21 Stress Relief Activities to Do at Home
Stress is inevitable. We’re wired to react to stressful things because that response lets us know that something is wrong.
Unfortunately, in our crazy world, there is a lot to be stressed about, even if those things aren't life threatening.
It’s super important to get better at dealing with stress since it can take a serious toll on both our mind and body (1). One piece of the stress puzzle – which is what this post is all about – is relieving stress through self-care so that we can feel rested, recharged and sane enough to take on life again.
In this post, we're sharing 21 self-care activities you can do at home to relieve stress.
Get Familiar With Your Stress
First things first, it’s important to get familiar with your stress. The more you understand it, the better you’ll be able to cope with it and find methods that relieve stress for you.
Here are a few things to take note of (and maybe journal on!):
- What causes you stress? (list everything)
- How do you naturally react? (your subconscious response)
- What intentional methods in the past have helped you deal with stress the most?
Take some time to really reflect on your experience with stress before you more forward. And really tune in to what YOU need.
Courtney Carver from Be More With Less talks about ‘putting your hand on your heart‘ practice. You get quiet, put your hand on your heart, and just tune into yourself. It’s a really beautiful practice of showing self-love and connecting deeper with yourself. It’s one I’ve taken a liking to when I’m feeling stressed and not sure what to do about it.
If you stay surface level with understanding your stress, you’re going to give yourself surface level stress relief. Dive deep, get a little uncomfortable and really get to know your stress so that you can address it fully. You’re worth it.
21 Stress Relief Activities & Ideas
If you do nothing else, rest.
Rest is the number one way to calm your mind and give your body the time it needs to heal and recover from stress. Rest doesn’t mean you’re being lazy or not dealing with your stress. Not at all.
It’s often truly necessary to be able to recharge and be fully present for life again.
2. Create a Self-Care Retreat at Home Retreat
If life is extra stressful, you might take an afternoon or a weekend to create your own at-home retreat where you can fully relax and pamper yourself. You can learn how to create your own retreat here: How To Create A Self-Care Retreat At Home
Journaling is a great way to work through your stress.
All of our thoughts and emotions get trapped in our heads, making it hard to let them go or fully understanding then. Getting things onto paper can help you sort through them and clear your head.
You might journal to get a deeper understanding of your stress. Or, you could write everything that is causing you stress and all of your worries so that you can let them go.
4. Figure Out What Is In Your Control and What Isn’t
There’s a lot in life that we simply can’t control. And a lot of the things we can’t control also cause us stress.
Make a list of everything that you can and can’t control about the stressful situation that you’re in. Then, use this list to help focus your energy on what you can control and let go of what you can’t.
5. Create An Action Plan
If your stress causes you to endlessly worry about the future, then it might be helpful to create an action plan.
You don’t need a perfectly laid plan here. You just want enough of a plan to help swap your worries for action steps. Use a journal and your list of things you can’t control to help guide your action plan.
6. Do Yoga
Yoga is great for stress relief because of the mind-body experience it creates. Stress happens in the mind AND body so it’s important to tend to both.
We absolutely love Yoga With Adriene, here are a few of her free yoga videos specifically for stress:
- Yoga For Anxiety & Stress (28 min.)
- Quick Stress Fix (5 min.)
- Yoga To Heal Stress (20 min.)
- Yoga For Stress Management (32 min.)
- Stress Melt – 26 Min Yoga Break (26 min.)
7. Connect With What Matters Most
When life feels stressful, make sure you take time to connect to what matters most.
In stressful times, reconnect with your values, intentions, and priorities. This will help you ensure you’re tending to all the important things in life despite the stress. It can also help you relieve some of the stress by reminding you what is truly important.
8. Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude is a direct path to happiness. Our brains are wired to focus on the negative. So, taking the time to express gratitude every day –especially stressful days – can help us remember all of the good things in our life.
9. Diffuse Essential Oils
If you know me, you know I’m a lover of essential oils. And stress relief essential oils are probably my absolute favorite. Lavender is always a great go-to.
Any sort of soothing art is a great stress-relieving activity. But I like to use coloring as an example because you don’t have to be an artist to do it and it takes minimal effort.
There’s something so calming about just focusing on filling each space with color. And when done quietly and attentively, coloring is a great mindfulness activity.
11. Do A Craft
Just like coloring, doing a relaxing craft can help calm your nerves and focus your mind on something else. And if you’re a crafty person, it’s an opportunity to focus your attention on something you love instead of your stress.
You might try needlepoint, weaving, woodworking, or even scrap-booking. Anything that helps you refocus your mind on creating.
12. Read something Inspiring
As I said, our brains are wired to focus on negative things. It’s a built-in survival tactic. So, it’s really important to counteract this tendency. A great way to do that is to read something inspiring.
You might read a post from your favorite blog, hop onto an inspiring Instagram account, or pick up a motivating book.
Meditation can relieve stress because it helps create space in your mind for the stress to live without taking us over. It can also help you find calm and clarity during stressful times.
14. Take A Bath Or Shower
Taking a bath or shower is a relaxing activity that can help you unplug from technology and find a sense of calm. There’s something about water that helps us feel refreshed and renewed. It’s also a great way to relieve stress fast.
15. Tend To Your Health
Our stress response can be heightened if we aren’t tending to our physical needs. So, when you’re feeling stressed, take a moment to check-in and see what you need.
Do you need nourishing food? A good stretch? Supplements? Sleep?
Tending to your health can help reduce stress in the moment and prep you to handle future stress better.
Technology can be a huge stress point. There’s all the work that needs to be done and all of the information that is constantly being thrown at us from the news and social media. If you’re finding yourself stressed out because of technology, then it’s time to unplug.
Find a time to unplug that works for you. This might mean choosing a certain time each evening to stop using technology. Or, you might choose a whole day to do a digital detox.
Not only will unplugging help you reduce the causes of stress, but it will also help you make time for more of what matters and things that will help relieve your stress.
17. Slow Down
You know what’s stressful? Trying to do 8 million things at once when you really only have time for 3.
When you’re stressed, take time to get crystal clear about what’s most important. Decide what your top priorities are and instead of trying to do everything, just focus on the most important things.
Slow down to tend to your needs. Slow down to enjoy the little things that relieve stress. Slow down and let go of things that don’t really matter that much.
18. Connect With Nature
All through my time as an interior designer I came across LOADS of research about the effect of nature on our well-being. As designers, we tried to incorporate nature and a connection to the outdoors into our designs as much as possible. My point is – connecting with nature is super important and often very healing.
We come from nature, so of course connecting with nature can help us relieve stress. You can do this in a variety of ways.
The best way to connect with nature is to go for a walk outside (or, forest bathing, as some call it). But you can also situate yourself by a bright window while you read, get house plants, or spend time in your yard.
19. Use Your Pressure Points
Using pressure points is something I’m pretty new to, but I love giving myself foot and neck massages. I’m excited to dive into learning more about pressure points soon.
Here’s a passage from this Healthline article: “Acupressure is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that may provide temporary relief from anxiety symptoms. It involves stimulating pressure points in your body, either on your own or with the help of a professional.”
Head here to learn 6 Pressure Points For Anxiety Relief.
20. Talk To Someone
There are a couple ways that talking to someone can relieve stress.
First, talking to someone can help us let go of our stress and worry. We often keep things bottled up inside, and simply talking out your problems with someone can help you let go of them.
Second, talking with someone you can are about can relieve stress because of the connection you feel with them, knowing there to support you and be with you. We’re social creatures (even us introverts), so we need social interaction, especially in stressful times.
21. Spend Time With Your Pets
We can all agree that pets make us feel better. I can’t imagine not having cats, even on the days when they drive me nuts.
Pets make us feel like we aren’t alone, they bring us to the present moment, and their energy can be very calming. They also fulfill our need for physical touch and can raise our spirits by making us smile (2).
We hope this article helps you spend a little more time on self-care, you're well worth it.
And don't forget to snag your free copy of Essential Oils for Self-Care