Long winters have a way of transferring their dreariness onto our mental health. There are only so many days of cold wind and gray skies a person can take before most of us get a little moody! Thankfully, spring has sprung, and the days are getting longer, so let’s explore some mood-boosting activities to get the feel-good chemicals pumping and get over our winter funks!
The Best Activities to Kick Your Bad Mood
Whether you love an organized fitness class to get your endorphins up, time alone outside absorbing Vitamin D, or a good night out with loved ones to cheer your spirits with some… umm… spirits, you’ll find it on this ultimate list of mood-boosting activities. From nature lovers to bookworms, we’ve gathered something for everyone. Let’s get to it!
52 of the Best Mood-Boosting Activities
If you’re stuck on ideas of what to do to boost your mood, we’ve got the ultimate list of 52 options for you to choose from! Whether you’re having a night in with friends and family or are feeling more adventurous, we guarantee you’ll find something you love if you keep reading!
1. Spontaneous Scratch-Off Adventure
Adventures From Scratch is a trusted companion when in need of a good time. We’ve compiled three editions now, so whether you’re craving a romantic night with your partner, a good time with friends, or a wholesome day out with the whole family, you can find a plethora of appropriate adventures on our fun-filled pages. Each book contains more than 50 scratch-off activities that are focused on bonding and having a fantastic time. Just consult the key. Pick an adventure, scratch to reveal, and get moving. Our well-crafted, spontaneous adventures, will have you in a good mood in no time!
2. Sightseeing Scavenger Hunt
If you need a little pick-me-up today, download the Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt App and sign up for a rousing hunt in your city. You’ll explore all the best sights on a short walk filled with fun trivia and photo challenges. You can also choose to compete against previous hunters to capture the top spot on the city leaderboard. Our hunts are super informative, slightly competitive, and sure to keep you laughing, and we all know laughter is the best boot to kick those negative thoughts. We’ve got hunts in over 600 locations, so find one near you today!
3. Urban Art Walk
Nothing fires up the nervous system like contemplating a unique and intricate piece of art—especially if that art is sprawled across a gorgeous bridge. Admiring the best urban art gives you a chance to get some fresh air, get your steps in, and activate those neurotransmitters for a while. Check out our list of amazing art walks in cities all over the United States!
4. Planning A Trip
There is nothing more exciting than planning for your next vacation! Looking at beautiful images, hunting online for the hotel with the best view, shopping for new trip clothes, and filling in the itinerary with every amazing tourist attraction within a 100-mile radius—it just feels good! In some ways, planning for your next vacation is as good for your well-being as actually going on it. Just looking forward to a break gets the happy hormone, dopamine, flowing and puts you in an instantly positive mood.
5. Nature Walk
Vitamin D, physical activity, fresh air, deep breathing, the beauty of nature…’ nough said!
6. Cold Water Swim
Want the benefits of aerobic exercise without all that terrible running? Just hop in a really cold river, lake, or ice bath. Cold-water swimming is basically a controlled induction of pain that increases cortisol levels and then releases a massive dump of endorphins, giving you that euphoric feeling. Just beware, some swimmers experience a rebound of symptoms that feel a bit like anxiety after their first few swims, as the body tries to get the core temperature back up. It would be wise to consult your doctor before starting this regimen.
7. Game Night
A night of board games with friends is sure to induce some friendly competition, a little smack talk, and a lot of laughter. It might be just what you need to shake off those negative feelings.
8. Family Member Phone Call
Sometimes just the sound of a soothing voice on the other end of the line can have mood-boosting benefits. Multiple neurological studies, including one by Stanford University, have indicated that the reward processing and emotion regions of our brains are highly activated when hearing our mother’s voice. While your mom may or may not be available, think of whoever that person is that brings the most calmness, the most peace, to your life, and call them. Maybe it’s mom, grandma, your best friend, or a sibling. Whoever it is, pick up the phone and hear their voice.
9. Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets offer a plethora of healthy mood-boosting foods, a chance to enjoy local crafts, and the opportunity to get outside, which can all help send the blues packing!
10. Orchard Visit
Similarly, a visit to the orchard often allows you to pick your own fresh fruit, take a long walk in a beautiful environment, and fill your refrigerator with mood-boosting goodies.
11. Petting Zoo
Animals bring joy. It’s a fact, and petting zoos have tons of animals—baby animals at that! We don’t know anyone who isn’t happy while petting a baby goat or a cuddly sheep.
12. Volunteer Day
One of the best ways to get out of a funk is to focus on something that gives you purpose. Getting your eyes off your own situation and looking towards the needs of someone else or your community can be an excellent form of self-care. Find something you feel passionate about, and make it happen. This could be helping with a litter pickup in your neighborhood, organizing a charity drive, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or helping at an animal shelter.
If this sounds like just the mood-lifter you need, then check out our list of “65 Community Service Ideas for Every Type of Volunteer” for more great ideas.
13. Charity Race
You get to raise money for a good cause. You get some exercise, and you get a beer with your race buddies after. Checks all the boxes, does it not?
Did you know that getting your hands dirty may just have immense benefits to your mental health? While research is ongoing, some studies are showing that microbial material in soil may have the ability to act as a natural stress reliever, helping to alleviate anxiety and symptoms of depression. So, go ahead, get dirty!
15. Gratitude Journal
The positive effects of a thankful mindset are well-studied. People who actively focus on gratitude and mindfully journal those thoughts tend to be happier people. It’s one of the little things we can do to help give our bad moods a boost! There are multiple gratitude journals out there, but we suggest getting one that has daily prompts.
16. Weekend Road Trip
Have a favorite destination that you can reach by car? Go there this weekend. It might be a place on the lake where you enjoyed parts of your childhood, the park you got engaged in, or just a stunning landscape that makes you feel free. Take a few days and rest there!
17. Hammock Nap
A gently swaying hammock, on a nice spring day, might be the best sleep you’ve had in a long time!
18. Romantic Comedy
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Your partner will make fun of you, and all the while, your brain will be releasing the “love hormone” oxytocin, improving your mood by the minute!
19. Light-Hearted Read
If you prefer to get your kicks from a book instead of a screen, good on you! Pick up a light-hearted read that makes you giggle.
20. Long Hug
A hug that lasts at least 20 seconds has shown to release feel-good hormones, strengthen the bond between huggers, and lower stressors. When done on a regular basis, hugging can help lead to more intimate bonds, lower rates of heart disease, and even add a little boost to your immune system.
21. Deep Breathing Exercises
Your mom probably said it, “Take a deep breath, and calm down.” Momma was right. Taking just a few minutes a day to get in a comfortable position and take 3-5 deep breaths can be an instant game-changer. Just breathe in and out of your nose. Put one hand on your chest, and the other on your stomach, and feel them both rise as you fill your lungs.
22. Wildflower Picking
Wildflower picking combines all the elements. You are out in the fresh air. You get some dirt under your nails. Your body gets some physical activity, and you get a pretty flower arrangement that will brighten your mood for days. It’s an all-around win!
23. Playground Visit
If you have little ones around, take a day to go and play. They’ll get out some energy, and your mood will likely improve by watching them run, play, and giggle. Better yet, join in! Run, swing, twirl, or roll in the grass. You will look a little foolish to the other playground moms, but you and your kid will have a blast!
24. Bike Ride
There’s something cathartic about the wind in your hair and the smooth, repetitive, round-and-round motion of peddling. Get outside and take a ride today. Just remember to give those old tires a good check first.
25. Bar Crawl
While alcohol is never the answer to long-term mental health issues, if you are just having a rough day, a night out with the crew is just what you need to lift your spirits! Choose one of our app-guided bar crawls. We’ll have you belly laughing in no time as you challenge your besties to fun trivia and photo challenges, dance the night away, and turn down those stress hormones with a little dose of sedative.
26. Fancy Night Out
If you’ve been feeling a little under the weather, getting dressed up and going out with your partner can be a major self-esteem booster. Put on your best dress. Perk up your legs and booty with a nice pair of heels. Do your hair and makeup, and treat yourself and your partner to a nice dinner and dancing!
27. Spa Treatment
Facials, hot stone massages, foot spas, and a steam room—feeling more relaxed already aren’t you? (Unless you’re one of those who doesn’t like your feet touched. In that case, just stick to the sauna)!
28. Dip in the Hot Tub
A bubbling hot tub, with a big glass of wine, on a clear night where you can ponder the stars. There’s no better remedy for a stressful day.
29. Impromptu Dance Session
Dancing releases endorphins. Dancing makes you feel free, especially if no one else is around. So, crank up the Tay Tay, and do your thing like nobody’s looking!
30. Rock Climbing
If you’re afraid of heights, then obviously, this one will be anxiety-inducing for you. However, if you need a physical activity to get your mind off the stressors that are plaguing you, rock climbing is the perfect option. It takes concentration and intense focus on what every part of your body is doing, so there is no time for negative thoughts. Plus, once you conquer the wall, success is a thrill and a major boost for the self-esteem. Beware: you might get addicted.
31. Trampoline Park
Jumping on a trampoline just reminds you of the carefree days of childhood. If you weren’t lucky enough to have carefree days or a trampoline in your life, then you are going to have to trust us on this one. There is something so relaxing about bounding through the air, landing on your butt, and getting back up to do it all over again. Trampoline parks have become pretty popular in the last few years, and we’d be willing to bet there is one within a short drive unless you live in the Yukon or something, and then you’ll just have to settle for that cold water swim.
32. Lake Day
Water is a stress reliever for most people, whether it’s listening to the sound of the waves from a sunny beach, or feeling the spray from a motorboat barreling across the lake. Rent a pontoon boat and bring your friends. Hook up the tube and go for a ride. Camp out in the evening by the fire, and chow down on some s’mores. You’ll feel better in no time!
33. Art Class
Learning a new hobby, especially one that requires the creative portion of your brain can be quite relaxing. Take a guided art and wine class with a friend, or stay in your pajamas and paint along to a virtual one. Either way, you’ll learn something new and have a beautiful piece of decor to hang when you’re done!
Like painting, crafting something with your hands brings a sense of accomplishment. Plus, power tools are fun!
35. Spiritual Care
Perhaps your nemesis is something spiritual. If you are a spiritual person, take some time to meditate on it. Talk with your pastor, priest, or spiritual advisor, and get some advice.
36. Counseling Session
While many of the activities on this list are short-term fixes for occasional down moments, talking to a counselor regularly can be an effective tool for helping manage more persistent symptoms of depression and stress. If you’re feeling out of sorts on the regular, it might be time to get some professional help.
37. Free Writing
Free writing is a technique that allows your mind to run totally wild. Just sit down with a notepad, and begin writing in a free flow. Don’t think over words. Don’t edit out anything. Just write. It’s basically the written form of an emotional outburst, and you may find that you feel much better afterward.
38. Cleaning Day
Some people find solace in cleaning, and almost everyone’s stress is elevated by clutter. Taking some time to spruce up the place can occupy your mind and help reduce stress. Plus, the scent of lemon and orange (citrus cleaning products) has been shown to help reduce anxiety.
39. Dancing Flames
Like lapping waves, dancing flames are just mesmerizing, and they seem to have a calming effect on most of us. That’s why there are so many random YouTube music videos with a fireplace in the background. Light a fire in your hearth or outdoor firepit and snuggle up with a blanket and a good book, or invite friends over for a bonfire!
40. Spreading the Love
When you’re feeling down, turning your attention to someone who is in worse shape than you can be a rewarding and productive response. Take flowers to an elderly citizen in your local geriatric home. Send a care package to a friend who has been ill. Take a less wealthy friend out to lunch and foot the bill, or rake the leaves for your disabled neighbor. There is a myriad of ways to lend a helping hand. Pick one.
41. Goal Achievement
Whether you have a list on paper or in your mind, choose one goal that you can accomplish today, and put your mind to achieving it. Don’t stop until you’ve conquered it!
Pretty obvious one here. Sex reduces stress by releasing buckets of mood-altering hormones. It’s free (hopefully), and it usually doesn’t take too long either. It’s an easy way to get a quick fix of happy.
43. Productive Distraction
If your mind is consumed with worry for some reason, try distracting yourself with something mundane. Fold the laundry. Do a puzzle. Clean out a cabinet, or move the furniture. Making your brain focus on something spatial can be a healthy distraction.
44. Jaunt Down Memory Lane
Pull out the old photo albums and show your kids your puffy prom dress. Reminisce with your spouse over your wedding day, or text your bestie pics of that epic trip to the cape.
Just moving the furniture around a bit and splashing a fun color on the wall can liven up your home and your mood!
46. Luxury Hotel
Speaking of changing your surroundings, sometimes a stay in an incredible luxury suite, especially one with a hot tub and a view is worth every penny!
47. Scary Feat
Doing something that scares you a bit produces adrenaline at the moment, but there is a serene calm and sense of accomplishment once it is all over.
48. Arcade Day
Let out your inner child and relish in some fond memories by hitting up the vintage games at the arcade. Watching Pac-Man nom nom on those little dots is so dang rewarding.
49. Good Cry Session
There is no shame in a good cry. Have one every now and then. You might find you feel an immense sense of release afterward.
50. Aggressive Exercise
Get out some aggression with a contact sport. Use the boxing bag at the gym, join a sparring club, or start a martial arts class. Yes, we just suggested you join a fight club, but we can’t talk about it anymore. Shh.
Go outside and scream. Do it loud, at the absolute top of your lungs. Do it until you feel better. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s crazy soothing.
52. Adult Coloring Book
Coloring isn’t just a way to keep your kids quiet. It can help keep your own thoughts from raging, too. Grab a swirly adult coloring book at your craft store and get busy.
Are you ready to decompress?
Everyone gets the funk every now and again. It’s normal, human nature. We recommend you save this list and try a few of these tips next time you feel a little down. Some may work wonders for you, and others won’t be your jam. That’s okay. Try until you find the option that fits you best.
Remember, these are quick mood-boosting activities for the occasional bad day. If you are consistently having anxiety and depressive symptoms, it’s time to talk to a medical professional for some help!
A romantic date can be a fantastic cure for a bad mood. Check out our list of “50 Romantically Sweet Spring Date Ideas” for some inspiration.
If your kiddos are the primary joy in your life, then celebrate their awesomeness with an adventure from “31 Exciting Ways to Celebrate Spring With Your Kids.”