We live in a busy ole world, one that’s constantly demanding something from us, whether that be work, family commitments, social lives, hobbies, volunteer work or otherwise. Sometimes we need to take a step back and de-stress. How can we do this though? Here are my personal experience best top tips and tricks to de-stress and unwind.
Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering
– Winnie the Pooh
Top 11 tips and tricks to de-stress and unwind
Read a good book
Reading allows us to be taken outside of ourselves and transported to another land, place or time. When reading, our mind wanders and takes us away. We don’t tend to think about that report due, the fact that we didn’t exercise today (for the 23rd day in a row. Just me?) or even that dinner needs to be on. Reading allows us to lose ourselves and unwind.
Go for a walk
Feelin’ stressed? Chuck on those trainers and head on outside. The fresh air is like a magic potion. Plus it’s free. Unless you don’t have a pair of shoes. But you can always walk barefoot. Though I wouldn’t recommend it if you aren’t walking on soft grass or sandy beaches.
If you don’t like listening to traffic if you walk in town pop in some earbuds, turn up your favourite music and pound that pavement. Your mood will lift, adrenaline will pump and you would’ve (hopefully) forgotten why you even needed to get out in the first place.
Write things down
Writing is a great way to organise your thoughts and get them out of your head onto paper. Writing down those thoughts and making sense of them can help make that headspace a little roomier. And who doesn’t like a roomy headspace? I know I prefer one with lots of space rather than one filled with half-thoughts, jumbled thoughts and thoughts racing around trying to find its match. Much more pleasant.
The act of writing something down and analysing it can be beneficial to your mood, headspace and outlook. An organised mind is much less stressful than an unorganised one. Think of a busy road with no rules, cars going everywhere, no one giving way, crashing into each other. Chaos. This is much like the thoughts that are left to their own devices.
Make a list
When I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed I write a big to-do list. Even if I know I can’t achieve even half of it that day, I feel better having it out of my head and in front of me so I can see exactly what I need to do. If they are left in my head they bounce around and get so cluttered, they don’t make any sense anymore.
I even have a list of lists I need to make. Slightly over the top, but hey, lists make me happy. Crossing them off is ever so satisfying.
Disconnect from the online world
Turn off the phone, step away from the computer and put that tablet down! Seriously. But wait until after you have finished reading this post.
Disconnecting for even a few hours lets you unwind from the demands of our busy lives. I am guilty of checking my phone out of habit, scrolling as a result of boredom. The ever-increasing reliance on our devices causes unnecessary stress and takes us away from being present in the moment. Have you ever been to concerts where people watch it through their phones and not actually watch the gig live? How often are they really going to watch that fuzzy recording again?
The race to have the most ‘likes’ on Facebook, the most followers on Instagram, the blog to have the most email subscribers and the best Pinterest repins is exhausting and never-ending. These things won’t make you happy in the long run. They are a lot of work and even more stress. Relax and be kind to yourself. Life is not a race to have the best stats, it is to be enjoyed and made the most out of.
Turn off that phone and enjoy the sun on your face for a few hours.
Reconnect with yourself and nature
Reconnecting with friends, with nature and with yourself is a wonderful way to de-stress. Hanging out with a good friend, having lunch or a cup of coffee lets you reconnect with the joy of life again. Getting lost in nature, listening to the sound of the birds and the breeze can ground us and remind us of what is really important in life.
Reconnecting with yourself helps you to define what YOU really want out of life, what is important to YOU and what YOU need to do to achieve that. Sometimes we fall into the trap of doing everything we think we should be doing. Things that society tells us we need to be doing.
Listen to some music
Music is food for the soul and can take us away and transport us and is one of my favourite tips and tricks to de-stress.. I have a whole playlist dedicated to songs that remind me of some place, time or person that made me happy. Listening to that playlist always transports me back and gives me a warm happy glow. The songs don’t really ‘go together’ or make sense to a lot of people. But for me, it is my favourite playlist because of the associations it has. Some of the songs I wouldn’t normally take a liking to but they remind me of a person or a moment in time so they are special.
Music has an effect on our moods, soothing music can calm us down, music with lots of high energy changes and ups and downs can increase our adrenaline, music can make us feel happy if it is upbeat and cheerful.
Laugh with a good friend
Laughter is one of the best ways to lift your mood and de-stress. How can you be stressed when you are in tears of laughter with a good friend? Honestly? Forget about that to-do list and let go for a while. Your mind will thank you and you will be energized to tackle it again later.
Watch a movie
I am not really a telly kinda gal, I much prefer listening to music or reading and tend to get bored watching the TV for too long. But every now and then when I don’t want to think I will put on a light movie to get lost in. Watching the telly or a movie lets us put aside that report or that Facebook post we have to share. Relax, do nothing but stare blankly at a moving screen for a while. You’ll feel better for it. Even better if you can grab a cat and a blanket to snuggle up with.
Sit and Slow down
Get lost in the moment. Sit on the deck in the sun – I’ve just come back inside after overheating but it was so nice just listening to the insects and the birds, feeling the sun on my skin. Replace your phone with a cup of tea. It’ll be worth it. Pinky promise. The emails can wait. They will still be there when you come back in again.
Find a hobby
Take up a hobby, something just for you that has nothing to do with work or your life. Something that you do just ‘coz you enjoy it and no other reason. Everyone needs a vice or a hobby. I have neglected mine in the past few months but need to pick it up again. Mine is cross stitch and knitting. Very nana-ish but I enjoy getting lost in the patterns and seeing the piece slowly appear from nothing. I used to play roller derby. That was a fun hobby but my poor body took a beating and hasn’t been the same since! A slight contrast between the two hobbies
Bonus Tips and Tricks to De-Stress
- Get enough sleep
- Eat ya fruit and veg
- Go for a drive
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Don’t feel guilty for not getting everything done all at once
- Be kind to yourself
- Take it easy. You aren’t superwoman (or man)
So there you have it. My top 11 tips and tricks to de-stress!
What would you add to the list?
What are your tips and tricks to de-stress and unwind?
You may also like
- 5 reasons why you need a gratitude journal
- The puzzle piece series – social well-being
- 30, flirty and thriving. Apparently
- 33 things to do before I turn 33
- If you want some more science-y based tips and tricks to de-stress check out this article in the Huffington Post.
- A great article from the Chopra Centre identifies the differences between good stress and bad stress and gives loads of useful tips and tricks to de-stress.
- Women’s Health Mag offers 8 ways to de-stress instantly