Today’s fast-paced society has our lives in its crushing grasp, and stress is an unwanted by-product. Well folks, that’s all about to change. Below are 40 easy– and some slightly unconventional– ways to relax. After all, you deserve it.
1. Get Moving
I know, I know– you just want a break, and perhaps tiring yourself out even more is the last thing on your mind. But trust me, this is gold. Exercise triggers the brain to release feel-good hormones called endorphins, which will– erhm– make you feel good. Yeah, it really is that simple.
2. Drink Tea
…Green Tea, especially. They are a rich source of L-Theanine, a chemical that is proven to reduce stress and anger.
This is a nice technique that tricks the brain and subsequently calms you down. Imagine yourself at your favorite spot– on the beach? The more imagery, the better.
4. Return to Nature
Henry David Thoreau once said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life…and not, when I came to die, [to] discover that I had not lived.” Deep. But seriously, greenery is much more relaxing than the pixels on the screen, and as a result you’ll feel more calm and whole.
5. Write in a Journal
Or blog, if that’s your style. In any case, it’s a brilliant way to get back to the basics and practice some old fashioned introspection.
6. Be Bored
Say what? Yep, being bored can actually spur your creativity levels, which will undeniably get you to have some fun and bring out your inner child– or inventor. In a nutshell, it’s just another way to relax.
7. Engage in Your Interests
Like watching sports? Watch sports. Like cooking? Cook! Do what you like to do– your hobbies and interests– and just have a ball.
8. Take a Nap
If you’re generally bad with naps like me, Sara Mednick’s nap wheel might help. Power naps and naps in general are great ways to give you that boost of energy you need while letting you wind down.
9. Unplug From Social Media
Constant connection to social media can spread you thin. It’s simple: challenge yourself to stay away from anything that sends you notifications. The less connected we are to the vast social world on the net, the more connected we are to ourselves.
This one isn’t new. Meditation is a great way to calm the mind. Here are some easy meditation techniques for beginners.
11. Do Yoga
Yoga is just meditation with an added physical component– and it goes pretty deep to reduce stress. If this sounds right up in your alley, give it ago. If not, try it out anyway!
De-cluttering your physical environment actually works in de-cluttering your mind. Do the laundry, shine your shoes, organize your closet.
13. Take a Walk
If Passion Pit’s song doesn’t convince you enough, I don’t know what will! Taking a walk is so light, so simple, so easy… but it’s an opportunity for simple reflection and mind-wandering plus an added physical component.
Imagine: rainy days, cozy nook, interesting book. Sound calming? That’s because it is. Oh, and congrats and visualizing that description! That’s also a relaxing activity (see #3)
15. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Sound silly? That’s because it is silly, you silly goose. Dancing will make you feel good, promise. Bonus– it also reduces muscle tension, and you can go along with your favorite beats.
16. Talk to Yourself
Before you question my sanity, try it out. Please. Talking to yourself, especially positive self-talk, is a powerful happiness-booster. Give yourself a pep talk. Or, just talk to yourself about your day, about your life, or about your feelings. This can allow you to realize (and then release) any negative feelings that you didn’t know you had before.
17. Cuddle with a Pet
Pets oftentimes just know what’s up. Well, maybe not your goldfish. But owning a cat or dog or really any other cuddle-y friend can actually lower your blood pressure.
18. Listen to Music
Get lost in some tunes, and you will find your special place. Hint: calming music can especially calm you.
19. Be with a Friend
Humans are social creatures. A lot of these relaxation steps involve much alone-time, but the truth is that hanging with the people you like will make you care-free and feel good. Simple science, really.
20. Learn Something New
Challenge yourself. Every dreamed to learn code? Archery? Under-water basket weaving? here’s your chance to have a blast, relax, and add a new skill-set to your credentials.
21. Say No
Sometimes busy agendas can explode– that is, if you keep saying yes. Know your limits and say no when you feel overwhelmed.
Release tension and gain flexibility! Stretching also gets your blood circulation going and does wonders to the lymph nodes, which are responsible for your immune system health. No wonder it’s also a component of yoga, which also lowers stress. Read more here.
23. Take a Bubble Bath
Soak in that soapy goodness and just wind down after a long day. Bubbles help.
24. Squeeze a Stress Ball
This one is a no-brainer. BUT, I rarely see anything with a stress ball when they’re stressed. Try it out and keep it with you if you’re the type of person who gets overwhelmed easily.
25. Look Out The Window
Again with the nature, except this one is a little more forgiving for those of you who have no choice but to stay seated for most of the day. If there’s a window around to, take advantage of the opportunity to see what’s out there!
26. Tickle Yourself
So you probably think I’m crazy and I’m not blaming you. Tickling yourself most likely won’t really work (if it does, then good for you!) but the key point here is laughing. Crack a joke, or even get tickled!
27. Watch a Movie
Popcorn and a movie is a simple, easy way to indulge and relax.
28. Eat Chocolate
It’s true! (…in moderation, of course.) Studies show that dark chocolate can actually reduce your stress levels.
It’s that simple. The physical act of smiling, even when you may not necessarily be in a smiling mood, is proven to still reduce stress.
30. Go Barefoot
This is one of the many ways to get in touch with nature as previously mentioned, BUT it has unique properties of its own. Walking barefoot outside might make you a hippie, but it’ll also helps you absorb free electrons from the Earth and has a surprisingly powerful antioxidant effect on the body, as explained here. If anything, however, going barefoot gives you a natural, spiritual connection with the Earth on which we live. Deep.
Bring out your inner Beyoncé. Pair this up with “dance like nobody’s watching” (see #15), and you’re set as a backup singer/dancer.
32. Treat Yourself
Go out for some froyo, splurge in that clutch bag, give in to a guilty pleasure. Treating yourself is just a reminder that life is good, and that you deserve to have a good time.
33. Scents Make Sense
Try out aromatherapy. Some scents, like lavender and jasmine. Check out this page for a more detailed list.
34. Do Your Research
It’s important to relax, but it’s equally important to understand what caused you to stress in the first place. Acknowledge whatever it is, as it may just be right under your nose.
35. Chew Gum
Chewing gum can actually lower stress! Pop one in your mouth, and you’re set.
36. Find a Relaxation Mentor
AKA, a positive role model who excels specifically in the field of staying relaxed. Find that one dude whose catch phrase is “take a chill pill!” (Not limited to people who grew up in the 90’s…) By looking to others who are good at being calm, you can also learn their tricks.
37. Be Spontaneous
Take an alternate route to work, spice up your morning routine, or take an impromptu trip to your favorite store. We’re so entrenched in routine, but a bit of spontaneity once in a while is good for you.
Any weird emotional tension? Let it go by forgiving others and yourself. Staying in the past is not worth missing the future.
Probably the easiest thing you can do, and it takes only a few seconds. No matter where you are or however difficult the situation at hand may be, taking a deep breath can calm you down.
40. Remember You’re Human
It starts with awareness. We all make mistakes. Let go of any perfectionist tendencies that may be dragging you down, and let go of any unrealistic standards that you set for yourself and fail to reach. So… Relax, remember you’re human, and go reap the harvests of life.
Featured photo credit: Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com