Today our lives are busier and crazier than ever. Technology keeps us connected 24/7. We’re expected to do more than ever before at work. Plus, there’s the whole adulting thing – bills, chores, yard work, kids, family obligations, etc.
Sometimes it feels just way too overwhelming. We’ve all been there. So when you feel like you’re about to explode, take a minute and try out one (or more!) of these 20 ideas to help you chill out, ASAP.
1. Take a deep breath. Deep breathes through your diaphragm activate the body’s relaxation response. When we’re anxious, our breathing becomes shallower and our heart rate speeds up. To counter that, try inhaling to a count of four and then slowly letting it out.
2. Get some exercise. Exercise greatly reduces anxiety and stress by releasing endorphins, those feel-good chemicals in the brain. Even a 10-minute walk can make a difference.
3. Let it out. Like, really let it out. Scream. Punch a pillow. Clench your fists. The release will leave you feeling so much better.
4. Take a hot bath. Baths are quite relaxing, and by using extra warm water, your body temperature will heat up, reducing body tension and anxiety.
5. Drink relaxing tea. A nice cup of relaxing, non-caffeinated tea does wonders to calm the nerves. If you’re feeling especially anxious, try tea with kava, a natural anxiety reducer.
6. Do something fun. Distract yourself by doing something you enjoy. Go for a bike ride. Make a new recipe. Try out a new hobby. Staying busy and having fun does wonders for stress and anxiety.
7. Inhale a relaxing smell. Aromatherapy has been a proven anxiety reducer for centuries. Taking a deep breath of a relaxing scent like lavender, chamomile, rose or vanilla will instantly calm your nerves.
8. Meditate. Mindful meditation not only helps reduce stress and anxiety, it also changes the structure of the brain to make it work better.
9. Be nice to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. We’re all trying to do the best we can in this crazy world. Why is it that we have more empathy for others than we do for ourselves? Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself to a massage. Buy yourself a new outfit. Take care of yourself.
10. Close your eyes. Simply closing your eyes and blocking out everything else can be a very effective way to turn off your stress even for a moment.
11. Get outside. Spending time in nature is a surefire way to reduce stress. The vitamin D from the sun will give you a natural boost, and the fresh air will reboot your system.
12. Stay organized. If you feel out of control and that you have too much on your plate, the best thing you can do is get a little more organized. Make a to-do list. Prioritize. Get help if need be. Take control of the situation so it doesn’t take control of you.
13. Write it down. Journaling is an excellent way to reduce stress. Grab an old-fashioned notebook and scribble down your thoughts. Why are you feeling anxious? What can you do about it? What would you change?
14. Play with a pet. Spending time with animals is therapeutic and relaxing. It’s no wonder animals like dogs and horses are used as therapy pets.
15. Talk to someone. Bottling things inside you can be overwhelming. Let out your worries by talking to someone, whether it’s a friend, partner, relative or even a therapist.
16. Eat right. Eating healthy, nutritious foods will make your body and mind feel better. When we’re stressed, we tend to crave comfort foods, but they can leave you feeling sluggish and slow, which definitely does not help your stress situation.
17. Watch a funny TV show or movie. Laughter truly is one of the best medicines when it comes to stress. Laughing is a natural stress reducer, so turn on a funny show and get ready to LOL.
18. Think about the positives. Instead of focusing on all the negatives in your life and the “what-ifs,” change your mindset to focus on the positives. While you’re doing this, take a moment and see how much more relaxed your body feels.
19. Listen to relaxing music. There’s no shame in turning on classical music, relaxing nature sounds, or heck, even Enya. Soothing sounds are a quick way to chill out.
20. Take a break from the computer and phone. And finally, in our modern era, we spend an inordinate amount of time on our computers and phones. But researchers are finding that excessive time with technology is a huge stressor. So try to take breaks from the screen and limit non-work time on the computer if you can.