Taking time for yourself is a necessity— not a luxury, and thus, we all reserve the right to do so every once in a while without feeling bad about ourselves. On this list are ten of my favorite ways to relax after a particularly stressful week!
1. Yoga and Exercise
I know, I know— at the top of every list of what to do in your free time or what to do when you’re stressed is to exercise or practice yoga.
You’ve definitely gone out to buy a yoga mat sometime during the Summer of 2020, put on a Chloe Ting abs workout video, and found you could barely breathe less than halfway through the exercise, while Chloe herself didn’t have a single hair out of place. You’re also definitely thinking that that is too specific not to come from personal experience— and you would 100% be right.
However, my personal fitness pains have little to do with this article. Exercising and doing yoga, besides the obvious physical benefits, also improves mental health, concentration, and sleep while increasing motivation. After I finally caught my breath and got up from lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling, I felt great; and I’m sure you will, too.
Getting started and maintaining your habits are definitely some of the hardest parts of these activities, but trust me, it’s worth it. You just need to get up, put on a great workout outfit, grab a water bottle, and get started. For some great yoga inspiration and motivation, follow:
Journaling is a great way to release your emotions and keep track of your growth over a period of time. Different types of journals— gratitude, bullet, and more— and journaling habits suit different kinds of people. So, whether it be short points, single sentences, or pages and pages of words, as long as it makes you feel even a little less stressed, keep it up!
I’m definitely one of those people who have watched enviously as others beautifully designed their bullet journals, but had no idea how I could do it myself. So, if you’re like me, you’d want to check out this great site on starting one: How to Create a Bullet Journal When You Aren't Artistic | Slap Dash Mom.
3. Spa Day
Everyone needs a little pampering every once in a while. So light those candles, put on some relaxing music, and do whatever makes you feel like royalty— may it be exfoliating, doing your nails, putting on a face or hair mask, or taking the most relaxing bubble bath ever.
Once you’re done, you’re sure to feel de-stressed, refreshed, and totally motivated to face whatever comes next! For some great at-home spa essentials, visit How to Have a Spa Day At Home: 29 DIY Spa Ideas | Glamour.
4. Be Crafty
Inside you there is an artist you don’t know about. — Rumi
Getting crafty actually enhances the productivity of your mind while simultaneously reducing stress. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a win-win.
Arts and crafts come in many forms like sketching, painting, pottery, sewing, embroidering, and more. So, even if you don’t feel like the next Picasso, you’re sure to find something artsy that suits you and your skills.
I, for one, am not the most artistic person in the world, which is why I greatly enjoy painting by numbers. You might even find a slightly unusual craft to take up at 10 Popular Types of Crafts to Get You Inspired | Crafts Glossary.
5. Cook or Bake
Whether it be making the simplest of desserts, or the grandest of meals, as long as it takes even a modicum of focus, cooking and baking can actually have many rewards— besides your final product, of course. It increases productivity, improves focus, and is a perfect immediate illustration of how hard work reaps benefits.
At some point, you may have been tempted to try out a new recipe, found that you were missing a single ingredient or apparatus, and couldn’t find the motivation to go out and get it. At Quick and easy recipes - BBC Good Food, you may just find your perfect recipe amongst the many provided. And, for some delicious food inspiration and recipes, check out:
6. Go on a Scenic Walk
Taking a scenic walk doesn’t require intense physical exertion, yet it helps improve our mood, ease stress, and increase creativity. For many people, myself included, there is just so much beauty in the art of doing what we do every day. It gives us a chance to either think or ease our thoughts and simply have time for ourselves.
However, both because of the pandemic and threats that existed even before its onset, doing this poses possible dangers, especially when done at night.
If you decide to go out for a walk, make sure at least one person knows where you will be, that you will walk somewhere familiar to you, and that you will stay hydrated. For some extra information on the benefits of walking and some safety tips, visit 10 Benefits of Walking, Plus Safety Tips and More (healthline.com).
“Meditation is not about stopping thoughts, but recognizing that we are more than our thoughts and our feelings.” — Ariana Huffington
One way or another, we have all heard of the Calm app. Maybe it was through Instagram ads, or maybe it was that one time Harry Styles voiced a session. I can indeed tell you that I, myself, have downloaded the app and purchased a monthly subscription (and listened to the Harry Styles session). However, Calm is not the only way to meditate.
If you want your meditations guided or monitored, apps like Aura and Headspace or YouTube channels like Goodful provide just the thing. If you meditate properly and regularly, you’re sure to reap its benefits such as relieving stress and anxiety; promoting self-awareness, self-love, and self-acceptance while improving blood pressure and attention span.
LeBron James, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs, and Kristen Bell are just some famous meditators who all attested to its rewards. Meditation is the perfect way to start or end your day and is a great method of settling down when stressed. For more information or tips on meditation, check out https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate-3/, and for regular mindfulness posts, check out:
8. Hold a Room Concert
This may be an odd addition to the list, but sometimes, we all just need to blast music, bust out a hairbrush microphone, and do a dance around our room that we would never do in public— Taylor Swift-style. Even if we’re belting out the words of others, songs are a great way to release our emotions, express ourselves, and 100% feel like a main character. Holding a room concert will help you ease your worries and help to simply be glad to be alive, making it one of my favorite items on this list!
9. Dream about the Future
If you are ever stressed about something due in a few hours, or about something bad that happened a few days ago, thinking about the far future may do wonders in easing our worries. This may come in the form of designing vision boards, creating bucket lists, writing letters to your future self, or even simply staring out the window and daydreaming. By imagining a time when you are your best self, when you’re perfectly happy and at ease, and when you have achieved the goals you’re working for today, it can greatly increase your motivation; allowing you to calm down or shrug off past failures.
10. Have a Cozy Movie Day or Night
Last but not the least, another great self-care idea for when you’ve had a stressful week is simply closing the curtains, turning the AC up, grabbing some popcorn or ice cream, snuggling in your coziest clothes and blankets, and putting on your favorite movie or TV show. And, you should not feel a single ounce of guilt about it!