Stress is a normal — and expected — party of life. Particularly over the last 1.5 years, many of us have experienced higher than normal levels of anxiety and fret. With so much uncertainty surrounding public health and safety, as well as the economy, you may feel more on edge than ever. And hey, that’s okay! But it also means some of your tried and true stress relief methods are no longer working for you. In the past, you may have been able to turn to meditation, a nap, your fave group workout class, journaling, or other tactics to feel better. If those aren’t effective anymore, you may need new, exciting and unique ways to lower your levels.
Here we spoke with wellness experts to discover the unordinary yet reliable, tricks to combat stress ASAP:
Have a solo dance party.
Music has a way of singing the words we can’t speak ourselves. And we all have songs that we can’t get enough of, which always put us in a better mood or help us to process whatever we are going through. Consider making a playlist of your favorite jams and firing them up the next time you feel overwhelmed. Then, dance (and sing!) it out. When stress feelings start to bubble up, it’s important to try and break the cycle, and change your energy, explains Kelsey Kennedy, the founder of Blossom & Stone. “Nothing can do that faster than taking a dance break,” she says. “With a double hit of dopamine and endorphins releasing, a midday dance party is a great way to banish stress.”
Have an orgasm.
Yep, you read that correctly: it’s time to get frisky. Whether you have sex with a partner or you engage in self-pleasure, this type of activity is a fantastic stress reliever, according to Jennifer S. Heslop, a certified leadership coach. “To become aroused requires stimulation, physical and mental,” she explains. In other words: it forces you to get out of your head and into all of the different things you’re feeling and experiencing.
The process is a lot like replacing bad thoughts with happy ones, but Heslop says the added benefit of physical release. “You remove stress thoughts and replace them by visualizing or thinking about… well, whatever turns you on,” she continues. “Let those endorphins work their magic to chill you out.”
Do something spontaneous.
If you have grown increasingly bored of your day-to-day routine, you may have anxiety just from waking up in the morning. Much like the ‘Sunday Scaries’ for people who don’t love their job, daily triggers are everywhere when you’re suffering from anxiety. The best way to combat these feelings is to disrupt your schedule, according to Lauren Krasnodembski, founder of the Mind Muscle Motivator and the upcoming author of ‘Reclaim Your Power: A Guide to Allow Your Passions and Purpose Discover You!’
“This could be as simple as taking a new route to a location that you go to several times a week, trying out a new restaurant or coffee shop, taking a dance class, or maybe getting up a little earlier and starting the day for you!,” she shares. “Whatever it is, disrupt your routine and cycle.”
Walk it out.
We already know that working out can get us out of our heads, into our bodies, and feeling rejuvenated. However, it’s easy to fall into a rut of the same ‘ole fitness classes and eventually feel discouraged because you’re no longer engaged. Also, for those who are experiencing crippling stress, the very thought of heading to the gym or loading up a workout class can feel daunting. Instead, take it down a notch and challenge yourself to go for a walk, recommends Drew Cali, a psychic medium and reiki master teacher. If you can, take your 15 to 30-minute stroll outside, in nature, with your phone on airplane mode.
“All you must do is literally put one foot in front of the other and breathe! When starting out, do not overdo it. Approach with a nice and easy attitude,” he explains. “This could potentially be a game-changer in the long run for a better physical, mental, and emotional sense of well-being and a more positive outlook.”
Find a mindless distraction.
When scary thoughts are spiraling through your mind, it can be difficult — if not impossible — to gain control. One worrisome notion turns into ten, and soon, you feel paralyzed to make a move or make a difference. Before you surrender to the stress, try to discover ways to distract yourself that are healthy. While, sure, this includes the typical go-to methods of talking to a friend or moving your body, it can also be helpful to get creative, says Andrea Dindinger, a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Her two biggest recommendations are magnetic balls like these and a water painting craft. “These fun, colorful magnetic fidget balls help you stay focused when your stress and anxiety start to peak, whether it’s separating them into different colors, making them into a huge rainbow ring or just feeling the cool smoothness on your hand,” she explains. “They help quiet the mind and give the anxiety energy a place to disperse out of the body.”
If you prefer the artistic route, consider the Buddha Board. “This board lets you create a painting that magically evaporates, helping you practice accepting change and the fact that nothing is permanent,” she says. “This calms the mind and keeps you from attaching stress to things you cannot control and to remind yourself to enjoy this moment while it lasts, because nothing lasts, not even the stress of the moment.”
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