Try something new

A simple way to boost wellbeing

Ximena Vengoechea
5 min readJun 1, 2024

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know I’ve been in a bit of a health rut. And if you’ve ever been sick, you know that your physical health affects your mental health, which in turn affects your physical health, in a vicious cycle that can leave you feeling like little more than a deflated balloon. Talk about no pep in your step.

But this month — despite getting Covid yet again (third time’s a charm?!) and spending several weeks feeling feverish and fatigued — I’m here with some good news. After adding some new (and challenging) changes to my routine, I can honestly say I’m feeling a whole lot better.

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Research suggests that adding new and challenging experiences and activities to our lives can help us to feel more satisfied. Why? Because we’re shaking up our routine and feeling the satisfaction from having actually tried. Maybe our efforts pan out perfectly, or maybe they don’t. The point is, we’ve tried the thing, and that’s something to be proud of.

On top of that, these new experiences can spark and new and fresh ideas (always invigorating!). They may even lead us to meeting new people, which can in turn create more opportunities for new and challenging experiences. It’s a nice little cycle that generates more adventure and more satisfaction.


In my case, I went to a pilates class after six years of zero exercise (outside of my daily power walking to and from school pickup, which my GP assures me counts even if it doesn’t “look” like exercise). To be honest, I didn’t know if I could do it. My body had spent most of the past few years sleeping off chronic fatigue and the constant infections one gets with a young child in the house — not, you know, getting toned. It was also an 8am class — yikes! Could I even get out of the house in time? Did I even own a sports bra anymore? There were so many things working against me, psychologically and logistically. A part of me was excited, but the other part was dreading it.

But guess what? I did it. And while I was not the strongest person in the class by a long shot, I held my own just fine. I made the necessary adjustments for my body and thanked it for being able to make it through class. My body’s natural flexibility came in handy (hello hyper mobility), a reminder to appreciate all the little quirks that make my body mine. The instructor gave me a high five. I made a new friend. I had expected it to be fatiguing, but it turned out to be energizing. I had managed to even enjoy myself! As soon as class was over, I booked myself another month’s worth of sessions on the spot. Me? A pilates person? Well that’s new and exciting and fun!

Not two weeks later, I did another new and challenging thing. (This one was a a chore that really should not have been this difficult, but it had been staring me down for ages.) Another day, I took my son on a neighborhood adventure for three whole hours. Each experience brought a smile to my face and a deep sense of ease and satisfaction to my heart.

My new and challenging experiences may sound small, but because my spoons are limited, they are big for me. And the more (small) new and (slightly) challenging things I try, the more satisfied I am. The more proof I have that I can do more. I have to pace myself, sure, but it’s making me happy.

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Maybe for you it is easy to get to pilates (or your exercise class of choice). Maybe no errand or chore is too big or complicated to tackle. Maybe spending a Saturday with your kiddo is a given. But maybe you have been stuck in a rut and are just feeling a little blech about things these days. Maybe your partner or your children’s interests and hobbies have overtaken your own, and you’ve lost sight of what makes you happy. Maybe you’ve lost your sense of self to a demanding job. Or maybe you’re experiencing your own season of abundance and joy and why not add a little cherry on top? There’s always room for more happiness.

What new things can you bring into your life? How can you push yourself — even if only in small ways — to try something new and maybe a little bit hard? If you’re willing to try, I think you’ll find it’s worth it.

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I’d love to hear what new and challenging things you’re trying (or want to try!) in the comments.

  • I had so much fun speaking at the Canadian Women in Medicine Gather conference in Halifax recently. The crowd was so warm and friendly and I got to talk about listening and sign some books. Always a treat! If you’d like to hear me speak at your event, get in touch.
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  • I’m starting to gear up for the publication of my next book, The Life Audit, which will be launching into the world this fall. You can preorder a signed copy from Community Books. Or ask for it at your local indie, snag it on Bookshop, or your favorite retailer. (Amazon junkies may order here.) Much more from me on the new book over the next few months. It’s gonna be gorgeous.

📚 What I’m reading

  • Rainbow Black, by Maggie Thrash. The Satanic Panic. Queer love. Big, adolescent feelings. Coming of age and running away. American morality plays. Canadian politics. This novel is dark and biting and has its own sense of humor as it romps through it all.

💸 Currently coveting

  • I love a good baseball hat, especially going into the summer. This one is très mignonne, but I’d love it in a different color. (Purple!? Royal blue?!) My kelly green hat slot is filled with this one from Books are Magic, so I’ll just have to appreciate this one from afar.

💌 Thanks as always for reading along and supporting my work. If you like what you see, hit the heart button, drop a comment, or share this with someone you think will love it, too. You can order my new book or book me for a speaking event here. 💌



Ximena Vengoechea

Writer, UX Researcher, Author of The Life Audit ('24), Rest Easy ('23), Listen Like You Mean It ('21).