7 Ways To Shake Off A Bad Mood That Won’t Cost A Cent

You know those weeks when you’ve just had enough? Your boss keeps piling work onto your lap without so much as a thank you, your sister is hounding you to go halvsies with her in a gift for your parents you can’t really afford, and you realised that Friends went off the air in 2004 and is never coming back. Bad mood incoming.

Sometimes, our first inclination when thing after thing goes wrong is to overindulge out of self-pity. We end up telling ourselves we deserve that new wardrobe, that lifetime supply of Max Brenner waffles, that $300 hairstyle because, dammit, we need the TLC.

But you’re probably not in the financial position to go nuts on luxurious treats (and yes, if you’re wondering, I do consider Max Brenner waffles luxurious.)

There’s a whole bunch of simple mood lifters at your fingertips to take advantage of – and they won’t cost you a thing:

#1 Listen to a podcast on your commute

It’s much better than listening to your internal monologue complaining about the traffic and lack of transport infrastructure in your city. We can all relate to Elaine in that Seinfeld episode a little more than we’d care to admit.


A guaranteed way to eliminate your frustration is to drown it out with some awesome listening. No matter the content, gaining intimate knowledge and distracting yourself from your pity party is a win/win.

If you’re looking for insightful, try Invisibilia. If you want to belly laugh, Comedy Bang! Bang! If you want a mixture of both, You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes. After listening to a few different series, you’ll be able to find your niche and start a downloading frenzy. It will honestly make you look forward to that super squishy train ride and you’ll coast into work smiling.

#2 Call up someone you haven’t spoken to in a while 

You just know your parents and grandparents are sitting expectantly at the top of this list. No matter what joy you get out of chatting to them, remember they’re experiencing that same joy ten-fold. You might even find it nice to disappear into their familiar, constantly stable world for a while. But if that really seems like too much of a drag, dial up that friend who lives interstate, your hilarious cousin or a former co-worker you got along with super well.

We so rarely chat on the phone to people anymore, even though we’re communicating more than ever. But exchanging life details over text completely misses the intimacy that we crave when we’re feeling down in the dumps. Make that hotline bling.

#3 Take a scheduled break with your favourite co-worker

If work is an absolute nightmare, the last thing you want is to feel alone in the office. Send a quick email to your closest office buddy and ask to go for a walk outside for 15 minutes. Chat about last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, or how her Tinder phase is going.


If this isn’t an option for you because you don’t have a work BFF, that might be part of the problem. Research developed as part of Gallup’s Q12 survey – a series of questions collated to measure employee engagement against business results – found that having a friend at work makes you happier at work. As New York Magazine puts it, employees with friends at work are “more focused, more passionate, and more loyal to their organizations. They get sick less often, suffer fewer accidents, and change jobs less frequently.”

Go ahead and ask Jess in Sales to get a coffee with you. I hear she’s lovely.

#4 Plan a trip overseas with a friend

You don’t have to have the money right now. Just agree on a date sometime in the future and start sketching out a plan. You can do all of the exciting stuff like Googling landmarks and scrolling through TripAdvisor reviews now and settle into figuring out your budget a little later (we recommend starting here and here).

Science has told us that spending money on experience is the true key to happiness and planning a trip is no exception. The process of planning, feeding off your friend’s excitement and counting down the days are almost as good as the thing itself.

#5 Puppies!

Take your dog for a walk and get a kick out of their happy little panting face. If you don’t have a puppy, go to your friend’s house to visit theirs. You don’t even have to talk to your friend if you really don’t want to, I’m sure they’d understand.


If neither you or your friends have animals (really?), read a book in a dog park. The book is obviously a terrible disguise; your real motive is to pet the dogs of strangers.

#6 Watch your favourite YouTube video

As much as the Internet can be dark and scary, it also has a way of delivering you a video of a goat galloping down a hall right when you need it to. YouTube is a fantastic place to get into a wormhole of short snippet videos that make you feel all bubbly.

Whenever I feel a little blue, I type Just Dance into YouTube and attempt to dance along to the moves in my room. Add a friend or two into the mix to make it truly worthwhile, you’ll be heaving with goofy laughter in no time. Similarly, a colleague of mine mentioned that she YouTubes music videos to shift a bad mood. Drake’s Worst Behaviour for when she wants to feel inspired and Tay Tay’s Shake It Off for when she wants to feel some pep.

#7 Take things up a notch

If all else fails, make that extra effort with your appearance. We all have a fun lipstick sitting patiently at the bottom of our make up bag for when we want to be a little adventurous. Be adventurous now! The most mundane of errands can be boosted by putting in some effort to go to the shops/post office/your local cafe.

Paint your nails a bright colour. Put on your ‘special’ suit. Wear a cute pair of heels. Don a faux fur coat. Strut. Never forget you are an absolute queen/king.

Josephine is a writer from Sydney. She has written for AWOL, Kaleido Press and is a commissioned poet for the Disappearing 2.0. She tweets nonsense here.

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