If I had a dollar for the number of times a client has shown up to a session “stressed out,” I’d probably have a couple extra bills to throw around. Stress is a normal part of life; it’s how you manage and deal with it that helps you get on with the joy of living life. Here are some of my favorite stress relief tips; those that have worked for me, and those that I’ve heard work for you.
In reviewing these stress relief tips, keep in mind that I am not a therapist but merely a trainer with a good ear for listening and with a desire to help. Sometimes bigger problems (e.g., grief from loss of a loved one) are best handled via therapy. Either way, these stress relief tips below are no to low-cost, and range from low-tech to high-tech to encourage as many as you as possible to manage your stress levels.
Exercise! Yeah, duh, of course a trainer would say that, and you probably knew this one. But guess what? ANY form of exercise will do just fine. Zumba, weight training, dancing, walking, tennis, jogging, yoga, basketball, whatever. We all have our favorite way to break a sweat.
Coloring or painting. Everything from free apps like Colorfy, or actual adult coloring books. You can also download free printable mandalas here. If that’s not your cup of tea, you could free form color, paint, and use paper, ink, stamps, paints and stencils. Raid your kids arts arts and crafts box and see if there’s something in there; from knitting, braiding, fusebeads, to assembling Legos, there’s something in their for grown ups, too!
Reading, video games, watching TV or movies. Reading is my favorite way to wind down after a busy day. If you don’t enjoy reading, there’s always video games (like Solitaire), or watching TV or a good movie. For me, electronic/screen stimulation of any sort isn’t relaxing; but different strokes for different folks.
Get outdoors. You don’t need to be exercising, as is shown below. A couple of brief minutes in the sunshine, away from your desk, for a few minutes every day is fine. We all need a little vitamin sun.
Massage/self massage. Schedule a massage if your budget allows that sort of thing. Or, get a personal massager to massage away tension, or check out the youtube channel of Massage Nerd. He has massage techniques including self-help massage, which can help with tension headaches.
Pet your dog or furry pet. Dogs are awesome, of course, and there’s a good reason why dogs are often used as therapy pets in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, etc. Just a few minutes stroking their fur will help calm your breathing, lower blood pressure, bring down stress levels, etc.
If you don’t have a furry friend, call, talk, or email a good human friend when you’re stressed out.
Meditation and Yoga. From walking meditation, mindfulness, chanting “Om” or some other mantra, breathing slowly and deliberately; meditation can be many different things to people. It could be just anything you do deliberately and slowly (TaiChi, basic yoga poses), to listening to relaxation music or slow dancing, to focal point gazing (watching a candle flicker), there’s something for everyone.
I like using the Magic Eye books for focal point meditation; plus it’s fun to watch the images come to life.
Cleaning House, Cooking, and Organizing. Yes, believe it or not, cleaning the house, preparing meals, and organizing drawers is a way many people choose to practice stress relief. For many, cooking and baking is an art form to showcase their culinary talents. Bonus for those guys: clean house and food.
Journaling. For those of you not inclined to draw, color, assemble Legos, watch TV, or clean house, you could free form write your thoughts out on paper or type them on your computer. Journaling will give you an outlet to pour your emotions into, rather than taking it out on another person.
Drink up! Many cultures practice tea ceremonies that work well for modern day stress relief. The tea preparation takes numerous, deliberate steps that can’t be rushed, allowing the preparer to be present in the moment (and thereby shutting out other worries).
And yes, pouring a glass or two of wine while you sit in a nice warm bubbly bathtub is also stress relief.
Go to sleep, draw a bath or take a vacation. Take a nap, draw a bath, go to bed, and take a much-needed vacation if that’s possible. You certainly can’t stress out about something if you’re sound asleep, and how many people do you know that complain about stress levels on vacation? Sometimes, the obvious choice is the least complicated one.