20 Ways to De-Stress When the World Gets You Down

Text reads Self-Care Tips - 20 Ways to De-Stress with an image of a candle, flowers, and a spa environment

Sometimes you really need to find a way to de-stress. Ugh, like today. It’s been a tough one. You’re not sure if you’re going to explode at the next person who looks at you the wrong way or if you’re going to curl up into a fetal position and start sobbing. THAT kind of day. You're over-thinking, over-stressing, and under-relaxing. You're desperate to figure out how to relax your mind, but you're coming up short on solutions. We all feel defeated at times, so I’ve put together a toolbox full of ideas to help get you out of the funk. Here are 20 simple ways to de-stress after a particularly hard day, in no particular order:

1. Light a sweet-smelling candle and write down five things you’re grateful for.

2. Distract yourself by being productive. Organize your closet, start a home improvement project, get the mental clutter of to-do lists out of the way.

3. Cuddle up on the sofa with a soft, fluffy blanket and a soft, fluffy pet.

4. Sip a hot cup of tea from a pretty cup. Serve it with a piece of dark chocolate or another sweet treat.

5. Step away from social media, the news, or anything that's going to get your blood pressure rising. Instead, grab some takeout and watch a “Golden Girls” marathon or pop some popcorn and watch a favorite old movie.

6. Write down your feelings in journal. Writing about what’s upsetting you can help you de-stress, and it’s more cathartic than obsessing.

7. Paint or draw, even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Watch a blank piece of paper or canvas transform with shapes and colors. You may discover you’re better than you thought. If not, at least the process can help you de-stress and relax.

8. Pick a comfortable spot – the sofa, an armchair, your bed – and get out of your own head by losing yourself in a book. Escape into the story. (Does your home feel peaceful and relaxing? If not, get my tips on making your home a sanctuary.)

9. Meditate. Download an app that offers guided meditations or just listen to soft instrumental music and focus on your breathing. (Here are some great meditation apps.)

10. Go for a walk and be in nature. Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice the types of trees lining the streets, the roses in your neighbor’s garden, the chirping birds, the shapes of clouds in the sky, the colors. Breathe in the fresh air.

11. Pour a glass of wine and pair it with some cheese (see my tips on how to make the perfect cheese plate), a few finger foods, and maybe my Caprese salad recipe or crostini with prosciutto and arugula. Or treat yourself to a dish of comfort food – gooey mac & cheese, warm chocolate chip cookies, something decadent that feels soothing and reminds you of childhood or happy memories.

12. Call a supportive friend and share your troubles with a kind ear. Ask them come over if possible and ask for a hug. You don't have to go it alone.

13. De-stress by distracting yourself with your favorite music. Sing along or get up and dance if you have the energy.

14. Have sex or just indulge yourself. A pleasurable release can help calm your nerves and relax you.

15. Have a mini spa day at home. Take a warm bubble bath and relax into the soapy foam. Put on a clay face mask, slowly massage sugar scrub into your hands, apply a moisturizing lotion, soak your tired feet in a foot spa. Ask for a massage from a loved one or make an appointment with a professional masseuse. Let someone else soothe aching muscles and de-stress you through therapeutic touch.

16. Mold some clay, knead bread, or just get a jar of Play-Doh. The tactile sensation of squeezing a squishy substance can help work out the day’s frustrations.

17. De-stress instantly by looking up cute baby animal videos on YouTube. Be aware that your voice may start to rise as you squeal a little. This is normal.

18. Go for a run, hit the gym, practice yoga, or simply do some stretching at home. Center yourself within your body instead of inside your head.

19. Treat yourself! Buy a new book, a nice outfit, or get a unique piece of jewelry that makes you feel beautiful and stylish.

20. The best way to figure out how to relax your mind? Get out of your mind and be a force for good in the world! Do a random act of kindness. Look up volunteer opportunities in your community. Decide to become politically active. Do your part to make the world a better place.

Try a handful of these tips to help you de-stress after a tough day, and I guarantee you’ll be feeling relaxed and ready to take on tomorrow!

What are your favorite ways to de-stress? Share them in the comments below!

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