20+ Ideas to add to your mental health toolbox

Life can get hard sometimes. So I have a bunch of things in what I call my mental health toolbox. They are all tasks I have used in the past to help lift my mood, motivate me and instil a little extra confidence.

It’s unfortunate, but I need to say this. I have no qualifications when it comes to mental health, so this is all just my opinion and experience. And so many of the things in this article are not for everybody. So my advice to you is to just take what you need and be open to new tools and ideas that might help you on your journey. And of course, seek mental health professionals if and when you need to.

Why you need a mental health toolbox

Think of it like a first aid kit but for your mental health. When life gets a little rough, you can refer back to your mental health kit.

It will take time for you to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. But once you’ve created your mental health toolbox, you’ll be able to take it with you. And you can use it anytime you need to.

It might be helpful to have the items in your kit written down somewhere, so you can easily refer back to them when you need to.

You might also find that you need to rely on your wellness toolbox differently at different times of the year.

For me, I need to focus on my mental health during winter. I find the lack of sunlight on a daily basis really gets to me.

Ideas you can add to your mental health toolbox

Use these practical tools as coping strategies during times of stress to combat negative feelings and improve your mental state.

For best practices, I recommend adding the best tools you like into your everyday routines.


Meditation is not for everyone. And that’s OK. But meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting cross-legged in silence for hours at a time.

It can be taking a minute to breathe properly, it could be sitting still with a guided meditation. Maybe even falling asleep to a sleep meditation. I love the Calm app for any kind of meditation.

Go for a walk

One of the best things about walking is that it’s free. It also requires very little in terms of equipment.

Heck, you don’t even need shoes if you don’t want to wear them!

Double your dose of healing your physical health while going for a walk with a friend or listening you a favourite podcast.


I’ll bet you’ve probably never heard of this one before. Earthing, also known as grounding, is connecting your body to the earth. Commonly done by walking bare feet on natural surfaces like grass and sand. I like to think it also counts when I’m barefoot inside the house or walking on the concrete outside. I know it’s not the same, but I am rarely seen barefoot.

20+ things for your mental health toolbox

Clean something

Cleaning something when you are anxious can really help. And it helps in two ways. Firstly, it can take your mind off whatever is troubling you. Secondly, you accomplish something. And sometimes the mess or clutter can also be the source of your anxiety. If you don’t know where to start, the following can give you some quick wins:

  • do the dishes
  • clean out your handbag, fridge, freezer or pantry
  • take out the rubbish
  • do a load of laundry
  • clean out some emails or photos on your phone

Eat meat-free sometimes

I’m not here to convince you to change your lifestyle. Just try a few meat-free dinners a month. It’s good for your health and budget!

Drink enough water

We all know the importance of drinking enough water.

But how many of us actually do it? I know I don’t.

But I do aim for at least one litre of water per day, on top of anything else I drink.

And I know one litre isn’t really enough. But we all have to start somewhere.

Caffeine free days

I try to have about five caffeine-free days a month.

It gives my body a rest, allows me to drink something else and of course, helps me sleep a little bit better.

If you still need that warm mid-morning drink, consider having a hot chocolate, herbal tea or another caffeine-free substitute.

Listen to a podcast

I’m relatively new to podcasts but I have found them to be a great escape.

My favourite time to listen to podcasts is when I’m driving in the car.

But going for a walk is also a great way to get a double dose to calm the mind and body.

Why not try one of these self-improvement podcasts?

Or maybe the Mental Health Toolbox Podcast with Patrick Martin.

mental health toolbox

Meal plan

Knowing what you are going to eat can take so much weight off your shoulders. You can choose to create your own meal plan based on what you already have or use a pre-made meal plan.


I wish I was someone that journaled often. But I’m not. I’m more of a journal every day for about a week than do nothing for a few months type!
There are so many amazing journal prompts on Pinterest but you can waste spend so much time looking for the “right one”. It might be easier to buy a journal with pre-done prompts.


We all know how good it is to have a big stretch in the morning. You know, the one where you lift your arms high above your head and maybe let out a yawn or a sigh? But there are also a number of other stretches to help wake you up or help induce sleep. My all-time favourite stretch is the supine spinal twist.


Having a bath is not everyone’s idea of self-care. And that’s totally fine. But if it is your jam, relax and unwind in a bath, with or without a bath bomb. You can always listen to a podcast or music, or watch something on Netflix or YouTube, or simply squeeze a stress ball.
And if a bath isn’t your cup of tea, a shower can still do a world of wonders.


I love to read to escape my current world, whether it’s an actual book, an ebook or an audiobook. Most libraries have an extensive digital library, so you don’t even need to leave the house!

My favourite books to escape into are:

A look at what's inside my mental health toolbox

Wear comfortable clothes that make you feel good

Wearing clothes that you feel comfortable in can make quite a difference to your mood. I know I’m irritated easily when I’m wearing clothes that are too tight, restrict me from moving like normal and give me aches and pains. Life’s too short to be uncomfortable in what you wear.

Sing and dance to your favorite songs

This one might surprise you. But singing and dancing to your favourite songs can really boost your mood and your confidence.

I was certainly a skeptic when I learned about it, but it’s one of those don’t knock it until you try it things.

My favourite songs to sing and dance to are mostly 90’s and early 2000’s with a few other catchy tunes.

But if I’m really feeling myself I listen to some of the best old emo songs so I can rock out on my air guitar.

Seriously, try it!

Phone a friend

Phone or text a friend or family member.

You never know, they might be experiencing difficult times too.

Having positive social interactions is one of the best ways to improve your emotional wellness.

Wash your hair

This is a judgement-free zone.

But how long has it been since you washed your hair?

If you are anything like me, you push out each hair wash as long as possible.

I absolutely hate washing my hair.

If I had only one magic power I wish it was that I never had to wash my hair!


Struggling to get enough sleep? Well sometimes you just need a nap. Enough said.

Watch a movie or TV show

Watching a movie or some episodes of a television show is a great way to kill some time and take your mind off things.

To keep you going for a few days, try one of the following franchises:

  • Star Wars
  • Harry Potter
  • James Bond
  • Shrek
  • Pirates of The Caribbean
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe (think Avengers)
  • X-Men

My favourite pick me up (but don’t need to pay too much attention to) television shows are:

  • The Good Place
  • Friends
  • Big Bang Theory
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Simpsons


There are so many effective ways you can access TedTalks. But not all TEDTalks are inspiring. Some make you think. Some make you question what you believe. And some you can learn from. Find a way that works for you:

Creating a mental health toolbox

Watch inspiring YouTube videos

You only have to search ‘inspirational video’ on YouTube and you are met with thousands of results.

And the most watched videos have millions of views.

And I can say that I’ve seen a few of the videos.

They do really make you think about where you are in your own life and where you want to be.

If inspiring videos aren’t your thing, you can also waste fill your time watching:

Sit outside

Sitting outside might not seem revolutionary when it comes to your mental health.

But I found it very beneficial during the winter of 2020.

I really noticed that I felt different when I hadn’t spent any time outside the previous day.


Not to be forgotten, is exercise.

We all know the benefits of increasing your heart rate through exercise but we don’t always take advantage of them.

If you need some accountability consider exercising with a friend or completing a challenge.

Challenges can range from time or distance in a month or a week, or doing something every day.

Play a game

The thought of playing a game can mean different things to different people.

You might think I mean a board game, you might think I mean a game on your phone.

But really, any game will do.

You can lose yourself in a game like Candy Crush.

Or become really competitive with a game like Uno or Monopoly.

Or you could just sit down and boss people around in the Sims for a few hours, it’s a great distraction from real life.

Can you tell which game is my favourite?

Are there any coping mechanisms in your mental health toolbox that you think others could benefit from? If so, send me an email and let me know.


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