In today's fast-paced world we all feel stressed out. This isn't a great state of mind to be in though, because when stressed, we are much less productive, effective, and connected our lives. That is not only detrimental to us individually, but also to everybody else around us.
Finding great ways to destress is something I am always looking for, particularly ways to destress inexpensively or for free. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways, from hiking to yoga to petting a dog, that help improve my mood without negatively affecting my budget.
Ways To Destress Indoors
One of the first places to look for ways to destress is in your own home. Indoors is the easiest place to try inexpensive relaxation techniques. Plus, a lot of these options only take a few minutes and can be done even in the middle of your hectic day. And some of them can even be done in an office setting when you just need a few minutes to gather yourself together to be most productive and effective at work.
Here are some of my favorite indoor options for destressing:
- Reading a good book
- Baking (even with the kids!)
- Taking a shower
- A warm, luxurious bath
- Listening to soothing music
- Breathing exercises
Even though I love my indoor options, I'm always looking for more, and the ChooseFI Facbook group provided some great suggestions. Here's the full thread of that conversation.
Nicole Velguth said, “I started watching YouTube videos and learning watercolor painting.”
Beki Hastings said, “A super intense workout.”
Ariel Costa said, “I like to crochet, bake bread, and go hiking.”
Amanda Sanchez said, “Coloring books.”
Stephanie Nye said, “Organizing and cleaning (weird I know).” I do this, too. It is very cathartic to go through your space and clean and organize it.
And my favorite FI tip from the group comes from Matt Garry who said, “Roll around in my piles of money!”
Ways To Destress Outdoors
While there are plenty of great ways to destress indoors, there are even more options outdoors.
Being outdoors in nature when you are trying to relax can actually make your recovery faster. This is due to the fact that being out in nature has a positive effect on our state of mind, helps reduce blood pressure, our heart rate, and the production of stress hormones. Learn more about this in this article from the University of Minnesota.
With these great benefits in mind, it only makes sense to try and destress out in nature as much as possible. Here are some of my favorite ways to do that inexpensively (and mostly free!):
- Going for a walk
- Going for a job
- Yoga in nature
- Meditating outdoors
Related: Find Free Things To Do In Your City
Our awesome ChooseFI Facebook group had a few other great suggestions regarding how they like to decompress outdoors also. Some of them were things I wouldn't have even thought of!
Vera Kirrane said, “Yoga! Also gardening. Getting outside to watch the sunset/sunrise/nature in general.”
Sam Leidy said, “Walk in nature, go for a drive on a mountain or back road…go metal detecting.”
Nancy Peske said, “Lie on grass. Let sun warm your skin. Feel the earth beneath you. Meditate.”
Carla LeFleur said, “Geocaching, if you need more of a reason to go for a walk.”
Animals Can Help You De-stress
A lot of us have animals of one variety or another. And even if we aren't thinking about it consciously, our animals can really help us in times of stress. Sometimes all it takes is a snuggle or a kiss from one of my pets to cheer me right up.
The main reason why animals can help us destress is due to the fact that we have created a strong emotional bond with them. When we do that, the emotional attachment, and the animals realizing that something is wrong or off with us, triggers our brain to release serotonin. Serotonin is known as the “happy” hormone, although it is actually primarily a neurotransmitter, and when it is released, our body quickly begins to relax and release the stress.
Oddly enough, a few people from the ChooseFI Facebook group actually mentioned their animals as a way they like to unwind.
Andrew Ormonde said, “Watching my fishtank!”
Jacques Arsenault said, “Walk the dog.”
Sam Leidy said, “Talk to my dog.”
If I'm being honest, I do this last one, too. There's no better free listener or therapist than my dog!
Ways To Destress With Food
Many of us turn to food to destress. Unfortunately, those choices are often unhealthy and counterproductive. No one actually feels less stress after they blow their diet. But there are actually food choices that will benefit your mood and your health.
Food can do this by increasing:
- Vitamin D
Therefore, if you reach for certain foods that can help increase your levels of these hormones and vitamins, your stress level can potentially decrease much faster. Some of the best foods for this are:
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy green vegetables
I know that not all of these will appeal to everybody, but if you can find something in these categories that may appeal to you, give it a shot. Here is a more in-depth article discussing these foods and how they can help you destress.
A few people from the ChooseFI Facebook group even mentioned food as their mode of unwinding.
Jillian Kay Cocklin said, “Really good tea.”
Laura Kaplan said, “Drinking coffee in silence before the kids wake up.” I completely agree with this one!
Connie Yu said, “Ice cream and Bravo.”
A note about ice cream. While ice cream is a go-to for a lot of people, it is not necessarily the ice cream itself you are craving. It is actually the fat and sugar you want because those increase your serotonin levels, which in turn decrease your stress level.
But if you aren't worried about indulging in your ice cream cravings every once in a while, then that will still do the trick.
Overall, there are a lot of great ways to destress without spending a ton of money. A lot of it will come down to where you are when you need to relax and which techniques work the best for you. Fortunately, you can de-stress just about anywhere.
Not all techniques will work for everybody, so you may need to try a few different things before you find what really works for you. But eventually, you will find some great ways to de-stress inexpensively so that both your mind and your wallet are at ease.
What are some of the best ways you have found to de-stress inexpensively that have the strongest impact?
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