We live in a day and age where time never stands still, no matter what we’re doing. It’s always “go” time. Errands, work, pending deadlines, catching up with loved ones, calling your doctor, making vet appointments, making dinner ― everything.
And during quarantine, it’s still no different. Sure, we might get more time to hang out at home, but that might only be creating more chores. One look around your home, and you’ll spot dishes to do, rugs to vacuum, and pets to entertain.
But the good news is that while stress will always follow you, regardless of how much time you spend indoors, de-stressing is surprisingly cheap. It’s also easy to do, and quite enjoyable.
Here are five easy, cheap (or outright free) ways to relax:
Meditate before sleep
You can om if you want to, but it’s not essential. In fact, throw out the rule book. Forget everything you think you know about meditation and just start fresh with the basics.
At its core, meditation is all about silencing the mind. You can sit somewhere comfortable (or lie down, your choice), really feel your body (being aware of every limb), and just focus on a blank room. Think of a white, empty room, and just breathe in the stillness of it all.
Pair it with nature sounds and you can even imagine you’re on a canoe, floating down a river.
You’ll be surprised at how you feel even just 10 minutes later. It’s a light, hazy feeling, and it’s not uncommon for your body to tingle slightly.
Set aside some morning “you” time
Before your day runs wild with deadlines, reminders, obstacles, unexpected surprises, or your lengthy to-do list, there’s the quiet hours of the morning, when you could have a solid half hour to an hour all to yourself.
Use this time to shower, use a face mask, brew some coffee, or just stare out the window while listening to music. Whatever you don’t feel like you have time for later in the day.
Many people use this time to squeeze in a workout, journal, or just catch up on chores around the house before things get out of control. But don’t worry about what other people are doing. If you want to be productive, that’s great, but it’s not mandatory. If you just want an extra 45 minutes to watch a show without interruptions, you can do that too.
Wind down with herbal teas
Bedtime is one of those things that either goes smoothly or just doesn’t. If you don’t fall asleep easily, you’re left tossing and turning, stressing over your inability to doze off to dreamland.
The trick to a good night’s rest is to simply wind down beforehand.
Drinking caffeine-free herbal tea can help with that. Simply brew some around two hours before you need to fall asleep, maybe run a bath, or just grab your favorite blanket and relax on the couch.
Listen to podcasts or music
Whether you find fiction podcasts relaxing, or prefer the sounds of the latest hit songs, there’s something about audio that really soothes the soul.
When you’re feeling stressed out, grab your headphones, and listen to something that brings back good memories. Listen while you’re cooking or lounging. Even chores are made better with a solid podcast option.
Exercise in a way you love
Don’t listen to social media pressure ― it doesn’t have to be HIIT or weight-lifting. The best exercise is the kind you actually love enough to keep doing regularly.
That could mean hiking, biking, dancing, walking the dog, or just using a treadmill. Whatever gets you moving, that’s the point.
Exercise has been proven to help with more than weight loss — it genuinely makes you feel good, less stressed. No one ever regrets a workout once it’s done.
— By Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez is a content creator and Lynnwood resident who specializes in copy, graphic design and photography for her clients. Whenever she’s not creating something, she’s exploring new places to eat in the area.