It can get stressful out there. No matter if you’re working full-time, part-time, or in school, life has a way of overwhelming you. The best way to cope is to have things you can do to decompress to reset yourself. If you’re having a hard time managing your stress, don’t worry, we’ve got 10 ways to help you relax.

1.     Wear something you love

Young man enjoying time in his favorite outfit.

I can’t tell you how much the right outfit can improve my mood. Maybe you have a fancy dress shirt you never get to wear, or you want to chill out in your underwear; the right clothes can make a huge difference in how you feel.

Typically something comfortable is the best option, but sometimes dressing up can help you relax too. Getting to totally change how you look can also help change how you feel.

If you want to decompress after a long day at work, you’ll probably want to grab a cozy sweater and pajama pants. If you’ve been cooped up inside all day working on a last-minute assignment, try dressing up and putting on your Sunday best.

2.     Menial tasks

A man who swings to throw a stone into the sea.

Letting your mind wander while doing things of little importance can actually be a great way to relax and decompress. Whatever you end up doing is up to you; the more effective ways to unwind won’t require a lot of physical effort nor much brain power.

Let yourself go on autopilot while unloading the dishwasher or maybe try your hand at skipping stones across your local pond. If you’ve got a lot on your mind and your stress levels are off the chart, it can help to physically keep yourself busy while freeing your mind.

3.     Blast your favorite music

Young man with eyes closed, enjoying music over headphones while relaxing on the sofa at home

Most people probably already know this one, but turning up your favorite music can also help relieve stress. Volume can also be important – sometimes, risking hearing damage is worth it to drown out your thoughts. The higher the volume, the more you can just vibe to your favorite tunes.

The best way to enjoy the serotonin boost is to invest in a good set of headphones or a speaker. Good audio quality is so worth it after a tough day where you find yourself getting overwhelmed.

4.     Order takeout from your favorite restaurant

Young man eating takeout at home, relaxing alone.

No one wants to worry about making dinner after a tough day at school or work. Treat yourself to your favorite food at home! Order delivery or grab some takeout on your way home from your favorite restaurant. Good food is an excellent way to improve mood and relax.

Cozying up on the couch with a comfort meal and your pet is a phenomenal way to decompress and relax after a rough time. It doesn’t even have to be a full meal if you don’t want it. You have money. You can do whatever you want with it! Just order dessert if you want from that place with the amazing cake. 

The great thing about relaxing is that you get to put yourself first and not worry about what anyone else might think. 

5.     Make yourself a little treat

Guy in apron baking cookies, adding flaworings to dough and having fun

Tons of people relieve stress by baking. I am not one of those people, but I get it. Especially when making cookies or bread, the act of kneading dough can be very therapeutic. 

If you’re not the baking type, you don’t have to go through the homemade process of getting yourself a treat. Go to the store and pick up some ice cream or see what you can make on hand to get a little bit of sugar in your system. While sweets never cured anyone totally of their stress, it probably won’t hurt either. 

Did you know that chocolate even boosts serotonin levels? Literally! It contains chemicals that set off reactions in our brains that make us feel happier.  

6.     Try a new position

Tired young man is lying upside down on an old sofa

I’m not trying to be dirty here, I swear. If you’re feeling stressed and need a new way to decompress, try moving your body into new positions. That can mean looking up actual yoga poses, but it can also mean just sitting on your couch upside-down too. Get the blood flowing!

It may feel a little silly, but it’s kind of comforting to have your head hanging off the couch seat with your feet up in the air. If you don’t believe me, just try it yourself. I know it’s weird, but that doesn’t really matter when you’re stressed out.

7.     Find someone to give you a nice, long hug

Two people hugging and comforting each other.

Touching other people can help us decompress and relax too. Human touch is something we literally need to survive! Being touch-starved can be more serious than you think. Next time you have a hard day, find someone who can give you a big hug and just hold you for a few minutes. It will do wonders, I promise.

I know that every time I feel overwhelmed by life, a good hug helps ground me and makes me feel better. It doesn’t even have to be a hug from a significant other, friends, or family. If you have an acquaintance you trust or even a stranger you feel comfortable around, don’t be shy in asking them for a hug.

Hugs are magic and one that we often underestimate.

8.     Get crafty

Someone adding finishing touches to an art piece.

Pick up an art project and let yourself explore some self-expression. Giving yourself an outlet for the frustrations and stress you’ve been accumulating is a great way to relax and decompress.

I personally enjoy painting. Am I good at it? Not really. I don’t know the first thing about technique or color theory, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy something just for myself. Mixing custom colors and figuring out what I want to paint is a fun process, and I can lose track of time without thinking about work or relationship drama.

Painting isn’t the only craft out there, though. You can make dioramas, knit, or even create custom action figures if that’s your thing. Working with your hands and letting yourself think outside the box is what is important here.

9.     Go to your happy place (literally)

Young people adding lights to a tent made in their living room

Where are you most at peace on Earth? If you can go there, you should. If you can’t, try to plan a trip you can take soon to head out and chill out. 

For happy places that are still out of reach, try making one at home. It doesn’t need to be something grand, but it should be comfy and have soft lighting. Having a space at home where you can be on your own and indulge in small comforts will vastly improve your mood no matter how cranky you’re feeling after a long day at the office.

Heck, you can even make a pillow fort if you don’t have the space for a happy place to permanently reside in your home. It will be hard to feel wound up and stressed out when you’re curled up in a pillow fort on your softest blanket. Bonus points for grabbing your laptop and putting on your favorite movie. (If you’d rather try something new, we have tons of movie recommendations!)

10.  Stop and smell the roses

An aroma diffuser for moisturizing the air and scented candles.

I don’t really mean smelling roses; I just mean taking some time to smell something nice. If appreciating the little things in life helps, that’s cool too but what I recommend is more about your nostrils than practicing gratitude.

Good scents and aromatherapy are both proven to help improve your mood. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to smell something good? Freshly baked bread, peeled oranges, lavender, whatever your favorite scent is, try to keep a candle around you can smell when you’re feeling wound up. You don’t even have to light it, just have it around.

Good smells can loosen up your whole body and help you decompress. It just seems easier to be less upset with life.

It can be hard getting through every single day without getting bogged down by stress. Having ways to cope with it and unwind is important. No matter how you choose to do it, remember to do it enough that you don’t get overwhelmed.
How do you decompress after a long day?

1 Comment

  1. […] binge-watch movies all day, I still can’t fully relax. In the back of my head, all I do is stress about work, my future, all the embarrassing mistakes from the past, and my general anxiety over […]

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