The more things change, the more they stay the same — and the one thing that will always fall into that latter category is stress, stress, and (you guessed it!) stress. Finding little ways to practice self-care and improve your mood might seem impossible, even indulgent, given how few hours there are in the day to get your work taken care of. But the truth is, these little practices are extremely manageable to fit into your schedule, no matter how short of a time window you have to squeeze them in — and truly, the impact it will have on the way you go about approaching the rest of your day will be insanely worth it.
To make it even more worth your while, these practices are all either free or incredibly cheap, so you don't have to worry about stretching your budget. All you have to do when you're feeling stressed is peruse this list for a solution, because there is guaranteed to be at least one that can help cure whatever ails you. So without any further ado, here is a helpful list of ideas to keep in your back pocket the next time you need a quick break from the daily grind!
Make To-Do Lists
In the minutes after you wake up in the morning, or after you settle into your desk at the office, take the five minutes to account for everything that is on your plate that day. Once you have it all laid out in front of you, it will seem entirely more manageable than it was in the abstract.
Practice Saying "No" To Things That Stress You Out
It might seem easier in the moment to say yes, yes, yes to things to make the other people around you happy, but you have to consider your own wellbeing, too. If you're nervous about trying it, here are some ideas for how to tell people "no".
Practice Your Breathing
We spend so much time hunched over our desks that we rarely have time to open up our ribcages and take mindful breaths to reduce stress. If you're interested in trying it out, here are some helpful breathing techniques to get you started.
Drink More Water
A lot of the stress we experience can be resolved by addressing the subtle effects of dehydration. The next time you're feeling stressed or antsy, try drinking a glass of water, and see if it helps restore calm.
Reread Your Favorite Book
Studies show that there's a reason you hark back to your familiar favorites: nostalgia creates physiological comfort, or a reduction in stress you can actually feel. In other words, it's time to go back to Hogwarts.
Go For A Walk To Clear Your Head
Even a 10 minute walk can have the restorative quality of a 45-minute workout, and will help you be able to tackle your tasks with a fresh perspective when you return.
Schedule Your Yearly Check-Up
We're so busy that this is often something we put off, or neglect to do altogether. But there is nothing quite like the peace of mind of knowing that you took care of this task, and took preventative measures for your own health; nobody will advocate for your health more than you do.
Set Your Phone To Snooze After 9 P.M.
You deserve to get a full night's sleep, and if you don't think that the midnight buzzing of your phone waking you up affects you, you're wrong — sleep disturbances affect both your metabolic and endocrine function, knocking you out of whack for the whole day.
Do Yoga In The Morning
You don't have to be an expert to work this into your routine. Lay down a towel and check out some easy yoga tutorials online to get yourself into the swing of it, or try out these five easy yoga poses.
Draw In An Adult Coloring Book
You can easily buy adult coloring books online in variations like flowers, television shows, and even Harry Potter themes. Psychiatrists have assigned patients coloring tasks for years, citing its ability to reduce stress and anxiety.
Make A Change Of Scenery
If you have the ability, take a day trip on the train somewhere, or even an overnight in an Airbnb. Get out of your crowded city or your familiar town and see a little part of the world you haven't seen before, to get yourself out of your head.
Volunteer For An Organization That Matters To You
There's nothing that shifts your perspective on life quite like remembering the things that really, truly matter — and donating to a worthy cause will make you feel all that more connected and committed to making the world a better place.
Watch Happy Things On Netflix
When all else fails, you can always rely on good old Netflix to save the day. In need of some inspiration? Check out a list of reliable Netfix movies that will lighten your mood.
Call Your Best Friend On The Phone
You don't always have to have a reason to call your best friend if they're far away. Don't wait for the milestones, when there's so much to catch up on that you don't know where to start. Check in with each other. Nobody knows where you're coming from quite like a best friend.
Take A Minute To Step Back
Take that minute to look around. What are you grateful for? What are you nervous about? What do you want to accomplish today, tomorrow, in a few months from now? You don't have to wait for some major life event to take stock of where you are and where you're headed; time is not moving as fast as you think.