As mentioned in the first article on 13 free steps to reducing stress, it is important to take a breath and deal with the stress of the day. Stress in unavoidable, but reducing the amount of stress can greatly enhance the quality of our lives. Plus, being calm and stress-free will benefit your finances as well since you’re less likely to make those impulse purchases and less likely to have disorganized finances. Here are more free ways to deal with stress:
Photo Credit: seanbjack
16 Free Ways to Reduce Stress
- Get a hobby.
Find something to do just for yourself. Outside of your work, family, and friends, find an activity that allows you to have fun. While some hobbies can be costly, there are plenty of free things you can do, too. Writing stories, taking photos, jogging, reading, taking a free fitness class at the park district, and cooking are all free things you can start doing today.
- Take a walk.
The exercise releases endorphins which will reduce your stress. Fresh air, sunshine, and time to yourself will help, too.
- Keep a journal.
Journaling your thoughts and feelings is a great therapeutic activity. You can write about your day, things on your mind, or how you want to improve yourself.
- Live in the present.
This is much easier said than done, but it is a sure way to reduce your stress. Too often, we are dwelling about the past or worrying about the future. Your past is over. Learn from your mistakes and move on. And while it is important to plan for your future and be prepared, you never really know what tomorrow brings. Stop worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.
- Prepare for tomorrow, tonight.
In the previous stress reducing activities, I mentioned waking up earlier than you usually do to have an easier, less stressed time in the morning. However, it also helps to prepare for tomorrow the night before. Lay out your clothes, pack your lunch, and have everything you need organized (such as your keys, briefcase, laptop, etc.) If you’re getting kids out the door, this is a huge time saver. Know what you’re making for breakfast, make the lunches in advance, sign permission slips, pack backpacks, and everything else.
- Look at your favorite old photos.
For me, looking at old photos is one of my favorite things to do because it really puts things into perspective for me. It makes me realize all of the wonderful people I have or had in my life. It makes me remember all of the fun times I’ve had and the great places I have been to. It’s nice to remember everything I have accomplished. It also makes me realize how fast time goes by, and to really cherish where you are at during this very moment.
- Declutter your space.
If you’re like me, clutter and mess causes you to stress out. Take time to go through your home, your office at work, and your car to clean everything. Stop hanging onto those things you don’t need and don’t use. Sell items you can, and donate the rest. Organize everything in a way that is helpful to you. It takes time in the beginning, but it is a huge investment. Imagine opening your pantry to a nice, neat display of everything you have, instead of double buying items and not even knowing what you have, which I am guilty of. I can’t even guess how many times I’ve scoured my closet for a specific pair of shoes or shirt only to come up empty handed.
- Make a to-do list.
Before you dive into your day, make a to-do list. What do you need to get done today? Keep it in clear view throughout the day so you can stay focused.
- Break away from the technology.
For some portion of each day, step away from the phone. Leave behind those e-mails popping up, Facebook updates, new Twitter statuses, and texts from your friends or family members. Many people struggle with being addicted to constantly looking at their phones for updates. This can cause massive stress. Start better habits by learning to detach from your phone and wind down.
- Make plans with your favorite friends.
The older we get, it seems the busier we are. It is harder and harder to stay in touch with friends. But it is great to break away from our families to make time with friends. Plan a fun activity for your friends.
- Send an unexpected e-mail.
E-mail a friend or family member telling them how much you love them and what you admire about them. Thank someone for a time they were there for you or an inspiration to you. Not only will you make their day, but you will feel good, too.
- Take a deep breath.
Sounds simple, but this definitely works. If you find yourself becoming increasingly stressed out, take a breath. Taking a few, good, deep breaths will lower your blood pressure and helps you reduce your stress level.
- Drink more water.
Drinking water has so many wonderful health benefits it’s at the top of our list of Budget Friendly Health Tips. When you’re feeling better, you will be far less stressed.
- Stretch throughout your day.
Sitting at a desk all day is bound to stress you out. Make it a point to get up and stretch every hour or so. Get your blood moving and your circulation flowing.
- Call an old friend.
Catch up with an old friend. Reminiscing and remembering the good old days is a nice way to have a laugh and destress.
- Have a true date night with your significant other.
When you have been with your partner for a while, there is a tendency to lose some of that fun, spontaneous, light conversation. When you are doing something fun with your partner, take a break from talking about stressful things. Skip talking about your money, bills, the kids, things going on at work, things around the house, and so on.
What is your best way to deal with stress? Which of these ways will you try?