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Mental Health Improvement: Activities and Games You Can Do Alone

mental health improvement activities


Games and activities can be a great form of self-care and a positive way to manage mental health. The best part? Many mental health improvement activities and games can be done on your own and from the comfort of your own home!

In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best activities and games for mental health improvement, including self-care activities, brainteasers, and card games to help banish boredom and lift your mood. Let's jump right in!

Activities that help with mental health

card games for mental health improvement

All of us can benefit from including some activities to improve our mental health -- whether that's a simple walk in the park, trying a new skill, or winding down after work with a new card game. Building a routine around activities you enjoy can also be a great way to promote a sense of calm and control in your life.

It's important to note that everyone's mental health struggles are unique, and that this article does not constitute professional medical advice. Any serious mental health concerns should always be taken to a suitable mental health care professional for support.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the best activities you can try at home to help improve your mental health.

Self-care activities

Self-care will be significantly different for everyone. The important thing is that you're participating in activities that you enjoy and which ultimately make you feel happier about yourself.

It's important to emphasize that self-care isn't always the easiest thing you can do. Say, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or drinking water. Difficult mental health challenges can make doing these things feel like insurmountable tasks. Training yourself to keep to your routines and practice harm reduction can be life-saving skills that keep your body cared for even if your mind is reeling.

But self-care doesn't have to be just chores. Eating some of your favorite food, watching media you enjoy, playing one of your favorite games, or simply listening to music can be self-care. As long as your method of escape is not self-destructive behavior, using self-care to manage your mental health can be an empowering experience.

Brain teasers and puzzles

Everyday life can be stressful, and sometimes our brains can benefit from a little positive distraction. Brain teasers and puzzles provide a fun way to challenge ourselves cognitively while helping to avoid repetitive negative thinking patterns.

Regularly setting aside some time to engage in a puzzle game can help reduce stress, promote mindfulness, and help reduce rumination.

Some great brain teasers and puzzles to try include crossword puzzles, word searches, online word games (such as Wordle, Waffle, and Words with Friends), online Tetris, riddles, and more! With so many options to choose from, you're sure to find a puzzle you enjoy.

Card games

Card games are incredibly accessible -- they're easy to play, and many can be found completely free online. Card games can help promote positive mental health by encouraging critical thought, creative gameplay, and attention to detail. We'll offer some of our favorite card games for mental health later in this article.

Get active

"Be more active!" is a common piece of advice for improving mental health. While research shows that exercise can help boost our mood, it's important to remember that getting active doesn't have to look a certain way. Aim to get active in a way that works with your body's limits -- not against them.

For some, that might look like going on a run or cycle, or hitting the gym. For others, it might be a gentle walk, stretch, or some chair yoga. Remember that everyday tasks -- such as going to the grocery store, or doing chores around your home -- can also be a way of getting active!

Even a little bit of activity can go a long way to boost your mental health, and exercise doesn't have to be something you dread.

Learn something new

Learning something new is a great way to challenge yourself and keep boredom or negative thoughts at bay. Whether it's taking up a new hobby, enrolling in a course, or trying a new game, there are all sorts of ways to try something new.

Top card games for mental health improvement

activities that help with mental health

As we mentioned earlier, card games have a range of benefits for mental health improvement. In this section, we'll take a look at some of the best card games for mental health. We've included a mixture of single-player and multiplayer games that you can play online from the comfort of your own home.

Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire is a challenging and unique variation of the classic Klondike Solitaire with double the decks, eight foundations, and ten whole spaces "tableaus" of cards to sort and organize to achieve victory.

Mastering Spider Solitaire will require strategy, critical thinking, and a whole lot of patience. In this game, you'll create 10 tableau columns to begin the game. To assemble this, your first 4 columns on the left-hand side of the tableau should contain 6 cards in total. 1 face-up, and 5 face-down. The next 6 columns should contain 5 cards in total. 1 face-up, and 4 face-down. The remaining cards become your stockpile.

One of the main mental health benefits of a challenging and long game of cards is the focus that you'll need to give to it to play. If you want a game that can pull you in for hours, while also testing your organizational skills and brain power, Spider Solitaire is one of the best around. You can play Spider Solitaire online at 247 Solitaire!


Another Solitaire variant, Pyramid is a unique and mathematical variation utilizing just a single deck of cards and geometry's perfect shape.

To play, place 28 cards face-up in the shape of a triangle. This set of cards will be built with 7 cards making up the bottom layer and a single card to form the peak. The rest of the deck forms the extra stockpile to draw from. Your goal is simple: remove every card from the pyramid to win the game. To do this, however, you'll need to bust out the math skills. You can only combine cards so that their value equals exactly 13 to remove them from play.

Benefits of Pyramid include its quicker gameplay and fairly simple math -- it's a great way to keep your mind sharp without the longer time commitment.

40 Thieves

For the history buffs out there, the game of 40 Thieves is popularly mythologized as the game Napoleon played in his exile at St. Helen. Similar to Spider Solitaire, this game uses two decks of playing cards.

To play, you'll want patience and creativity. The game is set up with 10 equal columns in your tableau, containing 4 cards a piece. Each card in your tableau begins the game face-up, meaning none are hidden. While arranging cards across your tableau, you can only stack cards by suit in descending order in your tableau, or ascending order in 8 foundational piles, making this gameplay quite similar to other Solitaire variations you may already be familiar with.


Accordion is a fun competitive card game that will put your hand management to the test! Played with 2+ players and a single deck of cards, Accordion will be sure to keep you distracted.

Players are dealt an equal hand of cards and the game is started with a single card. Similar to the game of "Uno!", the goal of the game is to remove all of the cards from your hand before other players. You can only play a card if it matches either the number or the suit of the card currently in play in front of you. If you can't play on your turn, you must use the remaining cards in the stockpile to draw a new card until you're able to play one.

The biggest benefit of Accordion is that it can be played with any number of friends. Social interaction can be incredibly important for people to feel less secluded in their day-to-day lives, so if you're up for inviting some close friends over you can wow them with your new card game skills! If you're playing from home or don't have someone to partner with, then playing online is another great way to access multiplayer games.

Freecell Solitaire

If you're in the market for something a little more relaxing and low-key, let us introduce Freecell Solitaire!

Similar to classic Klondike Solitaire, the game aims to build suit-specific stacks. However, in Freecell, you start the game with no cards hidden -- eliminating the difficult discovery portion of the game. Four free cells are given to the player to use as spaces to hold cards during organization, making tableau arrangement much easier than other Solitaire variations.

The biggest benefit of playing Freecell is that it offers stress-free gameplay. It's easy to pick up, and endlessly playable! If you're looking for a low-anxiety card game to improve your mental health, then Freecell Solitaire could be a great option for you. You can play Freecell Solitaire online for free at 247 Solitaire.

Monte Carlo

The last game on our list? Monte Carlo. While we couldn't find a tangible connection to the crown jewel city of the same name, Monte Carlo is a fun card-matching game that's simple to play.

The game is played on a five-by-five grid of cards. The goal of the game is to match cards of the same value -- for example, two kings, or two threes -- that are touching horizontally, vertically, or diagonally within the grid. Once you match a pair, you remove them from the grid. As you play, refill the grid as you run out of moves to make. The goal is to empty the table before running out of moves!

Monte Carlo is an easy game to play that's suitable for players of all ages, and the simple matching gameplay makes it a great game to play to relax.

Play online to boost your mental health!

card games for mental health

Hopefully, this article offered you some new ideas for mental health improvement activities and games! Many of the Solitaire variations listed here can be played for free online at 247 Solitaire, along with many more fun variations of the world's most popular online game.

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DISCLAIMER: The games on this website are using PLAY (fake) money. No payouts will be awarded, there are no "winnings", as all games represented by 247 Games LLC are free to play. Play strictly for fun.