A woman said the key to fighting her depression was trying 365 new things in one year — including drinking a shot out of a belly button, signing up for a surf class, and visiting a leprechaun museum.
After suffering from depression and anxiety during the pandemic, Jess Mell, 34, said she’s the happiest she’s been in a decade after checking things off of her activity list. Some of her new challenges were more tame, like poaching an egg, and others a bit wilder — like flying a plane.
The UK insurance underwriter said she was initially inspired to try 100 new things in 100 days but was sad when the challenge ended in April. She decided to extend the challenge — which began Dec. 27 — for the rest of the year.
“I feel pretty emotional about it, to be honest. I can’t believe it,” Mell told South West News Service. “The first 100 I had to do one thing every day, but that was quite difficult so when I decided to continue for the rest of the year I decided I’d do 365 new things.”
Mell — whose list of firsts includes trying a Guinness and joining a local gardening community group — said she has no plans to stop trying new things.
She admitted she switched from trying something new every day to trying 365 new things in the span of a year, because “life kept getting in the way.”
“I was going to finish off by swimming in the sea, but I had not quite got to 365 yet, so that ended up being No. 363 or something,” she explained. “I still wanted to finish it off with something exciting though, so in the end, I finished up by convincing my dad to let me sit on the roof of his car as he drove down the road.”
However, that still only got her to 364, so she ended her challenge in a very fitting way — by making her first Instagram reel of her year of challenges. She documented her whole year of new activities on the app.
“I’m going to keep [trying new things] in that it’s now just part of what I do,” Mell declared. “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.”
Although she’s not sure what the new year holds, she’s got some ideas about what she can do in 2023 to challenge herself.
“I was originally thinking I’d visit every country in Europe, but I got talked out of it as I think it would become a bit of a tick-box exercise,” she shared. “I want a new challenge I think, 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 and it’ll be manageable — but I just feel a bit lost without my challenge,” Mell continued. “I feel like I should constantly be doing something.”