This past week I met with a few of my former colleagues and we ended up discussing the various ways we tend to de-stress over the 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 illness, taking care of yourself is even more important. Caring for a loved one can deplete you of all your motivation. Even more, if you are a parent, a mental health professional, or simply a living, breathing human being, life can deplete you of all of your motivation and energy on a daily basis. Let’s face it, as beautiful as life can be, it can also bring a load of problem, burdens, and stressors. Because of this, it is very important that you take care of yourself and your health. One way to do that is by relaxing. Relaxing is very difficult for me sometimes and I’m sure you find it challenging to tell yourself “just relax.” So allow me to encourage you by the great list, compiled during a therapy session with a client, of wonderful ways to take time away from daily life:
- Read (reading a book in bed is nice at times)
- Sleep in
- Write (journaling, blogging, etc.)
- 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).
- Go for a walk with loved ones
- Photography (“buy a nice camera and take pictures of nature, family, and friends”)
- Exercise (swim, yoga, walking, jogging, Zumba, aerobics, hiking, gymnastics). I just love Refit, a group of free-spirited women who love to dance their stress away. Check them out!
- Engage in introspection (sit quietly and rest your mind and soul)
- Go for a drive
- Stroll through the mall
- Buy yourself something nice (doesn’t have to be expensive!)
- Listen to podcasts online
- 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).
- Try Pilates
- Find a dance class (some classes are offered for free at local Community Colleges, agencies, or gyms)
- Sit next to a stream, pond, or river
- Go to a pet shop
- Play with your dog(s) or cat
- Look at a magazine with attractive pictures (looking at photos can give you a sense of joy)
- Look at family photos or watch family videos that make you smile
- Seek personal therapy (check into your EAP-Employee Assistance Program at work)
- Seek pastoral counseling or support
- Call a prayer line or submit a prayer request online
- Play with your children or other kids
- Become a mentor for needy youth (offering your time gets your mind off of your own needs and helps someone at the same time!)
- Travel (traveling can entail going somewhere other than your usual spots. Traveling gives you a whole new perspective on life)
- Try aromatherapy (purchase some sweet smelling scents and spray around your home, on yourself, or in your bedroom)
- Engage in an online group discussion (be cautious and safe)
- Watch cartoons! (as silly as this may sound, cartoons are uplifting and can put you in another mindset temporarily)
- Get a manicure, pedicure, or massage
- Go camping or build a campfire (if done safely, you can enjoy this right in your own backyard)
- Go on a picnic with someone you love or go alone
- Spend time with someone you love or think about them
- Go to the movies
- Stay in your pajamas or lounge clothes all day
- 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
Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 30, 2013 but has been updated to reflect comprehensiveness and accuracy.