Ask the Readers: How Do You Relieve Stress? (Chance to win $20!)

by Linsey Knerl on 14 September 2010 60 comments
Photo: Duchamp

Stress got you down? I feel ya. Whether it's the start of a new school year, illness, family pressures, or money troubles, all of us go through a rough patch from time to time. In addition to hoping to help you live large on a small budget, we at Wise Bread want to you know that we've got your back. We feel stress, too! In an effort to give you a chance to sound off AND win a fabulous prize, we're asking:

How do you relieve stress?

Maybe you have some little-known tip that can help out another reader. Maybe you're clueless and need advice. Or, perhaps you just want that prize. (That's cool, too!) Let us know how you get through life's bumps and relieve your tension in the comments for a chance to win one of 3 $20 Amazon GC's!

Win one of three $20 Amazon gift cards:

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, then "Like" the update mentioning this giveaway (you can comment, as well — but you don't have to for entry.)
  3. Tweet your answer. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, September 20th at 11:59 pm CST. Winners will be announced after September 20th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets that contain both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)
  • Only those who have "Liked" both our Facebook page and the contest update will be entered.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Lane

I drink tea and before i take my first sip i put my nose in the rim of the cup and inhale the steam and imagine i am in a different place "zen place". Doesent matter if I am in my car and its storming outside or in a crowded airplane in the shaft middle seat or next to a crying baby.

Guest's picture
Kristy

IMHO, The best way to relieve stress is to figuring out what is stressing you and deal with it. I'm usually stressed because I have too much to do. The solution is either (a) power through and get it done so I can stop thinking about it or (b) find a way to reduce the workload.

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Jessica

My stress relief is nothing special, just exercise and talking out my frustrations with my husband, mom, dad, or friend.

And sometimes a stiff drink does the trick.

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Kate

I find Yoga to be super helpful. I also really like to do puzzles. I can just sort of zone out and put the thing together.

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Elizabeth

I go to the gym. I drop the kids off and run or get on the elliptical machine and just go - I don't watch the TV, I just think and clear my head. Plus, it gives the kids and I a sort of break from each other in the late afternoon.

Guest's picture
Raina

Like others, exercise is my best remedy. I especially like to play exercise games on the Wii to really take my mind off off life's hassles; the competitive nature gives me a new short-term goal and sense of accomplishment to generate positive emotions. By the end of a really good workout, I'm sweating and exhausted, far too exhausted to worry about whatever was stressing me out in the first place.

Guest's picture
Meg

I sew and bind books when I get stressed. I find that the process of folding paper, sewing the sections of a book together, and the entire process of bookbinding to be therapeutic. Since I usually feel stress because of some sort of chaos in my life, the control that I have over paper, needle and thread gives me a sense of order and calm. I am then able to transfer that calm to whatever aspect of my life has been disrupted.

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Betty D.

Daily, I find that walking in the park for 30 minutes usually unwinds me. But my real stress-buster is the beach. I live in north Jersey, and I can feel myself unwind as I'm driving down the parkway!

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Kelli

I go for a nice long walk with my dog. Just getting that fresh air and physical exercise plus bonding with my very understanding best friend really helps clear my head. Also good for de-stressing: naps, a decadent bubble bath, and chocolate!

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Ann

A Glass of wine works wonders, but especially if I share it with a friend and we get a vent a bit.

Guest's picture

Personally what works for me is exercise. My stress levels often go through the roof when I'm not getting enough movement. At the same time my thinking is sluggish and I struggle to take any sort of meaningful action. However, when I exercise this has a tendency to clear up my mind, thoughts and attitude. This relieves stress and has a tendency to focus me on solutions rather than problems.

I have also found that watching a sitcom or reading something funny can help relieve stress. However, nothing beats exercise :)

Guest's picture
kch

Running or yoga.

Guest's picture
Frances

The first thing I do is step back from my To Do list and prioritize what needs to be done. What can be done tomorrow?

Then I fix some tea, light a candle and escape for a cupful.

I imagine achieving the things I really want and think about small steps toward my goals.

If I'm in the car, I turn on the radio or sing my heart out if nothing but commercials is on.

Guest's picture
Therese

I go for long walks to relieve stress :)

Guest's picture
Sam

I eat a dark chocolate candy bar and deep breathing exercises.5 Benefits of Dark Chocolate

1. Studies have shown dark chocolate to lower blood pressure
2. Studies have also shown dark chocolate to lower bad cholesterol (LDL)
3. It turns women on more than a passionate kissing session (no wonder they want it for Valentine's Day!)
4. Contains serotonin, a natural mood-boosting anti-depressant
5. Stimulates pleasure-inducing endorphin production

Guest's picture
Lynda

I sleep it off or play some video games. Best way: get a nice massage!!

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Guest

Take a shower, then lay down and just shut my eyes, even if I don't fall asleep

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Patrick

Doing something mindless I really enjoy (watching certain 80's movies) and/or meditation usually work.

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Jon

I agree with Ann, a glass of wine or beer is great.

Guest's picture

Yoga and meditation work best for me. A few minutes of either seem to melt away my troubles.

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Guest

The universal way. It's relaxing, healthy, increases endorphins, and it's free! Even Dear Abby approved.

Guest's picture
Emily

Yoga, a long run, or a nice walk along the beach. However, if I need to let off steam, I go for a hard workout and listen to some loud music.

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Dennis

Relieving stress is a matter of resetting the brain to a different mode. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but the main point is to change the channel. Life is a series of events and circumstances...it's how you REACT to these events and circumstances that determine the effect they have on you. Say a tree falls in your yard and you have to get out there and chop it up...instead of moaning and complaining, look at it as a chance to get out in the fresh air and get some exercise. Say you lose your job...look at it as an opportunity to get a BETTER job. No matter what the circumstances, there are always several ways to look at it. Choose to find a positive course of action no matter what the source of the stress is.

Guest's picture
HollisC

Way to Reduce Stress - Karate!
With Karate, your attention must be focused on the pad or your partner to perfect technique and ensure accuracy. Coordinating a combination of kicks and power punches and reading your opponent's moves takes total concentration so your mind must be empty of all other thoughts. After an hour of intense focus and exercise your head becomes clearer and your body's had a great workout. Plus, you learn how to better defend yourself!

Hollis Colquhoun

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Mary Ann

I go for a walk. The more stressed I am, the faster I walk.

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Debbie

i relieve stress by just coming home and relaxing in my recliner or out on my patio- plus a nap does wonders as well!

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SUZY

I hide in my room and read a book or take a nap. Or I take a nice hot bath and read a book and lite candles around the tub,

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Randi Oaklief

I lose myself in a good book, hopefully while I'm sitting on my porch swing!

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W. Ly

I find humor to be the best stress killer. If you look close enough you can see the humerus side of almost any situation. As the old saying goes: "Life is a tragedy to the man who feels, but a comedy to the man who thinks."

Guest's picture
MK

Meditation is the key for stress for me.........

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Heather

When I am stressed I go for a walk around the neighborhood, and sometimes I bring my cell phone. Just talking through your stress releases some of the pressure. Not only that, but your friend might be able to help you come up with a plan of action to get rid of the stress altogether.

Guest's picture
gt0163c

Like many others, I go to the gym. I put on a fast playlist and just go.
Thursdays I do a kickboxing class (with real bags to hit and kick). It's an amazing stress relief. I call it my weekly percussive therapy session.

I also spend time with friends, particularly friends who I know can and will make me laugh. Nothing like sitting around drinking milkshakes or soda (well, they're often drinking wine. But since I don't like the taste, I usually get a milk shake or soda) talking and laughing and not worrying about the rest of life and the world for a while.

When things get really stressful, I often take a night off. I gather up some friends (again, often the friends who can and will make me laugh, but ya know) for dinner and a fun movie of no consequence (no suspense movies or straight drama. Gotta be something fun and preferably funny). I forbid conversations about serious things that are going on in life for the duration of the evening (although usually fill everyone in on what's going on via an email before the event) and, for a few hours at least, we all pretend like everything is 100% amazingly good. It's a short break from reality, but it often helps with major stressful situations and lets me take a fresher, more calm look at the situation when I get back to real life.

Guest's picture
AC

I have a super busy job, so I try to deal with stress in various ways. One is an email management tip I picked up for those days when you get too much in your inbox: if I get a personal or work email that I can deal with in less than 3 minutes, I'll deal with it, instead of leaving it for later. Another is that I found a yoga studio a few blocks from my office. I always keep a yoga mat in my office and try to head to a class if I've had a hectic day. This gives me (i) some relaxation and (ii) a break from my work. Luckily, I can come and go as I please at work, so it's easy to take off whenever I want!

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Zelda

I go to my vegetable garden and work in the soil. Somehow weeding, so the plants can have more room, going to the compost bin and getting worms to add around....just makes you feel better!

Guest's picture

I love to hike in our nearby forestry trails. There is nothing better than a free, frugal walk in the likes of mother nature. The easy hike always helps recenter my mind and make me feel at peace.

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Serena

I take a break from whatever I'm doing that's causing me stress - often this involves grading papers or updating my budget (which I also blog about frequently) - and talk to somebody. Three times already this week, I've taken the time to quickly call up my parents or a friend just for a breather. Nothing like catching up and laugh with somebody I care about.

Of course, in this day and age, most people text or Tweet or update their Facebook pages to stay connected. I do too, but nothing replaces a phone call and actually talking to someone. If anything, being on the Internet instead of being with people makes me feel isolated, and sometimes depressed. So put down your phone and make some phone calls or lunch dates!

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fairydust

How Do You Relieve Stress? close my eyes, meditate, breathe deeply, then eat chocolate - works every time.

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Krista

I like to turn on some music and dance around the living room with my kids. This usually turns into a big tickle-fest on the floor. So, I get exercise and laughter and those two things are great for relieving stress.

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Aaron

Take deep breaths and pray to Jesus.

Guest's picture
RG

Call any customer service. Then start b****ing for any reason for few minutes. It will be fun and a way to relieve stress.

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Marie

I relieve stress by soaking in a bubble bath with a good book, with a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (my secret: I use the break & bake and made a handful at a time, so they are deliciously warm and gooey every time) and a glass of milk. Maybe it sounds strange to eat in the bathtub, but after a long day, I really look forward to this.

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pam

When I feel stressed I paint river rocks with my acrylic paints. No stress, just draw or paint anything that I want. Takes my mind off of stressors of everyday life!

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Jason

If I can, I get to the gym or go for a long run. If exercise is out of the equation, then a shot or two of a blended scotch.

Guest's picture
echomyst

I curl up with a cup of hot cocoa or tea and read! Nothing beats escapism :-) Other stress busters include listening to new age music, blogging to vent off steam, and taking a walk in a beautiful natural setting. Also, laughter is the best medicine -- playing with our 6-month-old daughter and our cat sometimes help too.

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TomP

I take a break from whatever I am doing and call someone I know who is also in a stressful situation -- unemployed, dealing with health issues, etc. -- and see if they need anything. Most of the time they don't need much but the call does us both good. Sometimes reminding myself that I am not the only one dealing with stress and getting away from my own issues is all I need to get my focus on dealing with issues productively.

Guest's picture
Kimber

This one is the easiest!!!! I PRAY!!! Works every time!!!

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gina

I like to relieve stress by going for a long walk

Guest's picture

Get completely away from the thing that's causing you stress, and get it out of your mind--no matter what you have to do to accomplish this.

Then, do something that brings you simple pleasure.

Watch a football game, read a book, do nothing, sleep, whatever.

After you feel "relieved" then its time to get back to eliminating that "stressor" from your life.

Guest's picture
Lenora

I go out into nature and PRAY. Then I listen. Next I plan how to handle whatever it is that is causing the stress. Once I take action I feel more empowered. My avoidance behaviors include eating my favorite foods and reading.

Guest's picture

I would refer you to an old post of mine on my blog at: http://sleeplessandtired.com/?p=33

"A Stress Reliever Remedy From the Good Old Days"

I hope you will post the best of your entries for all to read, as this is an important topic in today's stress-filled and sleep deprived world.

Thanks,
Ronald Czarnecki

Guest's picture
Tara

I write to relieve stress...there's something about putting pen to paper that gets all of those negative emotions out...

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jamie g

Long walks outside, going to the library and reading some fun books and browsing the shelves, people watching, and swinging on the swingset!

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Dawn

I listen to music and walk when I'm stressed. It's a great way to relax, and I find it also helps if it's in the dark. But I'm kind of strange like that :)

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Christine

Playing with my dog helps me take a break from pressing issues and just enjoy the present. Once I started taking her to dog parks I discovered you can enjoy this stress-reliever whether you own a dog or not. You don't need a dog to come to the dog park to chat, watch the dogs play, or just pet some furry friends. Go with a friend or a canine babysitting charge- it's like visiting a petting zoo!

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Lauren Y.

I have 3 main ways to relieve stress, depending on where I am:

At work- Deep breaths and hot tea. Both allow me to slow down and refocus.

At home- Needlepoint. I find the rhythmic nature of it soothing.

In the car- Singing at the top of my lungs to whatever playlists is on. Sure, I may look silly but I won't be stressed! :)

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cwaltz

I walk to unwind. With a full household, getting out into the fresh air and sunlight and walking daily is a must. I have found that walking allows me to clear my head and without anyone asking "Mom can I?" or "Mom where is?" for an hour I can recharge myself.

Christine
dazed1821@aol.com

Guest's picture
Rachelle

I usually read a book, scrapbook, or vent to my hubby

Guest's picture
bbd

gardening or long walks

Guest's picture
Esta

Exercise! My new favorites are yoga and zumba--I recently joined a gym, and go four times a week. I also enjoy walking. Also, one 5 oz. glass of wine or one 12 oz. beer (the limit suggested for women) with dinner on most nights.

Guest's picture
Marty

If the stress is something I don't have control over or input on...I remove myself from it. I love to walk, especially in a park or forest. I pray and am simply quiet, observing things/people around me. I go to a coffee shop, get a mocha (mini-vacation in a cup!) and spend a few hours editing images or surfing the internet.

If the stress is something I have a choice about, am I ready to deal with it? Can I voice my feelings without blowing up? At some point, the cause of the stress needs to be addressed. Do I have time to write a response first (to boil it down to the basics), then verbalize my feelings? I find it's better to say "I need to think about my response, I'll answer you in a minute." than to blurt out all my pent-up feelings (including many fleeting thoughts that should have remained unsaid)!

I also find that nature or street photography is very therapeutic, as is weeding my garden!