I’ve suffered from anxiety for the majority of my life (though for a long time I didn’t know that’s what it was). When my mind starts to wander and I end up fixated on something stressful, there’s a few (free) things I try to do to ease my mind.
Go for a walk
This seems like a no-brainer but I still wanted to include it nonetheless. There’s nothing that puts it all into perspective like looking around at the incredible city I live in. I could have the worst day at work, but as soon as I walk out onto Fulton Market and see the loop looking back at me, I’m at peace.
I’m a huge advocate for minimizing technology. As a graphic designer, most of my time is spent looking at 3 different screens at work so when I have time to myself I like to take advantage of it by not being on my electronics. Read a book, start a journal, cook yourself a nice meal- just be present.
For every bad thing that happens I’m sure if you try hard enough, you can think of 3 good things. While it’s so easy to get caught up on what’s going wrong in your life, I find that reminding myself of the things going right usually puts my mind at ease. With Gratitude Journals being so popular as of late, if this is something you see making a difference, try investing in one.
Check something off your to do list
I’m a huge to do list girl now that I’ve started using Asana. I try to write out every single thing I need to get done, so regardless of how small the task may be, I can check it off and put it behind me. Whether it’s finishing up on laundry or going to grab groceries, I breathe a little lighter when I have one less thing to do.
Run, Do Yoga, meditate.
While exercising in general is great for any type of stress, it’s not always free. I know my monthly Pure Barre bill used to contribute to my stress when it came up on my credit card. But there’s plenty that you can do without dishing out any money. I’m not much for a regular runner, but when I’m stressed or angry I can get around my block a few times pretty quickly. Want to make a habit of it? I like to use the Couch 2 5K app. As for yoga and meditation, if you’re a beginner, there are tons of resources online (mobile apps too) that can guide you through a practice or meditation for free. Try Do Yoga with Me.
Put on your favorite song
This is my default and what usually gets me through every single day. You may not be a music junkie like me, but certain songs have the power to completely transform your mood. Whether it be Holocene by Bon Iver or From Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica, your favorite song can provide just what you need to re-ground yourself. Feel free to head over to my spotify for some inspiration.
Go to a local animal shelter
I think this explains itself. Who doesn’t love animals? Search local animal shelters here.
Drink a cup of tea
It took me awhile to actually begin to enjoy tea but before I did, the process still always helped to relax me. There’s something about focusing in on boiling water, letting the tea steep, mixing in additions and taking that first sip that clears away other distracting thoughts. I like to drink a cup of chamomile tea at night to wind down before bed.
Take a hot shower, do a face mask, pamper yourself.
While I think self care is important in the bigger picture of health and wellness, it’s definitely most needed when your mind is busy. So treat yourself. Take a bubble bath, do a mud mask, paint your nails. When your relaxation is put as your main priority, everything else starts to fall away.
Dance it out
This is for my Grey’s Anatomy lovers. It kind of branches off from the favorite song suggestion, but with a little more energy. This definitely isn’t for the people who take themselves too seriously. Simply, put on a song and dance until you feel better. (See here the most gut wrenching dance it out of all time, missin’ you Cristina Yang.) You don’t have to be graceful, just get your energy out!
This is last solely because I’m sure I’m part of a very small percentage of people who finds cleaning therapeutic. Grab some lysol wipes, a swiffer, and get to it! Your home (and probably your roommate) will thank you.
What are some of your stress relieving practices? What do you find is worth spending a little extra cash for peace of mind?