such letters, which you can use as references when writing your own.
Steps for Writing an ‘Open on a Bad Day’ Letter
Writing an “open on a bad day” letter is much easier when you follow these key steps. It’s worth noting these steps can also apply to almost any type of open when letter, such as an “open on your birthday” letter or “open when you graduate” letter.
1. Decide why someone might need this letter
Anyone can have a bad day. That means that anyone in your life could benefit from an “open on a bad day” letter.
However, for this type of letter to truly help someone cope with life’s difficulties, you must tailor it specifically to their needs. That’s why you should start by deciding what type of bad day the person you’re writing for is most likely to experience.
For instance, maybe you’re writing this type of letter for a romantic partner who is going to be living far away from you for an extended period of time. They might have a bad day when they miss you. Thus, your “open on a bad day” letter may feature a list of all the happy times you’ve already shared together, as well as a list of the happy experiences you can look forward to when you’re no longer apart.
That’s just one example. The main point to remember is that determining the reason why someone might have a bad day makes it easier to write your letter.
2. Make an outline
True, this might make the task of writing an “open on a bad day” letter seem like a high school writing assignment, but remember, you want to make sure this letter genuinely helps someone when they need it. It’s important that you include all the points and details that will help achieve this goal.
Making an outline before you actually write the letter will reduce your chances of accidentally overlooking a crucial detail that would’ve strengthened your letter. This process also gives you more time to brainstorm if you’re still not confident about what to write.
3. Consider other media
This step might technically be part of the outlining process. However, because it’s an easy step to forget, it’s worth having its own entry.
Don’t assume an “open on a bad day” letter needs to consist solely of text. Although that may be perfectly acceptable in some cases, there are also instances when it might make sense to include pictures, illustrations, and other non-text elements.
To return to the example above, if you wanted to care for someone from far away with a letter reminding them of the happy times you’ve shared, you might also want to include pictures of those times. This can add even more emotion to the text. If you’re feeling romantic, you could also add a dried flower.
4. Choose your stationery
The content of an “open on a bad day” letter may be what’s most important, but don’t skimp on the details!
Your recipient might appreciate the message even more if you write it on beautiful, unique stationery. Taking this extra step simply proves you genuinely cared about writing something meaningful and heartfelt.
5. Write, then revise
Once you’re happy with your outline, you can write the first draft of your letter. Depending on how you approach the writing process, you might use your first draft to get all your ideas out on the page. You can sort through them later during the revision process.
Regardless, even if you strive to write a perfect letter the first time, it’s still important to re-read it. First of all, you want to make sure you didn’t make any technical errors. They won’t ruin the letter, but they could give a recipient the impression that you wrote it carelessly.
You also want to make sure the letter authentically conveys the message you’re trying to share. If you feel comfortable doing so, you might even ask a close friend or family member to read the letter too before you give it to its intended recipient. Sometimes it can be difficult for anyone to objectively determine whether their writing has expressed the points they’re trying to get across.
‘Open on a Bad Day’ Gift or Theme Ideas
Just as following the steps described above makes writing this type of letter easier, so does choosing a specific theme or including a gift.
You could boost someone’s mood by including a few inspirational quotes in your “open on a bad day” letter.
You could also modify this idea by giving them a container with numerous slips of paper, each featuring such a quote. Whenever they’re having a bad day, they can simply reach into the container to grab a little motivation.
2. Small gifts
Another way to add some extra love to your letter is to include a small gift in the envelope that you believe will bring someone just a little bit of comfort on a tough day.
This might be a bag of their favorite tea, a gift card for a relaxing experience, or even a small piece of jewelry. Just make sure the gift is something that will stay intact until the recipient opens the letter!
3. Why you’re great
If you’re not sure what to say when someone’s having a bad day, it’s worth remembering that virtually all people enjoy hearing friends or family remind them of why they’re actually admirable.
Keep that in mind when you’re choosing a theme for an “open on a bad day” letter. Sometimes, the best way to cheer someone up is to simply write a letter listing the reasons you believe they’re a good person.
However, you need to try your hardest to be genuine and specific when writing your list. Writing “you’re kind” won’t have the same effect as describing a specific memory you have that illustrates a person’s kindness.
4. Animal pictures
Why not include some pictures with your letter? You might include them when writing to someone who loves animals. For many of us, looking at pictures of cute animals is enough to immediately stop a bad mood in its tracks.
This isn’t the type of “open on a bad day” letter theme that will appeal to everyone. If the person you’re writing for isn’t religious, this type of letter probably won’t appeal to them. However, if they are, you could help a friend or loved one get through a bad day by recommending a prayer or two.
‘Open on a Bad Day’ Message Examples
Here are just a few basic examples of an “open on a bad day” message. Keep them in mind if you ever write this type of letter.
Dear [recipient’s name],
If you’re reading this, it means you’re having a bad day. I’m so sorry. Naturally, I don’t know the circumstances, since I wrote this in the past, but I just want you to know I’m particularly sad to know you could ever have a bad day, simply because you’ve given me so many good ones.
For example, [share a specific story about a time when this person demonstrated their good qualities].
Anyway, because I don’t know the circumstances, I don’t know if I’m available at this exact moment, but if you even suspect I might be, feel free to get in touch. I’m always here for you because you’ve always been there for me.
Dear [romantic partner’s name],
Being away from each other this long isn’t fun. I miss you every single day. I’m assuming you’ve opened this letter because you miss me too. We probably miss each other so much because the time we spend together is always so incredible. Here’s a list of just some of my favorite memories with you:
[List specific experiences.]
Luckily, we won’t be apart forever. Just as we have so many happy memories from the past, we also have so many memories to look forward to, like:
[List experiences you and your romantic partner will share in the future.]
I can’t wait to see you again. Feel better, and definitely try to get in touch.
Dear [recipient’s name],
So, you’re having a bad day. I wish you weren’t. But, like me, I know you’ve always been the type of person to find strength in your faith during times like these. That’s why I’d like to recommend a couple of prayers that I think might bring you some comfort today.
[Share prayer recommendations.]
You’re a strong and faithful person who will get through this. Just remember that you’re never, ever alone, even when it feels like you are.
Open When You’re Having a Bad Day: Ideas to Consider
You can’t prevent your loved ones from ever having bad days. Fortunately, as these examples prove, you can help them feel a little bit better when bad days come along. Who would you consider writing this kind of letter for?