150 Things to Try When You’re Depressed

Table of Contents

It’s not easy to make decisions when you’re depressed, and even harder to put them into action. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Chose one (only one) and put it on a calendar with a specific time and place that you’ll do it.


Take a warm bubble bath

Schedule time to do nothing

Practice breathing slowly

Practice mindfulness

Go buy an ice cream cone

Walk in the rain

Think about things what you’ve accomplished

Sit by a warm fire

Eat a strawberry

Walk barefoot on soft cool grass

Eat a slice of fresh-baked bread

Find a quiet place to sit outside and enjoy nature

Make a list of things you are thankful for

Sit in a coffeehouse and read

Have breakfast in bed

Buy yourself a rose

Walk on a scenic path in a park

Drink some hot cocoa, tea, or cider

Write in your journal

Pet a friendly dog or cat

Have a manicure or pedicure

Stop and smell some flowers

Think about finishing school  

Try a food you’ve never tasted

Wake up early and watch the sunrise

Watch the sunset

Relax with a good book or soothing music

Play your favorite music and dance to it by yourself

Go to bed early

Sleep outside under the stars

Fix a special dinner just for yourself

Go for a walk

Light candles

Sing or whistle around the house


Take a sauna



Give yourself more time than you need to accomplish whatever you’re doing

Get a massage

Take a cozy nap

Listen to your favorite CD

Get a facial

Paint your nails

Overcoming Depression has more ways to get active when your mood is low


Go see a film or show

Go to a pet store and play with the animals

Visit a zoo

Visit a town you’ve never been to

Explore a new hobby

Go rent a funny video

Go out to your favorite restaurant

Go to the beach

Take a scenic drive

Buy new clothes

Browse in a book or record store for as long as you want

Buy yourself something special that you can afford

Go to the park—feed the ducks, swing on the swings, and go down the slide

Visit a museum or another interesting place

Work on a puzzle book or adult coloring book

Go dancing

Research your family tree

Read a book

Go bowling or skating

Go shopping

Start an aquarium

Go to a sporting event

Learn a magic trick

Go fishing

Play cards

Bake cookies

Take some pictures

Plan a day trip

Throw snowballs

Learn to needlepoint

Go swimming

Watch a ballet

Read or memorize a poem

Listen to a symphony

Read a story curled up in bed

Look at a work of art

Do something you’ve never done before

Feed the birds

Go on a picnic

Take a different route to work

Play solitaire

Window shop on your favorite street

Play a board game

Learn to sail, canoe, or ride horses

Do a crossword puzzle

Shoot pool

Plan an easy, restful vacation

Listen to books on tape

Go out to your favorite restaurant

Look through travel brochures and dream

Visit your local library and browse the shelves

Take pictures of your family

Write your life story

Plan a hike or camping trip

Read magazines or newspapers


Call a good friend or several good friends

Play in intramural sports

Go to church or a prayer group

E-mail a friend


Practice listening to others

Plan a surprise birthday party

Meet new people

Join or start a book club

Plan lunch with a friend

Go on a date or spend time alone with your partner

Make a gift for family or a friend

Watch children play

Do volunteer work

Get involved in a club

Teach a child to fly a kite

Take acting lessons

Say something nice to someone

Play with a toddler or baby

Write a note to a far-away friend

Freely praise other people

Tell a friend how much you appreciate them

Constructive Ideas


Work in a garden

Clean your room

Write a poem

Wash your car

Reorganize your room

Plant a tree

Decorate your room

Work on your car

Clean out one closet

Learn to draw

Clean something

Get to work early

Try a new, easy recipe

Organize your apps, bookmarks, or bookshelves

Practice a sport, karate, or yoga

Work on a photo album

Plan how to lose weight

Throw out old papers you no longer need

Gently stretch your muscles

Take a class in something that interests you

Read the Bible or a spiritual text

Plan your career

Plan how to save money or get out of debt

Recycle old items

Make plans for finishing school

Give things you don’t need to a charity

Complete a task (any task)

from Bipolar, Not So Much, by Chris Aiken and Jim Phelps

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