10 Realistic Ways to Improve Your Mood

After embracing minimalism, and making our home so easy to maintain I don’t have to think about it. I don’t struggle with depression as much, and I don’t get as low as I used to, but it still happens.

I find myself in a funk every couple of months and I sit in the house staring into space, feeling like something is wrong with me but not knowing what to do to fix it.

So, I started making a list of things that help me feel better. Because when I’m in a funk, I can’t remember what helps me feel better and what lifts me out of this depressed mood I’m in.

Before I share my list, let me just say that I’m not a doctor, and though I’ve found these things helpful, they’re simply ideas to help pull you out of a funk, not a way to treat severe depression. 

I heard once that true depression is basically sitting down and having someone put a button in front of you that if you push it, it would change your situation and make you feel better, and you don’t even have the ability to push that button.

And if that is where you are at, please reach out to someone. I know I just said you don’t have the motivation to push the “fix it” button, and I’m telling you to act by calling a doctor or going to a walk-in clinic, but I have to say it anyway. Sometimes we need help from people, and sometimes we need help from medication and there is nothing to be ashamed of in getting that help.

Ok, as I said, these are the things that help me get out of a funk, and I made this list for myself but wanted to share it with you, in case you need it too.

And oftentimes I don’t WANT to do any of these. But if I notice that I am in a serious funk, I will use Mel Robbin’s 5-second rule, pick one thing, and just do it.

The 5-second rule is counting down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and then doing the thing without giving your mind time to talk yourself out of it. Basically – no thinking, just count down and take action.

These are not in any specific order.

1 Take a walk

Getting outside, and breathing fresh air helps, as well as getting your blood moving. Being in nature helps – seeing birds, noticing plants, moving your body, all helps. If you can really push yourself and exert yourself, that’s really helpful, but even if you are just outside for 10 minutes it makes a difference. 

2. Take a break

During the summer I get a glass of water and sit on the front porch. Put the phone down, and just sit. Listen to what’s going on, look at the flowers and the trees, and watch bees go from flower to flower. 

During the winter I will make myself a cup of tea, light a candle or turn on some twinkle lights and Just have 10 minutes where I’m not beating myself up for not being productive, instead, I’m allowing myself to simply sit.

3. Stick to my routine

Having routines in place has saved me so many times. And since they’re in place, I’m more likely to do them without thinking about it. This means even when I’m down in the dumps, the kitchen stays fairly clean and the dishes get done.

4. Clean something

Seeing that I can accomplish something lifts my mood. Cleaning the bathroom sink is a quick win – it always looks so nice and it doesn’t take much effort. It’s also helpful if I can clean off a surface. Our surfaces still collect things and having clear surfaces gives me a boost of confidence. As if I need to see something that I made pretty to feel like I’m a contributing member of society. Right or wrong, it makes me feel better about myself.

5. Do some yard work

Even if you just work for 10-15 minutes, you can get things done and feel better about it. It gets you outside, it gets you moving and like cleaning, it’s an easy win. You can feel good about accomplishing something in a very short amount of time.

6. Ask for help

Often when I’m in a funk I struggle with doing the things I need to do. My husband is pretty great about jumping in and taking care of house stuff when he’s home, but there are things that bother me that he doesn’t always notice. And it simply means I need to ask for help instead of having a pity party and thinking “everything is dependent on me.” So I can say “Can you fold the laundry and put it away this morning?” or “Can you plan something for dinner tonight so I don’t have to think about it?” He is even happy to make dentist appointments for the kids or make phone calls when I feel like I’m trying to juggle all these things in my mind.

7. Change something

Rearrange the furniture in a room of your home.

Take a shower and put on dressier clothes.

If you’ve been vegging in bed, go sit in the living room.

If you’ve been on the couch, go take a bath.

Any kind of change can be helpful.

8. Count your blessings

Writing, or even listing things in our mind that we are thankful for can help shift our negative thoughts and appreciate all the good things in our lives. There is always something to be thankful for. A home, clean clothes, food to eat, ability to pay bills, grass, blue sky, and rain.

9. Don’t drink alcohol

When I’m low, I want to have a glass of wine. I think “I know it will calm my mind down and make me feel a little happier. But the cost is always more of a funk the next day. Alcohol might make you feel a little more light-hearted when you’re drinking it, but higher doses of alcohol can suppress dopamine production, which can make you feel sad or listless. For me, I notice feeling lower for 2 days after drinking alcohol. It’s easier if I just don’t keep any on hand, then I’m more likely to remember it doesn’t help.

10. Take supplements

For me, it’s magnesium (Standard Process E-Z Mg™️) and B vitamins (MegaFood Balanced B Complex). It’s not an immediate mood booster, but if I’m struggling, I will ask myself when I took my supplements last. If I’m consistent, magnesium makes a huge difference in my mood and I find I’m more even-keeled, and happy would be a strong word, perhaps content is how I would describe myself.

This list is something I wrote down so I can refer to it when I feel like I’m in a funk. It’s something I can look at and be reminded to take a step and help myself when I can.

And I do rely on the 5-second rule when I’m really low. It’s ok if we use the 5-second rule all day long. Often times we just need it to get started and after we take action, we begin to feel better.

If clutter has been affecting your mood and you struggle with depression and anxiety, I talk about how to start pulling yourself out of that in this video right here.

What would you add to the list? Do you have things you turn to to help lift your mood?

If I notice that I am in a serious funk, I will use MelRobbin’s 5-second rule, pick one of these things, and just do it.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Simone Arsenault-May on 05/11/2022 at 11:25 am

    I love this! Thank you!!!

    P.S. I did the 5 second countdown just now to get out of “looking at my phone for no particular reason” to getting into the bathroom to clean and watch / listen to this video at the same time!!!



    (Now to find another video or podcast to help me get through the 2nd 1/2 of cleaning the bathroom as I decided to do a “mini deep clean”, so 10 mins wasn’t enough! LOL)

  2. purpleslob on 05/15/2022 at 9:17 pm

    Great list, thx Rachel!
    Fresh air helps me. Plus singing hymns!

  3. Diane on 08/09/2023 at 3:08 pm

    Vitamin D; taking it made a huge difference in just one week. I remembered it’s benefits after Christmas 2020, Covid Christmas would’ve been a lot easier on me if I’ve been taking it then.

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