Try Your Hand at Massage
A quick self-massage can take your stress down a notch or two. (It may also give your immune system a boost.) Stand against a wall and place a tennis ball between your shoulder blades. Gently bend your knees to give yourself a back rub. For a neck massage, clasp your hands behind your head and make small, deep circles with your thumbs. To release tension in your face, try rubbing your forehead and jaw with your fingers.
Tap Into Tea
Sip a cup of black or green tea to relax. It sounds too simple to be true, but studies show that doing so can help reduce tension and improve your outlook. Exactly why isn’t clear, although tea’s smell, taste, warmth, and active ingredients seem to play a part. Some herb teas, like chamomile, can also help reduce your anxiety.
Dip Into a Warm Bath
The warmth of the water gently widens your blood vessels and improves blood flow throughout your body, which helps you relax. One study found that people who bathe on a regular basis feel less stressed and tired and even smile more. Tip: Bathe right before bed and the rise and fall of your body temperature can also help you fall asleep. Moisturize when you get out of the tub.
It’s one of the fastest ways to start to unwind. As little as 20 minutes in nature (even your yard or a city park) can help distract you from negative thoughts. The calming sounds you hear may also lower your blood pressure. You don’t need to climb a mountain to feel more relaxed. Sit or stroll in any outdoor setting you enjoy. If that can’t happen right now, look at nature photos you love.
De-Stress With Music
Relaxing music has a direct effect on your nervous system. It slows your heart rate and breathing, lowers your blood pressure, and signals your muscles to soften. When you need to mentally let go, your best bet is to choose music you love. Can’t decide? Opt for classical, folk, or jazz songs. They have a rhythm between 60 to 80 beats per minute that helps your body calm down.
Soothe Yourself With Scent
Lavender, vanilla, and jasmine are a few options to send a smell-based “Chill out” message to your body’s nervous system. Put a few drops of a scented oil into a diffuser or a spray bottle filled with water. (If you have pets, check with your vet first, since some oils are toxic to animals.) You can also look for lotions and candles made with a scent you like.
Connect With Your People
A support system of friends and family is proven to help you better handle stress and lift your mood. Make time to call, text, or email someone who makes you feel good. You can fill them in on how you’re doing and also get out of your head by listening to what’s going on in their life.