101 Creative Ways to De-Stress and Take Control of Your Life

Stress - business person stressed at office. Business woman hold

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In today’s modern world, avoiding stress is virtually impossible. Everyone struggles with the pressures of work, a social life, and trying to find the balance between money, work, family, friends, and personal time. However, stress causes more problems than you can imagine, such as headaches, loss of libido, stomach problems, teeth grinding, anger, irritability, lack of energy, and even depression.

If you are looking for ways to reduce your stress levels without going to the gym, keep reading for some of the most creative ways to de-stress and take control of your life.

1. Go Outside – Try eating your lunch outside, or walking your dog after work. Even stepping outside for just 5 minutes and taking some deep breaths can help relieve stress.

2. Read one chapter in a fascinating book.

3. Take a power nap, no more than 20 minutes.

4. Get a massage.

5. Peel an orange or a lemon. The smell of citrus reduces stressful feelings.

6. Hang out and vent with your BFF.

7. If you can, bring your dog to work.

8. Listen to relaxing music.

9. Try aroma therapy, it really works!

10. Find a way to get 5 minutes worth of belly laughs. Not just your average ‘lol,’ but the kind of laughter that makes your belly ache.

11. Enjoy an avocado.

12. Take 10 power breaths by inhaling for 4 seconds, and then imagine releasing your stressful feelings when you exhale for the following 6 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

13. Sing! In your car, at karaoke night, or in the church choir.

14. Call your sister, your mom, your dad, anyone!

15. Unsubscribe from all those promotional emails.

16. Try some mindful meditation

17. Have sex more often.

18. Try hugging at least 3 people every day.

19. Kiss your cat and/or dog. Feel the love!

20. Take up knitting, crocheting, or needlepoint.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

21. Take an email vacation by only reading email for a restricted time period, such as between 10 and 12 or only during the first 15 minutes of every hour.

22. Write out a letter telling someone everything you feel about them, and then throw it away.

23. Take a 5 minute juice or water break. Take a breath in-between sips.

24. Shut off your phone for at least 10 minutes out of every hour.

25. Walk with a spring in your step. If you walk as if you’re happy, you will feel happier.

26. Chomp on some sugar free gum.

27. Write down 10 things you are grateful for every day.

28. Give things over to a higher power, whatever you believe that to be.

29. Jog in place or do jumping jacks for 5 minutes.

30. Drink some black tea.

31. Think on your priorities. In 5 years, will your problems still matter?

32. If you can, bike or walk to work.

33. Smile at strangers, see how many will smile back.

34. Eat some of your favorite foods every day.

35. Look for a less stressful job, if you can. Read also about epidemic of job stress. 

36. Get a CD with soothing nature sounds, such as the ocean, waterfalls, or birds. Play it in your car or at home.

37. Try acupuncture.

38. Get some indoor plants for your home and office.

39. Consider moving to a less stressful area.

40. Eat your favorite breakfast.

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41. Practice some guided imagery exercises.

42. Plan a vacation somewhere you have always wanted to go. Take tiny steps towards making that happen, such as setting aside just 5 dollars a week or trying on bikinis.

43. Cry if you want to, it’s OK.

44. Get a yoga DVD (you can rent one at your local library) and try a few yoga poses.

45. Think positive thoughts.

46. Learn to say NO.

47. Dance. Doesn’t matter if you know how, just move to the music.

48. Relax in a bath.

49. Remember you can do anything, but not everything. If something in particular stresses you out, stop doing it.

50. Float in a pool. You don’t have to work out, just float.

51. If you smoke, quit.

52. Watch some 3-D videos of trees or the beach (Seriously!)

53. Embrace mornings!

54. Focus on one thing at a time, no multitasking!

55. Make appointments so you don’t have to wait in line.

56. Spend more time with those you love.

57. Ignore everything and everyone that is work related when you are at home or on vacation.

58. Remove negative, stressful people from your life, or at least get some distance from them.

59. Get enough sleep!

60. If you can, spend some time around horses. Perhaps take riding lessons or rent a horse for a few hours per week.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

61. Go to the beach.

62. Remove clutter from your office desk and home.

63. Pay more attention to your surroundings.

64. Try some positive affirmations.

65. Embrace aging! You’re not getting older, you are getting better!

66. Take a one day a week break from social media.

67.  Take a friend or family member out to dinner.

68. Get a pedicure (you, too, guys!)

69. Take pictures using your cell phone making funny faces.

70. Give yourself 15 minutes a day of quiet time.

71. Set some stress boundaries.

72. Color in your kids’ coloring books.

73. Look out the window and make up stories about the people you see on the street. The more outrageous the story, the better.

74. Close your eyes for 5 minutes, but not while you’re driving.

75. Do something nice for someone else anonymously.

76. Stare at something blue. Blue colors are thought to be relaxing.

77. Look through old photographs that make you feel good.

78. Try some of the de-stressing apps out there, like Headspace or Calm.

79. Count to 10, and then count backwards. Repeat if necessary.

80. Play board games with your spouse, friends, or kids.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

81. Rent funny movies.

82. Write in a journal every day.

83. Talk to a therapist.

84. Think of your life as a movie and think of some funny lines you would put in if you were the director.

85. Spend 15 minutes just sunbathing. Read about amazing things you have never imaged the sun could do for you.

86. Have a glass of wine. (Just one!)

87. Take your lunch break outside.

88. Take a “mental health” day from work and do something you love to do or something you wouldn’t normally do.

89. Spend a few hours in your local library or bookstore and browse through travel books.

90. Enjoy your favorite cup of coffee, anyway you like it!

91. Enjoy some video games with your kids.

92. Cut back on your to do list.

93. Think about some of your happy times. Really relive those thoughts and memories.

94. Listen to your favorite type of music.

95. Indulge in your favorite pastime such as golfing or fishing.

96. Make time for yourself. You can’t help others if you are wiped out.

97. Write a Christmas wish list, even if it’s only June!

98. If you don’t have a pet, go to a rescue center and get a new friend!

99. If you have a hot tub or Jacuzzi or steam room, take advantage of it!

100. Go to an amusement park.

101. Go watch the sunset or a sunrise! Take along a picnic lunch!

Although some of these things might sound overly simplistic, you might be surprised at just how good some of them can make you feel.