Best ways to beat stress

If you’ve ever wondered if anyone has any magic tricks on how to be more peaceful and deal with the pressure that life brings sometimes, look no further. All the secrets are here. Well, 53 of them, at least.

Here are the top tried and true techniques I found out about when asking friends on social media how they deal with stress. If you’re ever stuck, and not sure how to unwind, check out this list. The answers and explanations here may spark some new ideas for you.

Got a special tactic of your own to be more centered, less frazzled and happier all around? Let me know!

Best ways to relieve stressHit the Gym (Melissa R.)

“The easiest way for me to unwind from stress is to get it out at the gym! I love taking my stress and focusing it on something positive.  It’s a great way for me to let go of whatever might be bothering me that day!” 

Racquetball (David B.)

Boxing Class (Anita O.)

Bike Ride (Alex P.)

 “A nice long bike ride at dusk always flushes the stress out of me. I think for anyone, no matter where you live you can always find peace and tranquility outdoors.”

Spin Class (Romy M. and Michelle P.) [Editor’s Note: Romy & Michelle? We promise we’re not making this up.] 

Romy: “What better way to de-stress then to bike til you puke?!”

Michelle: “Spinning for 45 minutes puts me in the best best mood.”

Brisk Walk (Cameron F.)

“It allows me to breathe and think more clearly.”

Run (Charles H. and Mark D.)

Charles: “I’ve found that going for a short run every day is the best way to help keep the stress level down in my life.”

Mark: “I either go for a run or a big glass of wine. Or, on some days, both!”

CrossFit (Alberto P.)

“First and foremost”

Dance (Torey W.)

“Solo studio time just to dance my stress away”

Yoga (Liza H., Lincoln B., Timothy Williams)

Liza: “My best way is yoga! My daughter introduced me and it has really helped with stress and sore muscles.”

Tim: “At Laughing Lotus in Chelsea.”

Wk8_SocialTalk to Others (Kelly R. and Erin G.)

Erin: “Sometimes I just vent.  Vent it all out to friend, boyfriend, family member, and then I feel better.  Talking with someone about what is stressing you out can also lead to how important it really is, and maybe the reason why you shouldn’t stress, or how to handle what is stressful.”

Talk to Yourself (MaryTherese G.)

Having a stroke almost five years ago was the best stress reliever ever! I was that road rage, short-wicked person most of my adult life. Now, when I sit in DC traffic, I just sit there and say to myself, ‘There is nowhere in the universe I need to be right now except right here!”

Sing Out Loud! (Kristen B. and Rachel N.)

Rachel explains “car karaoke”: “Turn up the volume in the car and sing along to some favorites (possibly even add a few VMA level dance moves to work some of the tension out)”

Invite Friends Over (Sarah P.)

“Have some of my best girlfriends over to my apartment.  We laugh and talk about everything and nothing at the same time. It’s so relaxing to be myself with these lovely ladies. I spend so much of my time being ‘Work Sarah,’ that I need time to be me in the gym or with friends.”

Wk8_CreativePaint (Budd D., Michelle P.)

Budd: “Get lost in a creative activity. Usually going to my studio to paint for a few hours really helps me forget everything.”

Michelle: “I have a watercolor pad next to my computer, and when things are crazy I paint something, even if it’s for 5 minutes.”

Decorate. Redecorate. (Grant H.)

Make Your Home a Retreat (Leslie B., Shane G.)

One tangible stress reliever for me is our home. Consciously making home a retreat can come in many forms. Your favorite candle, time-boxing a day a week free from to-dos, a special reading corner stacked with your most favorite comfy chair, blanket and stack of books or magazines.”

Shane: “I have a New Orleans style courtyard. Lots of candles, plants, and surrounded by a stone wall.”

Write (Todd A.)

“About something that truly interests me”

Color (Kirsten B.)

Cook (Brenda W., Lisa G.)

Brenda: “Something about following a recipe & precision releases me from the constant cognitive work required to live and work ‘in between’ – always assessing the possibilities, looking at all sides, etc. There’s really only one way to peel an onion, you know? Ok… maybe 2.”

Lisa: “I’m a foodie, so preparing food brings me peace.”

Clean (Alison H.)

“Clean things! Purge things! I love to clean after I come to the end of a big project.”

Fix Something (Jeremy G.)

“Anything. Busy hands and concentrating on one thing quiets the mind.”

Garden (Loree S.)

“I know it might sound corny, but what chills me out is gardening. Whether it’s the urban garden in Bloomington, IN, that I love or a bunch of potted plants I had on a balcony years ago, it’s soothing and I just love the feeling and smell of rich dirt on my hands. I find it very creative to orchestrate the beautiful visual and timing of blooms, colors, textures and heights of my plantings.”

Wk8_ToughMake it Manageable (Maggie L.)

“Make a large task appear less intimidating. For instance, if a huge project is kicked off with a lot of deliverables that don’t appear to be doable in the short amount of time provided, I like to break that beast of a project down into pieces of more attainable, mini-deliverables so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.”

Make a List (Rachel N.)

“Make a to-do list and rank it in priority order. It helps me quantify what needs to be done and when, and then I usually realize things aren’t as bad as I thought.”

Wk8_OutHeadWatch… (Brian L., Leonard K., Benjamin H., Stuart E., Sara K., Lisa G., Laura G.)

Brian: “Golden Girls, YouTube videos”

Leonard: “One of my favorite TV shows. The further the show is away from my life, the better (Game of Thrones, Blacklist, etc.)”

Benjamin: “Mindless television. Fave is Real Housewives of Anywhere.”

Stuart: “Turner Classic Movies.”

Sara: “Netflix documentaries.”

Lisa: “Comedic Movies.”

Laura: “My best technique is to keep de-stress time simple. I stick to at home dinner and movie nights with friends, and not feeling guilty about spending a whole day binging on Netflix. Right now I highly recommend Stranger Things.”

Read… (Stuart E., Floyd H., Heidi B., Ryan B.)

Stuart: “…The New Yorker. Twitter.”

Floyd: “…A book.”

Heidi: “In a quiet room”

Ryan: “…A good book or magazine. Whether it’s flipping through an old design or typography book to get inspiration for my next project or trying to make a dent in a good novel, the thing that relaxes me the most is reading. It is also the thing that makes me fall asleep fastest/easiest? But that’s a good thing when it comes to relaxation, right?”

Sleep (Brian L., Rachel N.)

Rachel: “I find that my mind will work a lot out on its own during the night.”

Listen (Shannon L., Todd A., Eric E., Alejandro U.)

Shannon: “I usually turn to some type of movie score, or my bread and butter are the Liquid Mind albums by Chuck Wild.”

Todd: “To an audio book.”

Eric: “To Eckhart’s Teachings on YouTube and watch the clip most appropriate to where I am that day” 

Alejandro: “Classical music, or folk, just something that is not upbeat.”

Disconnect (Gigi M., Jeremy H., Bill K., Jennifer J.)

Jeremy: “Turning everything off periodically is a big help. I do not need to be plugged in to everything all the time. This requires a purposeful, disciplined mindset when we have so many forms of entertainment within easy reach 24 hours a day.”

Bill:”Chilling out with the love of my life at home…grilling out and just enjoying some down my phone…and listening to our amazing vinyl collection!”

Jennifer: “Do Not Disturb on my phone”

Play (Todd R., Brian L., Jami S., Ryan B.)

Todd: “There’s a game called Two Dots. I play it on my phone, usually on the train after a long day at work. It’s such a simple yet challenging game—totally pulls me out of the stress zone.”

Brian: “…With my kittens”

Jami: “…With my dogs. Their innocence, playful nature and unconditional love is exactly what I need from a stressful day!”

Ryan: “Pinterest: Mindless pinning to gather inspiration or tips is the best way to distract myself and unwind almost immediately.”

Knit (Jeffrey K.)

“Gosh…it’s almost too embarrassing. If I need to clear my brain, i often pop in a favorite movie…and knit.”

Wk8_OutHouseGrab a Drink (Kelly R. and 99% of you that mentioned wine)

“The classic after work cocktail“

Disappear (Daniel B., William S.)

Daniel: “A dark cool spot I can hide with my headphones and some good wings or messy ribs”

William: “To the movies, alone”

Get Your Nails Done (Robin G.)

Getting my nails and a pedicure done helps me to unwind and get relief when I’m stressed.”

Work from Home (Ralph H.)

This helps to clear my mind and really focus on what is important without the distractions of the office.”

Work Away from Home (Ralph H.)

“Nothing better than working from a friends house in LA near the pool or NOLA knowing that as soon as the work day is finished the relaxation will begin.”

Do Something Daring (Alexis B.)

“Adrenaline seems to distract me from stress. So getting on a roller coaster or jumping out of a plane is the best. But that might incite stress in others?”

Weekend Trips (Todd R.)

“Try to do something fun every weekend. Lounging at home is great, but it tends to remind you of all the crap you need to do. Little day trips and fun around the city are probably better for relaxation and stress relief than sitting on the sofa.”

Wk8_NatureGo on a Walk (Brian L., James L., Julie T., Kevin M. Randall C.)

James: “…Through nature”

Julie: “…On sunny days. Take in some fresh air and breathe.”

Kevin: “I walk 3.5 miles after work along traffic, but with my sunglasses and ear buds (playing guilty pleasure songs), I feel alone and in a zone. Nothing but an hour’s worth of thoughts and daydreams.”

Randall: “I get my best ideas while walking.”

Play (Michelle P.)

“Playing outside with my little boy Tripp – there is nothing like getting rid of stress when you look for rolly pollies in the dirt!”

Be Still (Alison H.)

“Lay in the grass near trees on a blanket and watch the sky. Day or Night. Both are equally calming.”

Take a Dip (Jennifer W., Rosemary K.)

Jennifer: “A day at the pool is my favorite way to chill out!”

Rosemary: Being in the water seems to help me clear away my worries and allows me to refresh.

Wk8_BacktoSelfStart the Day Calmly (Josie E., Caren W.)

Josie: “My morning time is my ‘me’ time. While the house is still quiet and before everyone starts to stir, I fix my coffee and start my day in prayer and meditation.”

Caren: “About three years ago, I made a commitment to read something for enjoyment 20 minutes every morning before I ‘officially’ dive into my day. It resets how I think and reminds me that I have to take time for myself.”

Pray (April C.)

Relax, Consciously (Dina M., Suzanne L., Alison H., Alex W., Francisco M.)

Dina: “Sit on my porch swing”

Suzanne: “Sit on my back porch.  When I first moved here there wasn’t a whole lot of landscaping, so I planted a ton and now enjoy the blooms and birds most nights.”  

Alison: “Take really deep breaths”

Alex: “Making a conscious effort relax my shoulder and back muscles for a few moments.”

Francisco: “Take about 20- 30 mins to do home massaging techniques with a tennis ball. I totally recommend it! Some relaxing music, and you’re set!”  

Meditate (David B., Lincoln B., Katherine D., Benjamin H., Amani C., Jeremy G., Jennifer B.)

David: “Seated”

Lincoln: “Daily”

Katherine: “Listening to Michael Sealy’s meditation tapes. Whenever I hear Michael say, ‘Hello, this is…,” I’m in the zone.”

Ben: “Especially love Oprah and Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge every couple of months.”

Amani: “I have this short mantra that I say, too: ‘There are no problems, only solutions.’ It works like magic, especially if you imagine your issues dissolving away.”

Jeremy: “10-minute session on HeadSpace, a meditation app.”

Jennifer: “Crystal bowl meditations”

Massage (Timothy W., Ralph H.)

Tim: “Love a good massage at Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca.”

Ralph: “I use They send someone right to my house, and the price is very reasonable.  Nothing makes me forget stress better than a massage, especially when I don’t have to drive after.”

Use Essential Oils (Lisa G., Jennifer J., Shane G., Alex W., Gigi M., Kim S.)

Jennifer: “On my temples, neck, shoulders. Peppermint is a fave.”

Shane: “I find Rosemary oil comforting and always travel with a bottle in my bag.”

Alex: Lavender

Gigi: Lavender

Kim: Lavender

Drink Tea (Ashley C., Katja M.)

Ashley: “I’m a hot tea fan, but I’m not a bagged tea girl. So, for me making tea is kind of ceremonious. I use cast iron and Yixing teapots primarily.”

Katja: “A really good cup of tea during the day is a nice way to reboot.”

Take a Hot Bath (Tim E., Hilary V., Talloolah L.)

Hilary: “Bath night with my boyfriend!  A big bubble bath, candles, a bottle of wine, and great, fun conversation.  It’s romantic, but not overly sexual and so much fun.  It’s our favourite thing all week and really helps us unwind, reset, and put life into perspective.”  

Talloolah: “At the end of the day, there is a lot of lavender and epsom salts in a Soaker tub with a good book.  I am all about self-care, and as long as you take care of yourself it is amazing what you can accomplish!”

Gratitude (Julie T., Anna K.)

Julie: “I take a look at my photos on my phone to remind myself of all the happy moments I do have and remember all that I have to be thankful for.”

Anna: “Recalling small reasons for gratitude – i.e, this morning I was extremely grateful for my remote car key, which allows me to find my car, because it chirps at me. Not a huge deal, but still something to be grateful for as a time-saving way to make sure I have what I need when I need it.”

End the Day Calmly (Belinda M.)

“My favorite way to unwind from stress is to order a nice dinner, put my pjs on and a good movie and crack open a good bottle of wine.”