75 Self-Care and Stress Relief Tips
You can never have too many.
I hate being stressed. It’s the worst feeling in the whole world. When you’re anxious enough, it can make you physically sick as well. What’s worse, it’s easy to feel like you can’t do anything to make yourself feel better.
Anxiety has been an issue I’ve been dealing with for years. As a result, I have amassed a giant treasure trove of self-care advice and tactics to help you deal with these feelings. Some things may not work, and some may be the golden ticket you need to get ahead of anxiety and its symptoms. Whatever the case, it doesn’t hurt to have a nice list to go back to now and again when you’re experiencing those low days.
1. Doodle on a post-it note. Even if you just draw some swirls. And shapes, doodling can be fun.
2. Have a board game night with friends. Games are a fun de-stressor. Even if you only have a deck of cards, Go Fish and War are easy games to play.
3. If you love Starbucks, treat yourself to that venti size once in a while! If it's Dunkin, get that large coffee size. You get the picture.
4. Make mac and cheese. It’s simple and a fun throwback to childhood. Other alternatives include grilled cheese and chicken nuggets.
5. Buy a candle you like the smell of. Light it at home while on your laptop, reading, or doing anything. My favorites include lavender or sandalwood.
6. Take some extra time to lotion your hands. Really massage your hands, and your wrists as well. Sometimes that extra minute can help you loosen up.
7. Make green tea. Any kind of decaffeinated herbal or green tea helps settle your stomach and warm your insides. I recommend peppermint.
8. Wear a blanket around the house. Throwing a soft blanket around your shoulders is always fun. It’s even better if it’s fluffy.
9. Lay down on your couch or bed for 15 minutes just doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.
10. Buy a box of cookies!
11. Run your fingers through your hair. Massage your scalp. It feels nice to have your hair played with.
12. Wear sweatpants the entire day. It’s nice to not have to wear skinny jeans or dress pants.
13. Go on YouTube and search “cute dog videos,” or any other cute animal you like. Watch whatever you want.
14. Watch an episode of an old cartoon you loved when you were younger.
15. Look in the mirror and say with a smile, “I’m awesome!”
16. Put a heating pad on your abdomen. They feel great.
17. Power pose. Put your hands on your hips like Superman and stay that way for ten seconds.
18. Order in. Don’t stress about cooking, you deserve a meal delivered to you once in a while.
19. Make a playlist with some of your favorite songs.
20. Go for a walk. Fresh air is good for everyone.
21. Similar to number 11, run a brush through your hair a few times. Make sure to massage your scalp with the bristles!
22. Eat a piece of fruit. It’ll make you feel like you’re being a little healthier and making that extra bit of effort.
23. Grab a deck of cards and shuffle them around. Give your hands something to do.
24. Write post-it notes to yourself with words of encouragement.
25. Journal. It’s your private notebook, write what you want without fear of judgement.
26. Color! There are millions of adult coloring books out there to keep you entertained.
27. Lay on a yoga mat and do some wacky stretches. I recommend the Happy Baby pose.
28. While we’re talking yoga, look up some easy and free yoga videos online if you prefer more structure.
29. Read a book, any book.
30. Talk to a stuffed animal. Sounds weird, works wonders.
31. Hug that stuffed animal!
32. Take an extra minute in the shower to let hot water hit the back of your neck.
33. Essential oils! Make them into a spray, put them in a diffuser, or rub them on your temples, wrists, etc. They can help you sleep and relax.
34. Go to bed one hour earlier than you normally do.
35. Take a day off of social media.
36. Go to the library and check out the first book that looks interesting to you.
37. While you move around your house, do a little dance as you go. It’s a lot of fun!
38. Sit by the water or go outside and look at the sky. Nature has a calming effect that words can’t properly describe.
39. Try making a new recipe and talk to yourself while you do it. It can lighten the mood and make you feel like you’re on a cooking show.
40. Do some laundry, or put those clothes you’ve chucked around your room back in your drawers. A quick declutter can brighten your day.
41. Write a handwritten note to someone just updating them about life and to check how they’re doing.
42. Load the dishwasher. It’s surprisingly satisfying to see a cluttered sink become cleared.
43. Get a manicure or pedicure. Or maybe even both.
44. Drink water. Drink water. Drink water.
45. Maybe as a section of your journal, write five positive things that happen to you every day.
46. If you have a pet, pet them!
47. Compliment a stranger every day. For me, it was complimenting a guy’s sunglasses today.
48. Like number 22, have a little scoop of vegetables. Spinach is the easiest for me to get in my diet.
49. Make a vision board: get some magazines and cut out pictures to glue on a sheet of paper. They can be pictures of what you aspire to be, things that make you happy, etc. Arts and crafts of all sorts are good de-stressors.
50. Massage in between your thumb and forefinger. It’s said to relieve headaches, which doesn’t quite work for me. However it still feels nice when you do it.
51. Watch an innocent feel-good movie, or an old movie that has tons of nostalgia value.
52. Use multiple blankets when you sleep. It can create a cocoon of sorts.
53. Take up a new hobby. I’m starting to get into embroidery.
54. Hang out with friends. Company can help distract you from worries.
55. Conversely, have some alone time. Sometimes we need to take a break from others, and sitting in your room or doing something independently can be a nice change of pace.
56. Go to a store you like. I consider Target my de-stressing store. There’s all sorts of fun stuff to look at, and sometimes I’ll buy myself a nice candle, snack, or magazine as a ‘treat myself’ purchase.
57. Download a meditation or stress management app. There are plenty out there, and a quick search at the App Store can give you access to a bunch of them.
58. Call someone you know you can talk to and who you know will listen. For me, it’s my mom.
59. Read a picture book from your childhood. Like the cartoons, it’s fun to go back and find something you loved when you were younger. I loved the Biscuit series, and it still gives me joy to reread.
60. Just cry. A good cry can be a release of emotions.
61. Smile. Once you start smiling, it can put you in somewhat of a better mood. Who cares why you’re smiling? Doing it almost tricks yourself into feeling lighter.
62. Similar to smiling, force a laugh. I’ve done it a few times, and at first it’s weird and awkward. Then, the absurdity kicks in and you start laughing at how silly you’re being.
63. Start a new TV show. If there’s something you’ve been looking to watch for a while, sit down and press play.
64. Do a puzzle. It’s super calming and you can get an easy one of 100 pieces to something crazy complicated like a 1,000 piece puzzle.
65. Sleep in on the weekend. If you wake up early, don’t be afraid to use that snooze button.
66. Go on Google and keep hovering over the “I’m Feeling Lucky” question until it says “I’m Feeling Curious.” It’ll give you random facts and the option to keep asking more questions to learn different things. There are some super interesting things there to take your mind off things.
67. Stretch when you wake up. Stretching feels AMAZING, especially your back and legs.
68. Don’t be afraid to ask for a mental health day. If you need to cancel plans, go for it.
69. Soak up the sun. Even ten minutes is enough. It’s warm and gives you some Vitamin D. Be careful and wear sunscreen if it’s hot.
70. Plan a fun activity with friends. Search online for events nearby. There’s always something fun going on, so see what’s happening.
71. Write things down on you calendar. It’s nice to have things to look forward to.
72. Take a different route to work, school, or wherever you’re going. I live in Cambridge, and I like to walk different streets just to see all the different kinds of houses near me. It’s strangely refreshing to see new sights you didn’t know were there.
73. For all the journal and writing suggestions I made, put them all in a positivity journal. You can write whatever you want in it, use markers and different colored pens, and decorate it. Mine has dinosaur stickers on it. It can be a place to keep all your happy or uplifting thoughts.
74. In your journal, make sure to write a compliment about yourself once a day. You are your own worst enemy, so kick your inner critic in the butt.
75. Think of your future self. For example, if I don’t want to do laundry, I just think of what future me would think. Future me would be upset to have dirty sheets later that night, and would much prefer to lay down on clean sheets. So, in the moment, I’m sad, but I have to force myself to do laundry. It’s worth it though, because tonight I’m very excited to go lay down on my nice clean sheets.
I think 75 is a good number, don’t you? Life can be rough, but that doesn’t mean you have to be thinking about your worries and stresses every day.