Stress is a major issue in the modern world, and it’s killing us not-so-slowly. According to The American Institute of Stress, “77% of Americans regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, while 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress.” It’s no secret that we have a real mental health problem on our hands, and not just in America. It’s so important that we adopt self-care practices for stress relief sooner rather than later!
But how do you make the time for self-care when you already feel stressed to the max? It can feel like a bit of a catch-22 learning how to manage your stress without creating more of it in the process. The good news? Self-care for stress relief doesn’t have to be complicated or even take much time to be effective. Here are 10 easy practices you can fit into your daily life that will help you feel loads better.
#1 Take deep breaths
If you’re stressed, you’re likely walking around either a) taking shallow breaths or b) holding your breath without even realizing it. It’s a natural thing that happens when we get overwhelmed. We stop breathing deeply, and that only increases our “stressed out” feelings.
Sit down somewhere quiet (you can go to your car if that’s your only option), sit up straight, and get ready to take some deep breaths. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and release for a count of 8. You can even use the following mantra to help calm yourself: “inhale calm, exhale stress.”
After you do a few cycles of this deep breathing technique, you’ll definitely feel a difference in your stress levels. And guess what? It costs $0 to breathe!
#2 Savor a hot drink
For me there’s not much a hot cup of herbal tea can’t solve. I even have a tea mug that says “let that shit go” on it, which always makes me smile and feel better when drinking from it hehe.
Some other hot drink ideas:
- Four Sigmatic Reishi Mushroom Hot Cacao (not an affiliate I just love this stuff!)
- Ayurvedic Moon Milk – check out this free Ultimate Moon Milk Guide for recipes 🙂
- Hot lemon water
- Hot water with mint
#3 Diffuse calming essential oils
Aromatherapy is sooo helpful for stress relief and relaxation. It may be a bit of an investment up front to buy yourself a diffuser and a couple of oils, but trust me it’s worth it!
Oils that are great for stress relief include lavender, ylang ylang, lemongrass, orange, and neroli. Honestly there are so many oils out there, it’s really just a matter of finding the one you connect with most.
I bought myself this little moon lamp and diffuser (use code: GIFTBYBRITNY to get 50% off your purchase) for my 30th birthday back in May and it makes me so happy!
#4 Do something creative
I feel like a lot of the times we get stressed, anxious or even depressed it comes from a lack of self-expression. When you create (whether through crafting, writing, painting, drawing, art journaling, etc.), you release all of those pent-up emotions and stresses. You get to simply “be” in the present moment without all the pressures of the world.
For just a little while you can put all your worries on a shelf and enjoy the project in front of you. Recently, I made my first art journal using this tutorial by Ivana of Artful Haven. I just love everything she writes!
#5 Take a bubble bath
If you have a bathtub, go enjoy a hot bath FOR me! In Croatia bathtubs aren’t so easy to find so for the time being I’ll have to live vicariously through you. When I do have access to a tub I like to take 2-3 relaxing baths a week. I load up my crystals, fave essential oils, bath salts, candles, and magazines and create a little haven away from the world.
If you need more ideas, I adore this ritual baths book below.
#6 Take a walk outside
You know what they say, “move a muscle, move a mood!” Sometimes all you really need to feel a bit better is to change up your environment, and get outside in nature. Nature is so healing, and often we don’t get enough of her in our day-to-day lives. I particularly find being around trees or water calming. I’m totally that weird lady touching the trees to source some of their good energy haha. Ah well – it makes me feel a lot less stressed so who really cares what people think, right?
Free Printable: Self-Care Weekly Planner
#7 Listen to Solfeggio frequencies
This is another hippy dippy suggestion, but oh my goodness it really helps! The bonus is you can listen to these anywhere and while doing other things. The music is not distracting at all, and honestly could even help you focus better while working.
Just type in Solfeggio into Youtube and you’ll find loads of options for whatever you’re feeling. Here’s one specifically for stress relief so I can save your fingers the effort 😉
Extra bonus: If you have a high strung friend, partner, or family member coming over put this music on and help them relax without having to say a thing!
#8 Create a “worries list”
Sometimes you just need to get all of that crazy shit out of your head and onto paper where it belongs. When you keep all the worries and stressful thoughts inside they only grow bigger and more worrisome. Do a brain dump of all the things stressing you out and either burn the paper or rip it into shreds. Imagine that as you are doing this, the stress and worry is being taken away and that it’s being taken care of for you.
#9 Watch funny videos
Laughter is one of my favorite therapies, and it’s also a lot of fun! Did I mention it’s free? Whether you’re watching Amy Schumer’s latest Netflix special or a compilation of funny cat videos, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re enjoying yourself and taking your mind off stressful things for a bit.
Once upon another lifetime when I worked a corporate job, my coworkers used to send mass emails of funny memes. It kept us sane when work got really crazy (which was far too often)! Now since I work for myself (yay!) I watch videos and send funny things to friends to get through stressful periods.
Laughter won’t solve your problems, but hey, it will make you feel a lot better!
#10 Do some yoga
No you don’t need to go join an ashram in India like Liz Gilbert, although you can do that if you want to! You can get a lot of benefits from simply doing a few yoga poses in the comfort of your own home. I do also enjoy attending classes when I can, especially yin and restorative yoga. Here’s a great yoga sequence for stress relief that will help you ground and center yourself after a long day.
To wrap it all up:
Self-care for stress relief can be simple and still be very effective. You don’t need a whole day of relaxation to feel less overwhelmed. Even if you just pick 1-2 of these practices to add to your weekly self-care rituals, you’re gonna see a real decrease in your stress levels. Now, when you do have the time please take that day off to relax and get away from it all. In the meantime, these practices will keep you sane.
I’d love to know: Which of these practices do you plan on adding to your self-care routine? Do you have anything to add? What works for you? Let’s have a conversation in the comments 🙂