I often feel down or sad and I want to feel better


If you often feel down or sad, you can also experience a lack of energy and interest. You may find less enjoyment in life and often feel unmotivated and lethargic. This can be very bothersome and irritating, as well as have an impact on your daily life.

Getting started

You will work with the NiceDay app to gain insight into your feelings and make effective changes. This will help you break out of the negative cycle that is often associated with a low mood and feeling sad or depressed.

We are happy to help you with the action plan below. The action plan contains information and various exercises that you can perform throughout your daily life with the help of the NiceDay app over the next 4 weeks to help you gradually get more control over your situation. You can do this independently, but also by using the NiceDay app to support you. Download the app here if you haven’t got it on your phone yet and get started right away!

Are you experiencing a lot of problems with your mood and is it greatly impacting or limiting your daily life? Then it might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your GP for a referral to a psychologist. Click here for more information about treatment via NiceDay, or ask a NiceDay psychologist a question for freeAre you suffering from suicidal thoughts or urges? Have a look at www.113.nl or contact them by calling 113.

Your action plan

Week 1

  • Goal setting: By setting goals, you can increase your motivation. Read the information on setting goals and write down your goals in a Diary note in the NiceDay app.
  • Understand your mood: Understanding feelings of sadness and depression and what causes them can help you understand and accept your feelings. Read the explanation on depression here and write down in your diary in the NiceDay app what you identify with when reading this article.
  • Gain insight: Gaining insight into your emotions gives you a good starting point to work from and helps you to get a good understanding of your situation. Throughout performing the action plan, keep track of your mood 1 to 3 times a day in the NiceDay app for 4 weeks by registering your mood (use the Feelings tracker via the smiley). If necessary, add a note with any relevant details. Tip: You can set a reminder for yourself for this.
  • Feelings and behaviour: Your feelings and behaviour influence each other. Staying active can help you to cope with your low mood. Learn how the vicious circle of behaviour works and schedule an enjoyable activity using the Planner in the NiceDay app. For example, plan a walk or a visit to a friend. Don’t forget to track your mood before and after the activity!

Week 2

  • Gain insight: Keep track of your mood 1 to 3 times a day with the help of the smiley (feelings tracker). Can you already see when your mood improves and when it decreases? What influences your mood? What do you do when your mood is low? Does that help you?
  • Seeking enjoyment: Keeping yourself busy by doing fun and enjoyable activities is important to improve your mood. How did these activities affect your mood last week? Get inspired by reading our list of fun activities and write down which of these activities seem fun or give you pleasure in your NiceDay Diary. Schedule one or two of these fun activities in the Planner in the NiceDay app and reflect on your experience afterwards. Keep track of your mood before and after the activity!
  • Reluctance: Feeling sad or down makes it harder to take the initiative to do things. Even though you have now learned that it is important to break the circle, it can remain a challenge. Here are some tips for dealing with reluctance.
  • Exercise: Exercising is good for your physical and mental health. Read about the benefits of exercise for your mood and plan a daily walk. You can activate the pedometer in the NiceDay app to track your progress.

Week 3

  • Gain insight: Keep track of your mood 1 to 3 times a day with the help of the smiley. Look back on the past 2 weeks by clicking the graph icon at the top right of the feelings tracker. Look at how your mood has progressed over the last couple weeks and examine your weekly averages. What does that tell you?
  • Your reaction: Now that you’ve paid attention to your feelings, you may have started to notice a few things. What is your normal reaction to feeling sad or low? Do you become passive? Do you ruminate on negative memories? Do you doubt yourself or do you isolate yourself from the world? Are you happy with your reaction or do you think you’re overreacting? Write down in your Diary whenever your reaction helps you and when it doesn’t. What would you like to change? Set a new goal for yourself this week!
  • Investigating thoughts: Your thoughts and way of thinking play a major role in depression. They affect how you feel. Read about how the vicious circle of thoughts works and fill in your first thought record via the NiceDay app (step 1) to gain insight into your thoughts.
  • Positivity: Consciously reflecting on the positive things helps you to take a new perspective on each day. Read more about the benefits of keeping a positive diary and write down your positive experiences at the end of each day this week in your diary in the NiceDay app.
  • Talk: Talking to someone involves sharing what you think and feel. This allows you to receive more support and understanding from those around you. Everyone is sad sometimes. You can also ask for another person’s perspective on the situation to help you. You don’t have to do it alone! Learn more about talking about your feelings here and schedule some time to talk to someone who you trust and who you feel can support you.

Week 4

  • Gain insight: Keep track of your mood 1 to 3 times a day with the help of the smiley. Can you already see at which moments your mood improves and at which it decreases? What was the influence of the activities and exercises of the past week on your mood? What helps you and what doesn’t help you?
  • Challenge thoughts: Complete step 1 of a few different thought records, strive for finishing 1 each day. Once you’ve mastered that, you can move on to steps 2 and 3 of the thought record, during which you will be challenging your thoughts. Read about thought challenging and continue to complete steps 2 & 3 of your thought records. Tip: When challenging, choose a thought or doubt that says something about you. E.g.: “They don’t think I’m important” or “I’m a bad employee”.
  • Self-compassion: Being kind and gentle to yourself is important for your self-esteem. Read the information about self-compassion and set reminders with the NiceDay app to remind yourself to talk to yourself with compassion, like as if you were talking to your best friend. Challenge yourself to contradict that negative voice!


  • Reflection: Taking a moment to reflect can provide insight into your process and your progress. Look back on what you’ve done over the past few weeks. What went well? What are you proud of? What can you improve on? Do you notice any patterns? Write down your insights in a diary note in NiceDay.
  • Prevention: Based on your last reflection, you can create a reassurance plan. This will help you to identify the signals that indicate that you are feeling low or sad and provide you with tools to intervene effectively. It can be seen as a summary of your growth process over the past few weeks.
  • Exercise: Remember that developing and getting to know yourself is an endless process. The past few weeks have given you new insights, but you may have also encountered a few new obstacles. Therefore, keep applying the things that helped you, but also keep challenging yourself to improve your skills. Practice makes perfect!

Tips for successfully completing your action plan

  • Reward yourself: You are busy working on your self-development. This should be rewarded! Rewards will motivate you to continue. Learn more about rewards here and get inspired to reward yourself. Tip: Schedule your rewards in NiceDay.
  • Progress: Reflecting provides you with insight into your growth process and your progress. Regularly check your progress by examining your mood registration graphs.
  • Patience: Effective change takes time, patience and perseverance. Give yourself time and be aware of the small steps in your progress. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t work out perfectly the first time.
  • Patterns: Look for connections and patterns in your registrations. For example, when do you feel good? And what do you do when you’re feeling low?
  • Read more: Looking for more information on mood, depression or related topics, such as your job, seasonal depression or sexuality? Then read more in the mood library or go to the blog at niceday.app and use the search bar.

Need extra support?

Haven’t the steps above helped you sufficiently and are you looking for professional help or guidance from a psychologist? Learn more about receiving online help through the NiceDay app here.

Technical questions

Do you have questions about using the app while going through your action plan or are you unable to figure something out? Please read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact our NiceDay Support Team on working days via the app (tab ‘Support’) or by telephone on 010 – 3030 600. We are happy to help you!




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