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30 Free Or Cheap Ways To Reduce Stress And To Refresh Yourself

30 Free Or Cheap Ways To Reduce Stress And To Refresh Yourself

When we give so much of ourselves throughout the day, it can really start to wear us down. We are all required to put out energy, as we all have varying levels of time commitments. But, the more overworked, stressed, and exhausted we become, the worse we are able to function.

We actually are less productive, make more mistakes, have less energy, and can become even more overwhelmed.  Like a good night’s sleep, we can actually do things to slow down, recharge ourselves, and reduce stress.  It also doesn’t have to cost that much.

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Here is a quick list of ways that have helped me reduce stress and refresh myself.

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  1. Listen to a Podcast and learn something new.  I like “Stuff You Should Know.”
  2. Watch Alan Watts videos on YouTube.  His voice alone will soothe you.
  3. Take a nap.  Mmmm sleep.
  4. Call an old friend.  They want to hear from you.  Don’t just text, CALL them.
  5. Watch stand-up comedy.  One of my favorites is Louis C.K.
  6. Take a break (click here for a simple website that helps you do just that).
  7. Offer to help someone you know for free.  It makes you feel good.
  8. Buy someone else their coffee at Starbucks.  You will make someone’s day.  Good karma never hurts.
  9. Take a 20 minute walk.  Get outside and smell the roses!
  10. Write down 10 things you are grateful for.  Today, one of mine is cheese.  How do they make it taste sooo good?
  11. Take a long drive somewhere.  Preferably out on an open road or somewhere quiet.  Roll down the windows to enjoy the fresh air.
  12. Listen to music that lifts your spirits up.  Yanni anyone?  I’m so cool.
  13. Write a handwritten letter to someone.  Wait, you mean like a pen and paper?  You can do it!  Stamps are still pretty cheap.
  14. Sit in silence for 5 minutes.  Watch as all those crazy thoughts pass through you.
  15. Read poems or quotes by Rumi.  I’d love to have gone to coffee with that guy.
  16. Spend time with animals.  Visit an animal shelter or dog park.  Animals have an instant calming effect.
  17. Take a bath or hot shower.  Clean up nice.
  18. Stretch out your muscles.  Download The Office Yoga App for quick ideas.
  19. Pick up a new hobby.  Try something new or learn a new language- Duolingo is free!
  20. Watch a Little League baseball game in the park.  Those kids keep things in perspective.
  21. Buy yourself a frozen yogurt (Fro Yo).  This is so West Coast (first time I’m saying that) but treat yourself with something small.
  22. Volunteer your time on a Saturday morning.  I always feel better when I am helping others.
  23. Plan a get together with friends.  Why not take initiative and plan something fun? The planning is half the fun. It can even be a game night.
  24. Take a deep breath, then take another one.  Then, another one!  SLOW DOWN.
  25. Buy yourself or someone else flowers.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Grocery stores often have cheap flowers.
  26. Pick up an old project you never completed.  Mine was filing old paperwork- maybe not so fun but took my mind off things.
  27. High five the next person you walk by.  Then wash your hands.
  28. Go to a museum.  There are free museums everywhere.
  29. Do a cannonball off of a diving board.  Do more things that make you feel like a kid again.
  30. Hug somebody you know when they are least expecting it.  Maybe not your boss but someone can always use a good hug.

You don’t have to do all of these or any of them for that matter.  I just like to do more of what works for me.  In fact, I’ve done all of these at some point and they’ve helped me decompress and recharge.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a trip to Fiji, but everyone can take a little more time out for themselves.  You deserve it.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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