Woman boosted her mental health by doing 365 new things in 365 days

After suffering from depression and anxiety during the pandemic, Jess Mell, 34, was desperate to enjoy life after lockdown.

So, on 27 December 2021, she set her self a challenge, and decided to try something new, every day, for 100 days.

But when it got to April, Jess was upset when her 100 day streak ended – and carried on going, with the plan to do 365 new things, in 365 days.

Now, a year later, she still has no plans to stop, and says she’s the happiest she’s been in a decade.

Jess has completed a wide range of ‘firsts’, from flying a plane, to bleeding a radiator, and joining a local gardening community group.

She has also visited Vienna, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Belfast and Krakow and, on home soil, has tried speed dating and line dancing.

Jess, from Redhill, Surrey, said: ‘I feel pretty emotional about it to be honest. I can’t believe it.

‘The first 100 I did one new thing every day – for the rest of the year I decided I’d do 365 new things in 365 days.

‘I could do ten things in one day if I was free.

‘I wanted to finish it off with something exciting – I convinced my dad to let me sit on the roof of his car as he drove down the road.

‘So that was quite random, but that was only 364. My final one was making my first ever Instagram reel of some of the things I’d done in the year.’

Some of Jess’ other ‘firsts’ vary from ordinary day-to-day things like trying a Pot Noodle and making muffins, to the more adventurous, like drinking a shot out of someone’s belly button and feeding a tortoise.

Jess is also keeping her cards close to her chest when it comes to one of her ‘firsts’, which she says is ‘not suitable for work’.

Learning simple DIY like hanging a picture, sewing a button, and growing a plant from a seed were all on her list – along with taking a selfie with a pigeon.

She said: ‘I’m going to keep doing it, in that it’s now just part of what I do.

‘I’ve always tried to find new things to do, so that will go on. Whether I track it the same way I’m not sure.’

She added: ‘What has been so nice about the whole experience has been that whenever I’ve thought “I could try that”, rather than putting it off, I just ask myself “why don’t I?”. I really hope I keep that up.

‘There’s still loads of things that I couldn’t do on time, like on New Year’s Day I’m going to spend the afternoon playing with miniature pigs.

‘So there’s still a lot more I want to try, so I’m excited about that.’

Joined sometimes by friends, Jess says the best part about the whole experience has been putting herself out of her comfort zone.

She’s been keeping track of all her ‘firsts’ throughout the year on Instagram at @little_jess_x.

And now, Jess is looking for new ways to challenge herself.

She said: ‘I might try and climb 12 mountains in 12 months.

‘They don’t have to be proper mountains, it could just be one in the UK, but it’ll mean I can travel – I just feel a bit lost without my challenge.

‘I feel like I should constantly be doing something.’

Jess’s something new every day:

Got Instagram

Made a Christmas Dinner

Watched ET

Made a lampshade

Grew a plant from seed

Did a backwards roll

Bled a radiator

Tried origami

Went to hot yoga

Dyed my hair pink

Bought the Big Issue

Did 1000 piece jigsaw by myself

Tried a pot noodle

Completed a Rubik’s cube

Made muffins

Visited an aircraft hangar – got to start a passenger plane

Used the “scary” gym equipment

Got a henna tattoo

Watched the Great Escape

Learnt how to do various types of knots

Learnt to shuffle cards

Visited the Skygarden

Had a pedicure

Went to a life drawing class

Completed a paint by numbers

Learnt to pick a lock

Completed the Crystal Maze

Tried a barre class

Made/ate a vegan meal

Went on a Boris bike

Hung a picture on the wall

Tried first coffee

Went to Bogan Bingo

Learnt to sew a button

Learnt some British Sign Language

Went to a choir group

Went to a board game club

Went to a TRX class

Learnt to change indicator light bulbs in my car

Tried a Guinness

Joined a community volunteer group

Ate using chopsticks

Attended a first aid course

Went to the British Library

Used the squat rack in the gym

Had an Espresso Martini

Used a sewing machine

Poached an egg

Played chess for the first time

Successfully completed some monkey bars

Went to the Tate Modern

Changed a car wheel (or helped to!)

Drank a shot out of a belly button

Made fudge

Played golf

Made a pizza from scratch

Did a French braid

Whittled some wood

Learnt a simple tap routine

Tried to whistle with my fingers – couldn’t do it loudly!

Drove my nieces in my car

Looked after my nieces by myself

Made a rainbow cake

Tried embroidery

Went to the National Gallery

Helped my brother prepare for the launch of his food business

Was part of a human pyramid

Bowled without bumpers

Visited a Mormon Temple

Tried to start a fire without matches – failed!

Managed to do/hold the crow yoga pose

Tried soldering

Learnt how to fold clothes super quickly

Got my eyebrows tinted

Saw a play version of Cluedo

Went on my first solo trip

Went to Belfast/Northern Ireland for the first time

Saw the Giant’s Causeway

Booked a mystery holiday trip

Made butternut squash soup

Went to a painting class

Tried knitting

Let my nieces do my hair and make up

Tried super hot curry dishes

Drove a van

Went to a clairvoyant audience night

Watched reality TV (which I usually avoid/hate)

Went to Highgate cemetery

Upcycled an old stool

Went paddle boarding

Saw my mum get married

Tried papier mache

Visited St Paul’s Cathedral

Fixed my bathroom plug

Watched a brass band – Old Dirty Brasstards

Attempted to learn to play the ukulele (gave up!)

Watched Only Fools and Horses for the first time

Watched a foreign film without subtitles

Went on my first solo trip outside of the UK

Exploring round Budapest

Went to a thermal spa

Had a mini tutorial on how to fix my boiler

Went on a ghost walking tour round London

Made jam from scratch

Made scones to go with it!

Went lambing

Played skittles

Fed a tortoise

Visited Crystal Palace Park

Went on a tour of Lloyd’s Building

Made tapas from scratch including a Spanish tortilla

Tried sherry

Went to see Ed Byrne perform

Explored somewhere near by foot in my local area

Went to Virginia Water

Joined an outdoor fitness class

Went on an organised walk

Made space cakes! Potentially NSFW??!!

Visited the Museum of London

Made banana bread

Went round the Royal Mail museum

Tried Geocaching

Went to a butterfly house

Visited Krakow/Poland

Tried local dish pierogi

Went on an e-scooter

Visited Auschwitz

Had peanut wotsits

Tried Tyskie

Went on a vodka tasting tour

Tried moonshine – 72% strength

Visited some salt mines

Went to a poetry reading session

Got pooed on by a bird!

Went to Bluewater

Tried bubble tea

Tried Zumba

Went to the Bank of England museum

Saw Craig David

Had a selfie with a sportsman

Made a blueberry cheesecake

Adopted an orangutan via WWF

Did a proper tequila shot

Tried reflexology

Went to Leonardslee Gardens

Went up The Monument

Saw a gig at Knebworth

Joined in a mosh pit

Did a solo escape room

Went to a local town’s museum

Got a spray tan

The above involving getting totally naked in front of a stranger in their kitchen

Learnt a magic trick

Did an open water lake swim

Went to Sicily

Tried Aperol and Limoncello spritz

Ate lungs/spleen

Ate fish eggs

Tried aloe vera water

Sampled local delicacies such as cannoli and gelato brioche

Used a bidet

Went on holiday with my boss

Tried tiramisu

Started taking collagen supplements

Tried teeth whitening strips

Used Stitch Fix

Attempted to create a world record with Joe Wick at Hyde Park

Tried venison

Went on a tour of Parliament

Joined in a Pride march

Saw the changing of the guard

Went to Superbloom at the Tower of London

Went to an Ibiza classic orchestra gig

Sat on someone’s shoulders

Watched Tower Bridge going up

Went to lates at ZSL

Went to some local urban caves

Tried cryolipolysis

Tried to save a nestling – failed 🙁

Tried a gooseberry

Did a turmeric shot

Acknowledged that my attitude to spending money and treating myself has totally changed – a reflective point

Went to the Cotswolds

Got a selfie with Brum

Went kata kanu-ing

Went to a Michelin star restaurant

Visited Glastonbury (place, not festival unfortunately!)

Tried a shakti mat

Watched a play at an outside theatre

Had a surf lesson

Went to the Eden Project

Went to Dopamine Land

Tried a CPD drink

Made my own protein bars

Went to an outdoor cinema screening

.. And watched Casablanca for the first time

Made a poke bowl

Went to a hot ar balloon show

Tried mac n cheese

Went to an air rifle gun range

Had a beekeeping experience afternoon

Tried honey beer

Went on a pedalo

Watched a jousting tournament

Flew with Ryanair – and didn’t have any issues – might have to reword this to just “well known problematic budget airline?”

Visited ROI/Dublin

Visited Trinity College

Visited Cliffs of Moher

Visited Galway

Went to a leprechaun museum

Got sea monkeys

Tried breast milk

Went to Sutton Hoo

Went to Seven Sisters/Beachy Head

Watched Alan Partridge

Tried plantain

Gave blood

Went to All Points East festival

Got access to a VIP area

Created a 360 degree video

Made a scarecrow

Went to Croatia

Visited Split

Went to Froggyland

Went to Brac

Swam in the sea during a storm

Went to Dubrovnik

Went to Montenegro

Played netball

Had a photo with a policeman

Saw a black swan

Went on a barge trip

Tried tie dye

Learnt to do a proper bun hairstyle

Had a go at being a window cleaner

Volunteered as a race marshall for a half marathon

Made apple cake

Saw a change in royalty

Tried reformer pilates

Went to Costco

Had a birds of prey experience afternoon

Went on a Midsomer Murders coach trip

Saw where Goodnight Mister Tom was filmed (fave film)

Watched a ploughing contest

Went on a tractor ride

Tried pumpkin spiced latte

Went on a Thames Rocket speedboat

Went on the London Eye

Walked along the Thames beach

Went to a casino

Went to an Oktoberest

Drank a stein of beer

Finally worked out how to screen cast from my phone to the TV

Made a wax melt artwork

Tried macrame

Watched and painted along to a Joy of Painting with Bob Ross

Featured in a corporate video for work

Had a 1:1 psychic reading

Flew a plane

Made ice cream

Went to a Kiran and meditation evening

Went to Sweden

Went to Malmo

Went to Denmark

Went to Copenhagen

Went on a train over the sea

Slept in a “pod” at a hotel

Saw the Little Mermaid statue

Saw the Danish changing of the guard

Tried stegt flaesk

Went pumpkin picking

Went to a football match alone

Tried gold collagen eye patches

Tried a face roller

Attempted crochet

Went to puppy yoga

Saw the Thames Barrier

Went on a boat trip around a wind farm

Watched Hocus Pocus for the first time

Went on a Murder Mystery Train experience

Asked someone on a date

Dated an older man – definitely a DILF;)

Went to Science Museum Lates

Went to Letters Live

Carved and painted some pumpkins

Went down the ArcelorOrbital slide

Ran up a downwards escalator

Went to a lights and lanterns display




Drove a Tesla


Went to a sketch comedy show

Had a ski lesson

Went to Morocco

Went to Marrakesh

Had a selfie with a monkey (against my will)

Ate snails

Went to a hammam spa

Went to Dans le Noir (dining in the dark)

Went on a silent disco musicals walking tour

Attended a lecture about serial killers

Had a CACI facial

Tried virtual clay pigeon shooting

Went axe throwing

Went to an ice hockey match

Made a key lime pie

Had a selfie with a pigeon

Tried mulled cider

Toasted a marshmallow on a fire

Pulled a pint in a pub

Tried shisha

Took part in a Park Run event

Tried a physalis (weird little fruit I’d never heard of)

Snapped a wish bone

Started a Excel course

Went a local historical society talk

Took a wellbeing day off of work

Went to a ballroom dancing class

Inadvertently failed to turn up at an awards ceremony in my honour (I thought the email was spam)

Picked my nieces up from school

Went to a pantomime

Attended an online cookery class

Made katsu curry from scratch

Tried curling

Took the ice bucket challenge

Went to Austria

Went to Vienna

Rode on a double decker train

Saw the Spanish riding school training session

Went to a classic Vivaldi concert

Volunteered for the Samaritans as a fundraiser

Caught a grape in my mouth


(Something NSFW…!)

Interviewed by the media

Went line dancing

Went speed dating

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