Private Garden at SunsetThis past week I met with a few of my colleagues and family and we ended up discussing the various ways we could de-stress during the week and weekend. I thought many of the suggestions shared were great and wanted to share them with you!

If you are a parent, family member, or caregiver of someone with a severe or untreated mental health concern, taking care of yourself is even more important. Caring for a loved one can deplete you of all your motivation.

Below you will find a listing of great things to do to relax:

  1. Read (reading a book in bed is nice at times)
  2. Sleep in
  3. Write (journaling, blogging, etc.)
  4. Pray (prayer is simply talking to God about the things that bother you and asking Him to intervene. Prayer does not have to be a formal activity. Be yourself and relax).
  5. Go for a walk with loved ones
  6. Photography (“buy a nice camera and take pictures of nature, family, and friends”)
  7. Exercise (swim, yoga, walking, jogging, Zumba, aerobics, hiking, gym nastics)
  8. Meditate
  9. Engage in introspection (sit quietly and rest your mind and soul)
  10. Go for a drive
  11. Stroll through the mall
  12. Buy yourself something nice (doesn’t have to be expensive!)
  13. Listen to podcasts online
  14. Listen to music (upbeat music can have a positive effect on mood, while slower-paced music can encourage feelings of depression. There are times, however, when lower paced music can give you a sense of peace and calm).
  15. Try Pilates
  16. Find a dance class (some classes are offered for free at local Community Colleges, agencies, or gyms)
  17. Sit next to a stream, pond, or river
  18. Go to a pet shop
  19. Play with your dog(s) or cat
  20. Look at a magazine with attractive pictures (looking at photos can give you a sense of joy)
  21. Look at family photos or watch family videos that make you smile
  22. Seek personal therapy (check into your EAP-Employee Assistance Program at work)
  23. Seek pastoral counseling or support
  24. Call a prayer line or submit a prayer request online
  25. Play with your children or other kids
  26. Become a mentor for needy youth (offering your time gets your mind off of your own needs and helps someone at the same time!)
  27. Travel (traveling can entail going somewhere other than your usual spots. Traveling gives you a whole new perspective on life)
  28. Try aromatherapy (purchase some sweet smelling scents and spray around your home, on yourself, or in your bedroom)
  29. Engage in an online group discussion (be cautious and safe)
  30. Watch cartoons! (as silly as this may sound, cartoons are uplifting and can put you in another mindset temporarily)
  31. Get a manicure, pedicure, or massage
  32. Go camping or build a campfire (if done safely, you can enjoy this right in your own backyard)
  33. Go on a picnic with someone you love or go alone
  34. Spend time with someone you love or think about them
  35. Go to the movies
  36. Stay in your pajamas or lounge clothes all day
  37. Sing
  38. Check Pinterest (there are some great quotes and pictures on this site)

I welcome your suggestions and additions to this list! What are some things you do to de-stress?


All the best to you

Photo credit: Andreas Krappweis



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    Last reviewed: 3 Jul 2013

APA Reference
Hill, T. (2013). 38 Tips For Finding Ways to Relax. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from


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