15 Ways To Instantly Relax

UPDATE: This post originally ran on September 23rd but we wanted to bring it back for some weekend relaxation!I can be a pretty anxious person. I tend to stress myself out over things that really aren’t even that important, something I attribute to living too much in the future (which you may recall us talking about last year with our book club and Eckhart Tolle’s The Power Of Now). Once you’re stressed, it can be difficult to calm yourself down.  We all deal with stress on a daily basis, so I put together this list of 15 things you can do to help instantly relax.  Next time you’re feeling stressed, try one or several of these methods, and see what works best for you.  What do you do to de-stress?


1. Meditate

Try setting aside 5 minutes of every day to sit in silence and meditate.  Clear your mind and let it wander whichever way it pleases. This is a great way to separate yourself from whatever it is that is causing you stress, and toss it momentarily out the window.  It may even help change your perspective on things and you’ll come away feeling much more calm.


2. Breathe

If you’re at work, you can do this right at your desk! For five minutes, concentrate on your breathing.  Take deep breaths and slowly exhale, feeling the weight lift off your shoulders.  There is a yogic method of breathing through one nostril at a time that is said to be a great way to relieve anxiety and balance the body and mind.


3. Acupressure

Acupressure is a type of therapy that works by balancing the circulation of fluids and energies in the body. Using the thumb and forefinger, massage the area between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Applying pressure to this spot can help relieve tension.

cold water on wrists

4. Cold water on wrists

Some of our major arteries lie beneath the skin on the wrists, and cooling these areas with cold water or ice cubes can  help calm the whole body, and quickly.


5. Food/Drink

Certain foods and beverages are said to be wonderful for calming the nerves: Dark chocolate helps stabilize your stress hormones, honey reduces inflammation of the brain thus relieving stress and anxiety, and green tea is known for its calming, soothing properties.


6. Alone Time

A lot of us spend the majority of our time surrounded by people.  Spending a little time alone can do wonders for clearing your mind and giving you a new perspective on things.


7. Sun

Spend some time in the sun.  Sunshine contains vitamin D, which can be incredibly effective in cheering you up and improving your mood.


8. Yoga

Yoga is one of my favorite ways to de-stress. Even just a quick 15 minute session can get your blood circulating and clear your mind – try this asana to balance your root chakra!


9. Stretch

A quick stretch can loosen the muscles and relieve body tension – I do this multiple times a day. A great one that you can do at your desk is to roll your head from side to side, or rotate your shoulders ten times clockwise and counter-clockwise.


10. Walk

If work is getting really stressful and you just need a break from your computer screen, go outside and take a quick ten minute walk.  The fresh air will instantly clear your head and you’ll come back to your desk feeling calmer and ready to tackle the task at hand.


11. Write It Down

I’m a huge believer in writing your worries away.  Journaling was one of the things that got me through high school, and it’s incredible how getting your thoughts on paper can help you to put them in perspective.  Sometimes I’ll feel upset about something and just writing it down will help me realize how small and unimportant it is. Likewise, making yourself a list of the things you have to do can help you feel more organized and able to tackle them one by one.


12. Music

When in doubt, put on your favorite song.  There are certain artists whose music has a calming effect on me, and all I have to do is put on an album and instantly feel the stress start to melt away.  I love falling asleep to music, too – it helps take my mind away from any worries or stresses that are floating around and soothes me to sleep.


13. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy works by stimulating smell receptors in the nose that connect to the part of the brain that regulates emotions.  Certain scents are amazing for calming the nerves – my favorite is lavender.  Put a little drop on your wrist and carry its calming scent with you throughout the day.


14. Pets

It’s hard to feel stressed when looking into the loving eyes of an animal.  Take a little break from whatever is stressing you out to play with your pet (or if you don’t have one, hang out with a friend’s pet!).  We’re lucky here at Free People since we are a dog friendly workspace – there are always plenty of pups around to play with!


15. Laugh

A good, hearty laugh can melt away stress instantly.  Hang out with your girlfriends, or watch your favorite comedy to help relax.  Once you experience one of those full-body laugh sessions you’ll forget why you were even stressed in the first place.

What do you do to relax? Share your tips in the comments!


  1. I do all of the above!! Yoga seems to work best. But if there’s just a ton that I have to get done, only writing a to-do list so I can just take it one thing at a time will do. I’m also a big fan of getting out of the city when I need to ;).

  2. What a great post!
    I also do all of those things.
    I find that doing art or something creative also helps me get out of my head.
    Another thing that helps is just saying “no.” I tend to bite off more than I can chew. I’m the kind of person who always says yes when someone needs help with a project, and sometimes I stretch myself too thin which causes me lots of anxiety.

  3. so many helpful tips! i love stretching throughout the day – it makes my body feel great. i tend to massage my hands and arms to really wake up. i definitely need to try meditating and focusing on my breathing. i can tell that will de-stress me immediately!

  4. Hi. I was wondering if maybe you could post something on how you deal with anger. I was a pretty angry child, and as a result I had to go to therapy. It worked for a while, but now I am realizing that the way I deal with anger is unhealthy. I tend to bottle up emotions until they explode. Please tell me healthy ways I could use to control my more volatile emotions.

  5. Hello there! I was wondering if you could post a few healthy tips on how to control anger. I have realized lately that the way I do it is quite unhealthy.

  6. My Mom used to squeeze my hand three times to say “I love you” when I was a little girl, and I’ve been doing it to loved ones ever since :)

  7. Dear Julia,
    this post helped me with my anxiety tremendously. I was wondering what music you would reccommend for calming purposes? What artists?

    Thank you for your wonderful post! More of this!!!

  8. You can listen to nature go for a night walk, read or meditate or pray which all relieve stress. I have been listening to nature recordings especially on YouTube. This is my favourite river recording. These techniques work just have to give it time.

    Watch video

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.