15 Ways to Ease Stress and Anxiety

We're living in weird times- every day is predictable. It feels like it's the same day over and over again. But at the same time, it's totally unpredictable because who knows what's shutting down next? Who knows when we're going to get out of here? Who knows when we can travel again? What is happening?! If you've been feeling anxious and stressed-out during the quarantine, you're definitely not alone.

Whether you're stressed because of school, work, or just anxious about the future, I've come up with 15 ways to calm down and relax, as well as how to actually accomplish anything that's stressing you out.
brown plant in white ceramic vase

1 | Breathe.

Take a deep breath. Slow down. Take a break. When we're stressed, we can't think clearly. Everything's a sort of blur, and we can only imagine the worst. So ask yourself some basic questions: how are you feeling? Why are you feeling this way? What will happen if it comes to the worst? What's the best thing that can happen? Try to identify the underlying reason for your stress. 

2 | Drink a cup of hot herbal tea

As Sadia from Pick Up Limes describes it, you can't just take a mug of hot tea on-the-go. You have to slow down to drink it. The warmth of the mug in your hand and the soothing feeling of the hot tea down your throat urges you to slow down and relax. This is honestly one of my favorite ways to relieve stress, because it's so simple yet so effective.
green trees and brown dirt road

3 | Go outside

Breathing in some fresh air, taking a walk, and connecting with nature is one of the best ways to let go of your stress. There's something about feeling the breeze against your skin, smelling the grass, and watching the trees sway makes you forget about your worry and anxiety. Connecting with nature is a way to remind you to live in the present moment, and that God is always in control. We just have to trust Him.

4 | Light a candle

Lighting a candle instantly brings that 'calmness' to any room. I have one candle that I use almost every day because I know the scent, and it's comforting to me.

5 | Re-read your favorite (calming) book

As human beings, we usually like to stay in our comfort zone. That doesn't mean we don't love to try new things, but when we're stressed, from my own experience, big changes can sometimes stress me out even more.

Reading a book you've read before, whether it's a novel, a poem, or even the Bible, can be comforting because there are no surprises- you know exactly what's going to happen.

Sometimes when I'm stressed or am experiencing tension (especially at night), I seriously just pick up where I left off reading Anne of Green Gables. I can't count how many times I've read it, but I know exactly what happens, and there's something comforting about that.

selective focus photography of opened book

6 | Create a routine

Similar to reading a book you've read before, a routine can bring a sense of normalcy and predictability. Create some sort of daily ritual that you can stick to, something you look forward to. Whether it's morning bible time, afternoon tea time, or an evening face mask, creating some sort of regularity in these ever-changing times can relieve a lot of your stress.

7 | Clean your space

A lot of you might think that cleaning is stressful in itself, but be honest with yourself, have you ever been able to truly relax in a messy space? I can't sleep in a messy room, and refuse to light a candle or relax and read a book until my room is clean. Now, you don't have to be a crazy clean freak like me, but for me, relaxing is like a reward for cleaning my room.

Not only does the result of tidying and cleaning reduce stress, but also the process, if you slow down and enjoy it! Take however long you need to simply tidy your room, without rushing. I mean, seriously, where do you have to be?

8 | Write something. By hand.

Just simply write.

Whether you write a story, a letter, or just journal your thoughts and feelings, just surrender to the pen. You'd be surprised how much of your thoughts and feelings pour out onto paper, before you even get the chance to untangle them in your head.

Writing gives you the chance to evaluate your feelings and sort them out on paper, rather than try to sort it all out in your head.
window curtain open wide

9 | Yoga or meditation

These are two of my favorite ways to take a minute and catch my breath; to take a few minutes to forget about my stress. To not think, not do, just be for a minute. I love using Headspace for meditation, and Daily Yoga for-- yoga!

10 | Reward yourself

Although stress-eating isn't necessarily a healthy practice, sometimes it's okay to indulge in a chocolate bar or some ice cream, but as a reward. Schoolwork got you stressed? Read just 30 pages of your book and give yourself a cup of hot chocolate. Laundry piling up? Wash, fold, and put away one load and allow yourself an hour of Netflix. You're getting stuff done and relieving stress by not only crossing things off your to-do list, but also with a little pick-me-up! Don't go overboard with this, though- if you reward yourself too much, it could end up actually making you less productive and more stressed.

11 | Take Brain-Breaks

You can't always get everything done in one sitting, and sometimes, not even a day. This is one of my weaknesses. 'If I don't get this huge project done by lunchtime, I've failed.' I do this with almost everything. And then I cry. And then I don't get anything done at all. But the truth is, we become less productive the longer we work on something, and more stressed. We get restless and can't focus. So every 30 minutes or so, take a break. Go take a walk. Even reward yourself with a chapter of your favorite book or something you actually want to do. This gives you the chance to refresh your mind, get some exercise, get moving. 
book page on topo of desk

12 | Prioritize your top 3 to-dos

If your to-do list is overwhelming, it's probably time to prioritize. Honestly, for me, the thought of prioritizing makes me want to crawl under my chair. I hide from it, because I'm so bad at it. But when you look at prioritizing the right way, it'll change the way you work.

My to-do list went from:

- blog
- laundry
- school
- work
- declutter

to:

1. design 'welcome' email for new agents
3. write intro for school paper
3. clean out old notebooks/journals

Break your tasks into 3 of the most important tasks for that day, and break it from there into smaller, manageable goals. If you need some help prioritizing, check out my Eisenhower Box freebie!
white cup beside teapot on tray

13. Do something creative with your hands

Drawing, painting, crocheting, baking- you name it. Get some movement with your hands, and it will take your mind off of whatever's stressing you out.

14 | S.L.E.E.P.

I must admit, I'm a night owl. I'm not usually one to give advice on getting more sleep. But this one is definitely one of the most important ways to reduce stress.

According to WebMD, sleep deprivation can make you clumsy, forgetful, and even drowsy. You'll be able to think more clearly if you go to bed by 10 and get 8-10 hours of sleep. (And 1am-11am doesn't count!)

15 | Pray

Without a doubt, I find this the number one way to get rid of my stress. Whether it's a small, minuscule task, or a big, life-changing decision, I pray for peace and strength to get through it, and always come to realize that no matter what happens, I'll get through it. I'm not alone. The sun will continue rising and setting no matter what. It will all be okay. As long as I do my best and trust God, there's nothing to fear.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." - John 14:27

I hope you found this helpful, and I pray this gave you some good ideas on how to relieve your stress a little. Don't forget to check out the Eisenhower Box freebie I created to help you prioritize your to-dos and manage your stress! Please feel free to share some more ideas for fellow readers in the comments.

xoxo,
Olivia

How do you relieve stress? What are your favorite books? Do you journal?

8 comments

  1. Wonderful ideas Olivia! These are all sooo true. Some of my favorite things that I do to relieve stress is: going outside, drinking tea (it really is therapeutic), and tidying up my space. Thank you for this lovely post, as well as pictures! ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hope! Yes, I would say those are some of my top favorites as well. ;) Thanks for commenting!! <3

      Delete
  2. these tips are all so helpful!! herbal tea is really calming and soothing, and it's so fun to make a cup and just enjoy it in silence. 😊 i also definitely agree with you about cleaning up. i used to dread cleaning my room, but now i've realized that i can work SO much better in clean spaces! thank you for writing this lovely post, Olivia!! 💖💖

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree 100%! Enjoying a nice hot cup of tea in silence is one of my favorite ways to regroup- just that 15 minutes of calm. 😄 And same, I used to dread cleaning my room because it took so long, but I've grown to actually enjoy it (as crazy as that sounds)! Thank you for commenting, Ash!! 💖

      Delete
  3. Great post! I'll have to use these! I hope you are having a good day!
    💗Lrose5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, my friend! I am, I hope you are having a wonderful day, as well! 💖

      Delete
  4. Great tips, Olivia! :) When I'm stressed, I like to go somewhere alone and start praying. God is always there to help! Also I love the Little House books. And yes, I do journal (be it ever so sporadic!).

    Oh, and I've nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Natalie! I love that- praying, for me, is 100% the most effective way to relieve stress. Ooh, I love the Little House books! They're classics. ;)

      Can't wait to do it!! Thanks for commenting, Natalie! <3

      Delete

Comments make my day!! I would love to hear what you think, but please keep comments clean. xoxo