They say the 21st century is the best time to live compared to any other period in human history. What many forget is that it is too the most stressful time to be alive. Taking care of your mental health has now become more important than ever.
Here is a list of 30 things you can do to de-stress during a difficult time:
Meditation holds a plethora of benefits for those who practice it. Some well-known benefits include increased self-awareness and concentration. There are many types of meditation techniques, such as guided meditation, qi gong, and tai chi. A simple and well-presented guide to meditation can be found here.
2) Breathing exercises
Breathing exercises not only calm you down, but also improve the quality of your sleep. The 4-7-8 is a well-known breathing exercise that you can try. All you need to do is inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. There are many guided breathing exercises on YouTube that you can try, like this one.
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3) Play games
Studies have shown that gaming can reduce stress by providing instant dopamine hits. Dopamine is the chemical in your brain that makes you feel good. Games can also foster creativity and user satisfaction. Learn more about how gambling affects you positively here. If you have never played games before, maybe you can try this quiz.
4)Read a book
For a healthy escape, why not read a book? Or listen to audiobooks? Books help broaden our perspectives and allow us to have experiences that we would never have been able to have otherwise.
Allow yourself to dream about the life you want, even if it’s not very realistic. We all have dreams and desires within us. Sometimes we get caught up in our hectic world and forget what we really want. Take a moment to think about all the things you’ve always wanted to do.
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6) Eat chocolate
Take it as a sign to grab some delicious chocolate. There is plenty of scientific evidence that eating dark chocolate can reduce stress levels.
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7) Listen to music
It’s no surprise that music helps relieve stress, but if your usual music just isn’t working for you, consider listening to lofi music or rain sounds to help you relax.
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We’ve all learned in school that exercise can improve both our physical and mental well-being. There are many different physical activities you can try, such as running, martial arts, basketball, and badminton. Just to name a few.
Stretching helps relieve muscle tension, which might be something you’re prone to if you’re stressed out all the time. Take a break once in a while if you’re working out and stretch.
Wysa is this amazing app I found in 2020 for users with mild anxiety and depression. Wysa is an AI chatbot that helps you solve your problems and is someone you can talk to about what’s going on in your life. Wysa is anonymous, so your privacy is protected at all times. I have also tried other similar apps but found this to be by far the best.
11) Get Organized
Getting organized won’t just make your workspace look pretty, it can also help you function better. Being organized saves you a lot of time and effort, which would ultimately reduce stress levels in the long run.
12) Cuddle with a pet
A no-brainer, really, if you’re an animal lover. If you have pets, consider spending quality time with them. You can either cuddle with them or just play with them. Whichever one you choose, you are guaranteed to feel at least a little better afterwards.
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13) Chew gum
If you’re stressed and working on something, consider chewing gum. Science has yet to figure out exactly why and how it works, but they can tell you that it works.
14) Laughter is the best medicine
Laugh out loud while watching stand-up comedies from your favorite comedians or watching your favorite comedy show!
15) Take a nap
Sometimes we just need to sleep. Set an alarm and go to sleep. You might see things in a better light with a fresh mind.
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16) Tell a friend
Don’t try to carry the burden alone. Talk to your friends and family members about what is bothering you. They can offer a new perspective on the source of your stress and it can help you overcome your problems and feel better. Make sure you’re there for your friends when they need you too!
17) Keep a journal
If you really can’t talk to anyone and can’t afford therapy, consider keeping a journal or writing in a journal. Often the process of writing things down helps us pause and rethink the way we see and feel about things. Keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts may not be easy at first. So why not try these logging prompts?
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18) Take a Shower
Taking a good shower is an underrated form of relaxation. Both cold showers and hot showers can be good for you, depending on what you have to do. There are also other ways to make your showers more relaxing here.
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19) Put on face masks
Personally, I like to put on good scented masks or use a special scrub from time to time to de-stress. There’s something therapeutic about doing simple things like that. On top of that, research has shown that taking care of yourself physically can have a positive impact on self-perception.
20) Have a Daily Ritual or Routine
Consider having a daily ritual or routine. Having a daily ritual can help you feel more grounded by having something permanent in your daily life. Or maybe you like knowing what you are going to do day by day. Generally, a daily routine or ritual can be beneficial in reducing our workload, thereby reducing stress.
21) Try something new and unfamiliar
If you’re bored with everything around you, why not try something new that you’ve never done before? Maybe you never played computer games or read a book for fun? You can use this list as a guide or make your own list of unfamiliar activities. Exploring new things can give some people an adrenaline rush, which can help them feel less stressed.
Traveling doesn’t mean you have to visit somewhere halfway around the world. As boring as it sounds, why not see where you live as a tourist? You can search Google Maps for tourist destinations and go there alone or with a friend. You can also just visit a new park or go window shopping. You never know what treasure is hiding in plain sight. [Travelling is only an option if the Covid-19 situation in your area permits it.]
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23)Take a course
If you’re the type who likes to learn something to relax, I suggest you take an online course. There are many online resources on many topics and there are also many free courses. Some examples are Duolingo, Coursera, Udemy, Khan Academy and many more.
24) Watch a movie
Similar to reading, watching movies or shows can provide a healthy dose of escape for those in need. If you don’t have a particular movie to watch, consider some Studio Ghibli films. Studio Ghibli movies have very nice visuals and relaxing music, which is perfect for unwinding.
Many people watch Youtube videos to relax a bit. There are lots of cool things on YouTube that you can watch. Don’t forget to set a timer.
26) Make art
Sometimes it can be difficult to express our feelings in words. Art therapy can be a way for you to creatively process and channel your emotions. Remember that there are no mistakes in art, just happy little accidents. So don’t forget to have fun and be yourself! You can draw or create whatever interests you or you can refer to art therapy instructions to get you started.
Hear your favorite songs in your room. If the neighbors complain, it’s up to you.
Put on some really loud music and get carried away by the music! There is no right or wrong way to dance. You can watch Youtube dance videos if you are very interested, of course. Become crazy!
29) Get Takeout
We don’t always have the energy to cook. Getting takeout once in a while never hurt anyone.
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30) Learn a new trade
Learning a new trade can be very rewarding in the long run. Personally, I like to do embroidery because it helps me escape. Crochet is also quite repetitive and can help you relax, which ultimately helps you relax. Other DIYs you can try are here.
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Sometimes the only way to relax may be to do nothing. I hope this list has been helpful in helping you relax!