99 Free or Virtually Free Ways to De-Stress

By Sonja Stewart on 5 April 2011 (Updated 7 July 2014) 5 comments

There's no way around it — life is stressful. In between schedules, working, making ends meet, and spending time with family, there's very little time to unwind. When stressful situations happen (and these days, who isn't anxious?), it's important to take a step back and re-focus on your center. If you have no idea where that is, you are definitely overdue for some de-stressing in your life. Here are ways to de-stress yourself, instantly, effectively, and legally. (See also: Feeling stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life)

  1. Read a book.
  2. Look through magazines.
  3. Play an instrument.
  4. Go for a walk.
  5. Throw a ball for your dog.
  6. Read to your kids.
  7. Have sex.
  8. Play Solitaire.
  9. Go for a hike.
  10. Throw away ten things from your basement/garage.
  11. Practice yoga.
  12. Write a poem.
  13. Write a love letter.
  14. Write a “Thank You” note.
  15. Pray.
  16. Take a bath.
  17. Browse a catalog.
  18. Pet your cat.
  19. Listen to Brazilian Jazz (I highly recommend Antonio Carlos Jobim).
  20. Give yourself a manicure.
  21. Give yourself a facial.
  22. Put on sweat pants.
  23. Light candles and turn off the lights.
  24. Sit in front of a lighted fireplace.
  25. Paint a piece of furniture.
  26. Use Chinese stress balls.
  27. Sing.
  28. Drink peppermint tea.
  29. Drink warm milk with honey.
  30. Practice deep breathing techniques.
  31. Dance alone in your room to your favorite music.
  32. Doodle.
  33. Cook.
  34. Go for a drive (away from traffic).
  35. Garden ( I have never seen a stressed out gardener).
  36. Make bread.
  37. Piece together a puzzle.
  38. Do a crossword puzzle.
  39. Do a Sudoku puzzle.
  40. Watch a funny movie.
  41. Look at travel sites.
  42. Listen to records (how retro).
  43. Quilt.
  44. Scrapbook.
  45. Shoot hoops.
  46. Jog.
  47. Laugh.
  48. Eat chocolate.
  49. Cry.
  50. Smell flowers.
  51. Hug your children (or borrow someone else's, preferably someone you know).
  52. Go shopping.
  53. Call your mom.
  54. Call your best friend.
  55. Take pictures.
  56. Watch birds.
  57. Ride a bike.
  58. Roller skate.
  59. Sit in a coffee shop.
  60. Go to antique stores.
  61. Go to thrift stores.
  62. Go to garage sales.
  63. Sew.
  64. Knit.
  65. Crochet.
  66. Have a hot shower.
  67. Put Christmas lights up in your living room.
  68. Slow dance.
  69. Drink hot chocolate.
  70. Make lemonade.
  71. Watercolor.
  72. Color with crayons.
  73. Finger paint.
  74. Play with Play-Doh, with or without kids.
  75. Make a craft.
  76. Make your bed, then take a nap in it.
  77. Paint a wall.
  78. Press flowers.
  79. Watch a black and white movie.
  80. Watch a sports game.
  81. Go swimming.
  82. Go fishing.
  83. Skip rocks.
  84. Catch frogs.
  85. Watch the sunset.
  86. Snuggle.
  87. Sleep in.
  88. Watch animal clips on Youtube.
  89. Watch baby clips on Youtube.
  90. Play with a marshmallow shooter.
  91. Roast marshmallows over the stove.
  92. Play with a Rubik's cube.
  93. Block drama-prone friends from your facebook.
  94. Take three things off your “to-do” list for today.
  95. Ask yourself if this will really matter in 100 years.
  96. Stop reading the news.
  97. Only check your email once a day.
  98. Turn your phone off (or at least put it on vibrate).
  99. Know when it's time to walk away.

People do all sorts of things to de-stress. Some watch the weather and others play video games. Some people work out really hard while others watch television. But the whole idea behind de-stressing is to take a step away from your situation to get some healthy perspective. Stop watching the world fall apart and remember what matters in your sphere of influence. Think of what you have to be grateful for, and embrace it. This is the only life you get, so remember to take the time to enjoy it.

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Guest

Love them all and need to also do them

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Olivia

Personally I wouldn't include #92, but otherwise a very nice list. Thanks.

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Valerie

Great list! I'm definitely a jogger and Suduko playing gal for de-stressing...maybe its time to try some new ideas. This is the kind of list you need to keep posted on the fridge or your wall at work to remind you of the little things that make life easier :)

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Guest

What about meditation???

Sonja Stewart's picture

Yes! Now it's an even hundred. Meditation is a fantastic way to de-stress!