Estimated reading time: 8 mins
In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become an inevitable part of life for many, especially for busy people. However, it’s crucial to find ways to decompress and relax, as chronic stress can lead to a host of health issues. Here are some relaxing things to do that will help you unwind and cope with stress.
1. Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation has long been known as one of the most relaxing things to do and effective method for reducing stress. It involves focusing your mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Mindfulness, a type of meditation, involves being fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment.
Start with just five minutes a day, and gradually increase the duration. There are many guided meditations available online for beginners. The key is consistency; the more regularly you practice meditation, the more you’ll benefit from its stress-reducing effects.
2. Nature Walks
Spending time in nature can have a remarkably restorative effect. A simple walk in a park, hiking in the woods, or a stroll along the beach can help you feel rejuvenated. This is partially due to the calming effect of natural green spaces, as well as the physical activity involved in walking, which releases endorphins (natural mood lifters).
Try to focus on the sights, sounds, and smells around you. This practice of mindfulness can further enhance the stress-relieving benefits of being outdoors.
3. Yoga and Stretching (one of my favorite relaxing things to do)
Yoga combines physical poses with deep breathing and meditation to enhance your overall health and well-being. It’s an excellent way to reduce stress, increase flexibility, and improve mental focus. If a full yoga session seems too daunting, even simple stretching exercises can help release muscle tension and reduce stress. This is one of my favorite relaxing things to do.
There are numerous online resources and apps available for beginners. Remember, yoga is not about perfection but about connecting your body and mind.
Escaping into a good book is more than just a way to pass time. It’s one of the most relaxing things to do anywhere. Reading can transport you to different worlds and provide a much-needed break from the stressors of everyday life. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, reading can be a therapeutic activity.
Set aside a specific time for reading each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This can create a routine that your mind associates with relaxation and stress relief.
5. Art and Creative Activities
Engaging in creative activities such as drawing, painting, or crafting can be incredibly calming. These activities require concentration and focus, which can help divert your mind from stressors and channel your energy into something productive and satisfying.
You don’t need to be an artist to enjoy these activities. The process of creating something is beneficial in itself, regardless of the outcome.
6. Listening to Music (one of those relaxing things to do we can ALL do)
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.
Consider creating a playlist of songs or compositions that you find calming. Listening to this playlist, especially during particularly stressful times, can help bring you back to a state of calmness.
Gardening is not only one of those relaxing things to do as a hobby, but it’s also an effective way to reduce stress. The act of planting, digging, and weeding requires physical activity, which releases endorphins. Moreover, being outdoors and nurturing plants can be very satisfying and therapeutic.
Even if you don’t have a garden, caring for indoor plants or a small herb garden can provide similar benefits.
8. Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Aromatherapy involves using essential oils for therapeutic benefits, and certain scents have been found to reduce stress. Lavender, for instance, is well-known for its calming effects.
Essential oils can be used in various ways, such as in diffusers, added to bathwater, or even as part of a massage. Always ensure you use them safely and as directed.
9. Warm Baths
Taking a warm bath can be a wonderful way to relax. The warmth of the water helps relax muscles, and you can enhance the experience with bath salts, essential oils, or a bath bomb. This can be a perfect way to unwind, and one of those relaxing things to do at the end of a long day.
For added relaxation, try reading or listening to soothing music while in the bath.
10. Cooking or Baking
For many, cooking or baking can be a therapeutic experience. The process of measuring, mixing, and seeing a recipe come together can be immensely satisfying and a great way to focus your mind on a task that’s both productive and enjoyable.
Try out new recipes or revisit old favorites. The act of creating something delicious can be a great way to relieve stress.
11. Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing is a simple yet effective way to reduce stress. Techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, and paced respiration can help slow down your breathing, decrease your heart rate, and induce a state of calm. These exercises can be done almost anywhere and at any time, making them highly accessible tools for stress relief.
Start by inhaling deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. A few minutes of this exercise can significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a great way to deal with stress. Journaling allows you to express yourself freely and can be a therapeutic way to work through your emotions. It also helps in identifying stressors and developing strategies to manage them.
You don’t need to follow any specific structure in your journal. Simply writing down what you feel can be liberating and calming.
13. Practicing Gratitude
Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can help shift your mindset away from stress and negativity. Practicing gratitude involves recognizing and appreciating the good things in your life, no matter how small.
Try keeping a gratitude journal, where you list things you are thankful for each day. This practice can improve your mood and reduce stress.
14. Digital Detox
In our constantly connected world, sometimes the best way to reduce stress is to take a break from digital devices. Excessive use of phones, computers, and social media can contribute to stress and anxiety.
Set aside specific times to disconnect from digital devices and engage in other relaxing activities. This break can help clear your mind and reduce the feeling of being constantly ‘on.’
15. Laughter and Humor
Laughter is often considered the best medicine for a good reason. It releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Laughter also decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving your resistance to disease.
Watch a funny movie, read a humorous book, or spend time with friends who make you laugh. These activities can provide a much-needed respite from stress.
16. Quality Time with Loved Ones
Spending time with family and friends can be a great stress reliever. Good social support can significantly impact your ability to cope with stress. Talking with loved ones can provide a different perspective on your problems and help you find solutions.
Whether it’s a deep conversation, a casual outing, or just spending time together in silence, the presence of loved ones can be very comforting.
17. Physical Activity and Exercise
Exercise is one of the most important and relaxing things to do to combat stress. It might seem contradictory, but physical stress on your body through exercise can help relieve mental stress and improve your mental wellbeing.
Activities like walking, running, swimming, or dancing can be particularly effective. Not only do these activities increase your overall health and your sense of well-being, but they also increase endorphins and help you sleep better, which can reduce stress.
18. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This technique involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in your body. Starting with your toes and working your way up to your head, you can progressively release tension from your body.
This relaxation technique can be particularly effective before bedtime, especially if stress is interfering with your sleep.
19. Tea Time
Certain teas, like chamomile or green tea, have soothing properties. Taking a quiet moment to enjoy a warm cup of tea can be a simple and effective way to reduce stress. The act of pausing to drink tea can serve as a much-needed break in your day.
20. Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations
Sometimes, our stress is a result of overcommitting or setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Take time to reassess your goals and expectations. Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and be realistic about what you can achieve.
Remember, it’s okay to say no to requests that will add to your stress. Learning to set boundaries is an important part of stress management.
Concluding Relaxing Things to do When Stressed
In conclusion, managing stress is crucial for maintaining both physical and mental health. Incorporating these activities into your routine can help you find balance and peace in your life. It’s important to remember that everyone is different, so what works for one person might not work for another. Experiment with these methods and find the ones that best suit you. Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity.