As a former psychotherapist and a current professional writer, I am well aware of how stressed, burnt out, restless, bored and uninspired this world can make us, especially if we are sensitive or creative types. Things get to us. Not because we’re bad, wrong, stupid or crazy, but because we’re human. 

As a result, we can get easily distracted from the things that really matter and, without needed rejuvenation, life loses some of its meaning and sacredness.

walk in nature

With that in mind, I decided to brainstorm a list of things to do when stressed or uninspired. In other words, when life gets hard.  

Sometimes small suggestions can offer big results. You may even want to send this to anyone you know who is struggling right now.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think. I also invite you to add your own ideas in the comments section. Here goes: 


  1. take a walk by a body of water: river, lake, sea, stream
  2. plant a small tree
  3. unplug from all electronics for 24 hours
  4. sit in a quiet room and close your eyes
  5. make a salad of fresh fruit and eat it slowly
  6. read a good book
  7. write a really bad poem
  8. walk barefooted in grass
  9. practice laughing
  10. sit on the floor cross-legged and hum
  11. sit in the sun for 15 minutes
  12. have a deep, meaningful conversation with a friend
  13. massage your hands and feet, or have someone do it for you
  14. drink a tall glass of water and think about what a gift it is to be able to swallow
  15. find a swing and swing in it
  16. listen to live music
  17. take a novelist to lunch (I’m available on weekends :-))
  18. go outside and listen to birdsong
  19. plant flowers and encourage them to grow
  20. yodel badly
  21. hug a tree
  22. let yourself cry
  23. write down every cuss word you know using colored pencils
  24. smile for 5 minutes without stopping (set a timer)
  25. do not shop or buy anything for 24 hours
  26. go to an art gallery
  27. pull a random book from the fiction section of the library and read the first chapter
  28. perform an anonymous and random act of kindness
  29. take a mental health day at work and begin your hero’s/heroine’s journey
  30. sing an Elvis song in the shower
  31. write a letter to someone by hand and snail mail it
  32. give someone flowers
  33. breathe deeply 4 times: slow inhale, slow exhale
  34. tell a friend 3 things you appreciate about them
  35. write all your resentments on a sheet of paper and then burn them
  36. go to your favorite coffee shop and speak to at least 2 people other than the barista
  37. take a slow drive on a country road you’ve never been on before
  38. make yourself your favorite meal
  39. look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself: you are good enough
  40. volunteer one afternoon in a soup kitchen
  41. contact an artist (writer, poet, short story writer, novelist, painter, etc.) and tell them something you love about their work
  42. count how many times you say “thank you” in one day and then double it
  43. find a porch to sit on
  44. donate money to an environmental or wildlife protection agency
  45. play with a small child (no television allowed)
  46. sit under a tree and read for 30 minutes
  47. go to a farmers market and buy homegrown, fresh vegetables
  48. keep a gratitude journal
  49. sing a song that you used to sing as a child
  50. feel blue, touch green
  51. watch clouds for 30 minutes and name their shapes
  52. read a fairy tale
  53. listen to an audio book (after doing number 3 above)
  54. make a phone call to an elderly person and tell them how much you appreciate them
  55. write down your dreams
  56. dance naked (your should probably do this one at home)
  57. walk in the rain
  58. be vulnerable with someone you can trust
  59. make your own list of things to do when you feel uninspired
  60. pray/meditate or walk your meditation
  61. feed the birds
  62. read a story to someone small or someone convalescing
  63. take 4 more deep breaths and thank your body for keeping you alive
  64. let your imagination run wild
  65. take your intuition out for a spin
  66. draw something very badly and without judgment
  67. put together a box of things to give to Goodwill or another agency
  68. take a nap
  69. go on a news fast (no bad news) for 24 hours
  70. search out stories and people that inspire you
  71. play a musical instrument
  72. write a song about yourself
  73. go on a pilgrimage
  74. attend a play
  75. have a delicious dessert for dinner one night
  76. while sitting quietly, ask your soul what it needs and then do it
  77. read this blog and comment when you feel moved

So there it is. It took me about an hour to brainstorm these 77 things. At first I thought I’d aim for 50, but I had more to say than I realized. 

It’s incredibly easy to get stressed these days, but it’s important to take action as soon as we realize we are anxious, bored, discouraged or distracted. 

Nobody will do these things for us. We have to do them for ourselves.

What’s one of your favorites from my list?

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment section! I’ll respond to you personally. 


If you haven’t already, please consider checking out my latest novel:  The Secret Sense of Wildflower. (southern, historical, coming-of-age) More novels here.

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