In this busy world that we live in, it’s important to find ways to relax and reduce stress. Despite trying to create a stress-free lifestyle, our minds and bodies experience more stressors today than every before.
Taking time to refresh yourself can lead to increased productivity, more energy and you’ll feel less overwhelmed. We all deserve a break, but sometimes our schedule or budget doesn’t leave room for us to have a spa weekend with the girls.
Fortunately there are many healthy ways to relax and unwind that don’t involve spending a lot of money.
Check out these 38 free (or cheap) ways to relax and reduce stress.
1. Get a good night’s sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours per night.
2. Have a power nap. Taking a 10-20 minute power nap can help reduce stress and lead to increased productivity.
3. Go for a scenic walk. Put on your walking shoes and head to the beach boardwalk, a park or a beautiful trail.
4. Practice mindfulness meditation. Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
5. Have a spa day at home. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure, or pamper yourself with an at-home facial.
To ease tension in your back or neck, I love using the Magic Bag. For those days when I’m feeling a little cramping, I always reach for my hot water bottle.
6. Exercise. Working out is a great way to release stress and feel good. You’ll never regret having a great work out.
7. Express yourself through writing or creative art. This can be through drawing, painting, pottery or DIY crafts. Another great idea is to pick up an adult coloring book which are popular now.
8. Practice gratitude. Take a moment and write down 3-5 things that you are thankful for that day. It doesn’t matter how big or small. Good health, a roof over my head and a loving family are three things that come to mind for me.
9. Eat healthy. Avoid sugary drinks, processed foods and caffeine. Instead choose healthy options such as fruit and veggies and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
10. Laugh more. Laughter is really the best medicine. Put on your favourite comedy movie or call up a friend that always makes you laugh.
11. Relax with some herbal tea. While caffeine can give us that initial boost, it can leave us feeling agitated or depressed once that boost wears off.
Instead a good option is to make a cup of herbal tea, which can have medicinal properties and is caffeine free. Some of my favourite herbal teas are dessert teas like vanilla chai or red velvet.
12. Cook a delicious meal and enjoy each and every bite. Check out one of the yummy recipes I saved to my Pinterest food board.
13. Watch a nature documentary – one that shows beautiful video footage of our planet.
14. Take a long and hot bubble bath. Light a nice smelling candle and relax with a book or listen to your favourtie playlist.
15. Catch some rays. Head to the beach or your own backyard and enjoy the sun shining on your face. Just make sure you wear your favourite sunscreen to protect yourself.
16. Go for a swim. Head to the pool at your gym or a free community pool where you can relax and get some exercise too.
17. Check out a free fitness class in your area. There are many possibilities such as yoga, kickboxing, karate, dance – whatever interests you.
18. Declutter. Pick a space in your home and clear out the clutter.
19. Create a creative space. Creating and organizing a workspace can help decrease stress and make you more productive.
20. Spend time with your pet – or a friend’s pet. Another fun option is to watch cute animal videos online.
21. Visit a museum or city attraction. Many museums have free days or hours, this is a great way to explore and learn more about what your city has to offer.
23. Organize your closet.
24. Try my 30-day shop your wardrobe challenge.
25. Reread your favourite book.
26. Visit your local library and browse through books and magazines. Most libraries are nice and quiet, and provide comfortable chairs to relax and enjoy a good read.
27. Create a scrapbook with your favourite photos and memories.
28. Start a new hobby. It could be writing, reading, drawing or learning a new language.
29. Play a board game. Head to a board game café or invite some friends over to play your favourite board games.
30. Plan and prep for the next day. By spending 5-15 minutes prepping the night before, this will give you more time in the morning and you’ll feel relaxed knowing that everything is in order.
31. Smile more. It’s so simple and can do wonders in helping you to release stress and feel relaxed. Smiling is contagious.
32. Do something nice for others. It feels good to give back to the community or help someone who is in need.
33. Get a bouquet of flowers or a plant for your home. There’s just something about adding a little greenery to the home that feels so good.
34. Start a garden. Gardening can help you release stress and it’s a relaxing activity. Plant your favourite flowers, herbs or grow food to eat.
35. Do a crossword or jigsaw puzzle. This stimulates your mind and takes the attention away from other stressors in your life.
36. Have a karaoke night. This is a fun way to reduce stress and chances are you might own a karaoke video game (or know someone that does). Free karaoke songs are available on YouTube too.
37. Capture beautiful photos. Grab your camera and practice your photography skills. There are lots of tutorials available for free online. Afterwards you can share them with your friends on social media, create a collage or sell them.
38. Try aromatherapy. Certain scents have been shown to help us feel less stressed and more relaxed. Lavender and vanilla are popular choices and my personal favourites.
Over to you — what are your favourite free or cheap ways to relax?