50 Simple Ways to De-stress

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How to Relax and Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Stress is one of the inevitables of life. It’s usually caused by work, school, car problems (for me), financial issues, trying to juggle everything at once, etc. It’s important to resolve that stress as soon as possible, and sometimes it doesn’t take much to go from stressed to relaxed (even if it’s temporary). Below are 50 simple ways you can de-stress right now.

do not disturb hat on laptop
This post was originally published on November 1, 2015 and has been updated.

1. Laugh out loud: Watch a comedy movie, YouTube video, or TV show; go to a standup comedy show; spend time with people who constantly make you laugh

2. Get a massage: Groupon has great deals on massages. Take advantage of it!

3. Talk to someone you care about

4. Write down your thoughts: jot down what you’re thinking and feeling. Release everything you’ve bottled up onto paper, read over it, determine what you can fix/change and take the steps to do so, and then tear up that paper and throw it away. You can also jot down your thoughts and feelings on your phone or laptop instead to save paper.

5. Read a book: Go to your local public library and check out a book that catches your attention and get lost in the story, or re-read one of your favorite books that you own and fall in love with the storyline and characters all over again.

6. Make a schedule/to-do list: Write a list of what you have to do every day either the night before or the day of, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to do something or stress yourself out by trying to remember everything yourself. It’s also helpful to keep an agenda planner (paper or paperless) with you so you can add things to your to-do lists/schedule as they come up.

7. Pray

8. Draw or paint: no skills required

9. Eat breakfast: simple yet effective. You don’t have to have a large or fancy breakfast. You can eat cereal + milk, biscuits/toast and scrambled eggs, a sandwich—whatever you want! You can even pre-cook a meal (or buy pre-cooked meals) and heat it up in the morning to save time for you to sit down and eat.

10. Be early to your appointments: Leave early so you can be early to your appointments. You won’t have to worry about running late or missing your appointments.

11. Breathe: Stop what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths. Release the negative energy and stress inside of you by breathing in and out slowly.

12. Stretch: Stretch when you wake up in the morning—you can do this while you’re still in bed. If you’ve been sitting down for a long period of time, take a moment to get up and stretch.

13. Take a bubble bath: light some candles, put on some background noise or enjoy the silence, put your favorite bath-bomb in the bathwater to make it more colorful and fun, and sit down in the tub and relax.

14. Make your bed: Remove any clutter from your bed and put the sheets and pillows back in place. Try to do this as soon as you get out of bed in the morning.

15. Do yoga: Set aside some time each day or once every week to do yoga. If there’s a place in your community that offers free yoga classes or if your college/university offers free yoga classes, take advantage of it. You can go alone or ask a friend to join you.

16. Get a stress ball: This may seem silly but it can be helpful.

17. Ask for help: If you need help with a task, ask for help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.

18. Exercise on a regular basis: Exercising is a great way to release stress, and you don’t have to go to a gym to do so. Go for a walk in your neighborhood or at a park, ride a bike, go swimming, etc.

19. Go to bed early: Pick a reasonable bedtime and try to stick to it every night. For example, if you have to get up at 6 a.m., try to go to bed at 9 p.m. or 11 p.m. the latest. The sleep range is different for everyone, so pick a time that works best for you. It’s vital to get enough sleep.

20. Do something that interests you (your hobby): knit, bake, take pictures, write, go fishing, horseback riding, etc.

Related: Ultimate List of Fun and Halal Activities

21. Meditate: Set aside some time every day or once every week to meditate. Make sure you meditate in a room that’s quiet and secluded.

22. Re-watch your favorite movie

23. Take a different route: The Google Maps app shows the fastest route(s) to get to your destination. It also shows where traffic, accidents, and other obstacles are so you can avoid those routes.

24. Read old letters/cards from loved ones

25. Start on assignments early: simple yet neglected.

woman planning her tasks at her desk as a way to de-stress

26. Break down assignments: Instead of trying to complete an assignment all at once, break it down into sections.

27. Take a break: even if it’s just for five minutes.

28. Stargaze: get some blankets to lie on in your backyard and stargaze.

29. Watch the sunset/sunrise: Pick a spot and enjoy the view.

30. Sign up for counseling sessions: I’ve done this and it helped me gain clarity. I attended counseling sessions at my university since it was free—aka covered under my tuition & fees payment. If you’re enrolled in university, check with your school to see if they also offer free counseling sessions, and if they do, I recommend taking advantage of it!

31. Spend time with children: Children are a joy to be around, especially toddlers! Their smiles, laughter, and warm hugs can easily brighten up your day. The time and effort you put into spending the day with them will make them happy as well.

32. Listen to a podcast

33. Spend time with people you love

34. Get rid of unnecessary things: Go through all of your possessions and determine what to do with each: keep, donate, sell, or throw away. You don’t have to do this in only one day. Break it down into sections. Go through your room one day, your bathroom another day, and so on and so forth. If you need to break it down more, then go through your room for a week: clean out your closet one day, under your bed the next, your dresser the following, etc. Then spend the next week cleaning and clearing out another room.

35. Go outside: We spend so much time indoors (unless your job requires you to be outdoors a lot) and in front of screens (computers, phones, TVs, etc.) on a daily basis. Take a break from that at least once a week and go outside: in your backyard, neighborhood, the park, etc.

36. Wear clothes you love and are comfortable in: Your clothes shouldn’t be fitted/tight to the point you can barely sit, bend, or squat in them. Your clothes shouldn’t make you unhappy either. Wear clothes that make you feel confident and secure, and if you currently don’t have any that does, trade them out for clothes that do match that description.

37. Tidy your home: You can do little things on a daily basis to keep your home tidy. For example, make it a habit of putting things away right after you’re done using them.

38. Watch your favorite TV show: If you’re usually occupied during the time your favorite show comes on, record the whole series on your DVR so you can watch it later or watch the show online via YouTube, Frndly TV, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video if it’s on there.

39. Eat your favorite treat/meal

slice of pie on a plate with a fork - way to de-stress

40. Go to the beach: dip your feet in the water, build sandcastles, watch the waves come and go, write your name in the sand, etc.

41. Practice mindfulness: Overthinking causes unnecessary stress. When you start to overthink, be mindful of what you’re thinking about. Is what you’re thinking true? Can you do something about it? Break down your thoughts to help gain control of it.

42. Take a nap: If you’re dozing off while doing something or if you feel exhausted but still have a lot of work to do, take a power nap. You should feel energized and de-stressed afterward.

43. Take a shower: If you’re not into baths like me, then take a shower instead.

44. Say no: You don’t have to say yes to everything. If your schedule is full and someone asks you to do something for them, politely tell them no, you can’t at the moment. If you have to study for a test and your friend asks you to hang out with them that same day, turn their offer down or form a study group with them.

45. Tell the truth: Sometimes it’s easier for us to not say what’s on our mind or what we really mean, but not being completely honest hurts us and others. Practice saying what’s on your mind and what you really mean—in a respectful way. If someone does something you don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them. If someone asks for your opinion on something, give your honest opinion. If someone is the cause of your stress, talk to them about it.

46. Focus on one thing at a time: Multitasking can cause stress sometimes. Instead of trying to juggle everything at once all the time, try to focus on and complete one task at a time.

daily priorities to-do list, laptop, stapler, pencils

47. Carry out a random act of kindness: hold the door for the person behind you, buy someone a meal, smile and say hello or good morning to a stranger, help someone carry their groceries, books, or bags, etc.

Related: A to Z: Random Acts of Kindness Ideas

48. Go on vacation: Stop postponing that trip and take some time off. You deserve to have a real vacation at least once every year.

49. Cut ties with valueless people: If someone only adds negative energy and stress to your life, cut ties with them. If a relationship has run its course, end it. If someone no longer adds value to your life, let them go. Don’t hold onto expired relationships.

Related: 8 Signs an Interpersonal Relationship is (Almost) Over

50. Do nothing: This is technically impossible since we’re always doing something. Well, when I say do nothing, I mean sit down or lie down and don’t do anything. Don’t go on your phone or computer, don’t watch TV, don’t listen to anything, don’t worry about the work you have to do, etc. Just sit there or lie there and do nothing. Do nothing for five minutes, ten minutes, or however long you need to de-stress.

Over to You: Ways to Relieve Stress

What’s your favorite way to de-stress? Share your answer in the comments section below!


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