Between juggling work, home, and family, life can be stressful.
For those who don’t have the time to book a vacation (let alone a massage) to relax, good news: There are ways to relieve stress right at home.
Even better news: Many of these activities are free or extremely low cost.
So, next time you’re feeling tense, take a deep breath (or ten) and then try these surprisingly simple ways to relieve stress from the comfort of your own home.
1. Have a “spot.”
From the roomiest single-family house to the teeny-tiniest studio, everyone has a favorite place in their home. Taking a moment to step away and enjoy that spot can instantly make you feel happier and more relaxed.
Whether it’s a certain chair, a sunny windowsill, or a cozy nook, this #treatyoself spot will look different depending on the person and the home. The important thing is, it’ll always be there when you need a moment to escape.
2. Power down for 30 minutes.
Not having your phone can induce that stomach-drop feeling faster than some roller coasters. But the truth is, stress runs higher in “constant checkers” (those who look at their emails, texts, and social media accounts often) than those who don’t engage with technology as much.
So, though it might be painful, cutting your screen time for even just a half hour could help reduce stress overall. For ways to do it at home, an American Psychological Association study highlights not allowing cell phones at the dinner table, not allowing devices during family time, and limiting time watching TV.
3. Go au natural.
Well, not like that (though we won’t judge). But in terms of your lighting, natural is the way to go since exposure to daylight can help enhance mood and support mental health and function.
Invite the sunshine into your home by opening blinds and curtains during the day, and turning off electric lighting when it’s not actually needed. If your home doesn’t have much natural light, spend some time outdoors to reap the same stress-relieving benefits.
4. Strrrrrrrrrrretch it out.
Good news: The same stretches that help your muscles relax after exercising can help your mind relax, too.
Stretching promotes deep breathing and the relaxation of tight muscles, so try these stretches if you’re feeling particularly tense. The best part is, stretching is a stress-relief method you can do almost anywhere or anytime in your home, and doesn’t require anything but yourself.
5. Add some green.
Houseplants are perfect for sprucing up your home, but did you know their benefits don’t stop there? Studies have linked exposure to indoor plants with reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, and reduced muscle tension.
And have no fear — even the least green of thumbs can use this simple method for relieving stress. These plants, including Peace Lilies, Calathea, and succulents, are almost impossible to kill, which means minimal effort for maximum relaxation.
6. Ditch the clutter.
Look around your home. If there’s a messy drawer, paper pile, or overstuffed closet within eyesight, then this tip was made for you. You may not realize it, but that kind of clutter could be making it harder for you to relax at home.
Whether your kitchen, living room, or closet is causing you the most stress, clear out what you don’t need and find a bin or basket for stray items (these home hacks can help). Having everything in its place will make you feel more calm, and if you end up donating items, the good deed will reduce your stress even more.
7. Follow your nose.
Aromatherapy might seem simple, but it’s nothing to sniff at. Sensory cells in the nose connect directly to the brain, which means finding smells with calming properties just makes scents (ok — we’ll stop).
Lavender, vanilla, and jasmine are all associated with soothing properties and tension relief, but really any scent you love can help achieve that feel-good mood. So light a candle or diffuse essential oils for this super simple way to unwind (and make your home smell that much nicer).
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, keep these surprising stress-relieving methods in the back of your mind. No matter which idea you use, you’ll reduce stress and stay comfortable relaxing at home.
Plus, keeping a peaceful atmosphere at home might say more about you than you realize.