There are lots of ways to release stress, but sometimes you have a short time. This list of stress relief activities will take you less than 10 minutes each!
Stress Release Activities
Everyone deals with stress. Whether it’s handling a difficult task at work, managing the kids’ schedules, helping aging parents, or having a hard time with finances or your health, stress is a part of life.
The difference between the present moment and 100 years ago, though, is how much stress we are expected to cope with. With information and news at our fingertips and all of the pressures of society, it’s a wonder that many people get through the day as well as they do.
It is incredibly important to find ways to deal with stress. And while cognitive behavioral therapy, dietary supplements, and regular exercise are beneficial to a healthy life, sometimes you need something that you can do at a moment’s notice. Something just for you in the few minutes you have available.
There may never be a good time to decompress, but if you have even a little bit of time, there are helpful things that you can do.
How Does Stress Affect Your Body?
We have all heard that stress can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health, but what does that actually mean?
Studies show that chronic stress puts you at risk for an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and heart attack. It can lead to decreased energy levels and an overreactive nervous system, leading your body to believe it is in constant “fight or flight” mode.
It can also lead to an exacerbation of chronic pain conditions, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, depression, and mood changes.
At the end of the day, it is safe to say that an increase in stress hormones affects your body in a myriad of different ways, each complicating another.
Make Good Choices In Stress Management
Because stress can take such a toll on your body, it is vitally important to find healthy ways to manage stressful situations on a regular basis.
This list of stress-relieving activities has something for everyone. They are relaxation techniques that won’t take much time, but they will help with your physical and emotional well-being.
When you are managing a stressful time or just having a bad day, the good news is that there is something that you can do about it.
Decide what the best stress relief activities are for you and let the rest go. Or try one thing one day and something else the next day. You will figure out the best ways to help yourself and – if you are a planner – you can even create a little stress-combating to-do list throughout the week.
40+ Stress-Relief Activities
Do them all or choose your favorites, but here are some healthy habits that you can get behind.
1. Listen to your favorite music. Music can be the best medicine in lots of situations.
2. Go for a short walk in a local park or green spaces near you. Engaging with nature is an excellent way to get yourself out of your head.
3. Call up a friend you haven’t talked to in ages. This will remind you that you have social support outside of those you think of every day.
4. Dip your feet in hot water for a few moments. Feel free to add bath salts to make it a more soothing experience.
5. Take a hot shower or a cold shower. Hot showers have been linked to reduced anxiety and cold showers have been linked to stress reduction due to increased blood flow. Both will help your stress levels.
6. Pamper yourself with a face mask. A nice option for the end of a long day.
7. Engage in a short but high-intensity workout. Physical activity is a great way to redirect your stress.
8. Read a book. Escaping into someone else’s world for a short time can lower stress quickly.
9. Practice deep breathing exercises. Take five deep breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Just because something feels cliché doesn’t mean that it’s not great for stress relief.
10. Light some candles and/or pour out some potpourri. Change the ambiance of your environment and make it smell like heaven.
11. Paint or color something. Engage in a fun activity that will help you focus outward and be creative.
12. Play with your pets. Our favorite creatures provide stress relief just by being with them.
13. Look through some old photographs. Treat yourself to a combination of nostalgia and happy times.
14. Just lie down, and do nothing. Try to be present, blocking everything else from your mind. If that is difficult, sing a song inside your head and focus on your breaths.
15. Go into your backyard or onto a balcony and breathe in the fresh air. Particularly on a sunny day, allow the warmth and sounds of nature to calm your senses.
16. Take a very short nap. If you are not getting enough sleep, a power nap could be a really good idea. Lie down in a quiet place and close your eyes. If you can’t sleep, do your best to rest. A 10-minute nap is great, but if you can take 20 or 30 minutes, do that.
17. Imagine yourself in front of a breathtaking view. Whether you are a mountain person or a beach person, close your eyes and visualize a wonderful place. Envision the sights, the sounds, and anyone else who may be there with you. Hold that vision for a few minutes and then open your eyes.
18. Practice journaling. Write about your day, something that’s bothering you, or something that made you feel good.
19. Engage in a short Zumba or Youtube workout. Choose some kind of physical exercise that you haven’t done before. Try to have fun with it and you may find a new favorite outlet for producing your feel-good endorphins.
20. Collect some flowers, seashells, or rocks. Keep them in a jar, display them in your home, give them to someone, or rehome them somewhere else outside.
21. Watch some old home movies. Take yourself out of your daily routine and surround yourself with beautiful memories.
22. Knit something. Even if it’s a long term activity, there is no reason that you can’t create it in bits and pieces.
23. Tend to your garden, water the plants, or plant a new tree. You can even make use of old glass jars to make planters out of them.
24. Have a cup of coffee. Whether you brew it yourself or go through a drive-thru, a coffee break can be a huge help. If you don’t drink much caffeine, opt for decaf coffee, a cup of tea, or hot chocolate.
25. Hug a loved one. Focusing on physical touch and social connections are effective ways of grounding yourself.
26. Watch a stand-up comedy show. While tons of screen time isn’t a great idea for anyone, laughter is one of the best stress relievers.
27. Give your feet, legs, or hands a hot oil massage. Even better if you find someone to do it for you.
28. Go biking or for a short drive. One of the most simple ways to get out of a stressful situation is to quite literally get out of the situation for a few minutes.
29. Eat your favorite food, favorite dessert, or favorite snack. Occasionally your physical health needs to take a backseat to your cravings. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous position if you have diabetes or other health concerns that limit your foods, but have something that makes you feel satisfied and happy.
30. Be as comfy as you can. Get into your most comfortable pajamas and cute slippers.
31. Give yourself a manicure. During times of stress, this will provide you with a reminder of how you took care of yourself, whether you use color nail polish or clear.
32. Squeeze a stress ball. This stress-relief activity was made for these moments.
33. Organize a closet, a desk, or a bin. When you feel less cluttered on the outside, you’ll feel less out of control on the inside.
34. Punch a pillow. Sometimes you have to get those negative thoughts and feelings out of your body and you won’t hurt yourself or anything else by taking it out on a pillow.
35. Do a quick stretch session. Stretching out each of your limbs, your fingers, your neck, and your shoulders is plenty if you don’t have time or a place for aerobic exercise. It can also be a beneficial way to ward off physical pain by keeping your muscles and joints flexible.
36. Stay away from gadgets. While the online world has become an ever-present part of daily life, social media in particular can induce a huge stress response. Try not to reach for your phone whenever you have ten free minutes.
37. Chat with your closest family member. If you don’t have any family members you are close to, chat with one of your close friends who feels like family.
38. Play board games or cards with someone around you. Whether you’re playing with your family or team members at work, a few minutes of healthy competition is good for everyone.
39. Listen to soothing wave sounds. Mindfulness meditation comes in many forms, so take a few minutes and focus on the waves through an app on your phone or a sound machine.
40. Sing to your favorite song at the top of your lungs. Screaming and shouting can be a great stress reliever, but singing will be just as effective.
41. Put on some vibey music and dance around the room. Even if you’re not in the mood, that should change within a few minutes.
42. Engage in progressive muscle relaxation. Start relaxing the muscles at the top of your head, move down to your facial muscles, and continue releasing muscle tension until you reach the tip of your toes.
The next time that you’re overwhelmed and stressed, instead of giving in to the heat of the moment, do something to help yourself. The more you engage in stress relief, the more restful sleep you will get and the greater the sense of achievement you will feel.
All of this snowballs into everything feeling a little bit easier. Do yourself a favor and don’t hold it all in. Pamper yourself just a little bit and you’ll reap the mental health rewards.