Mental Health

20 Quick Ways To Recharge And Destress

Feeling drained? We have rounded up 20 proven ways to reduce stress and recharge so you can go seize the day!

By URLife Team
14 Dec 2023

Feeling overwhelmed and stressed? It might start to feel like your day begins and ends in a constant cycle of   anxiety.  Are you grinding your jaw? Or maybe your shoulders feel knotted. Perhaps you're oddly calm, yet those symptoms resonate.


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We get it—stress often feels like an unwelcome companion in our daily lives, and it's detrimental to your well-being. According to a 2023 study issued in the Mayo Clinic, persistent tension can pave the way for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a slew of other health concerns. It doesn't stop there—headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, digestive issues, and even depression can join in.


20 Best Ways To Relieve Stress Quickly

Exhaustion might be more than just tiredness. It could be the weight of sustained mental, physical, or emotional stress. High cortisol levels, triggered by stress, wreak havoc on your entire being. But fear not—there are ways to navigate through this! 


1. Practise Deep Breathing to Foster Calmness

Practice deep, mindful breathing exercises to calm the nervous system and reduce stress instantly. A 2023 study reported in Frontiers in Physiology showed that 20 sessions of 15 min of diaphragmatic breathing over 8 weeks reduced negative affect (i.e., negative emotions and expression) and physiological markers of stress. 

Give alternate nostril breathing a try for instant stress relief: 

  • Find a comfortable seated position, gently close your eyes, and place your right thumb on your right nostril. 
  • Inhale through your left nostril, then release your thumb, using your ring finger to close your left nostril as you exhale through your right nostril. 
  • Maintain this pattern: inhale through the right, close it with your thumb, exhale left, inhale left, close it, exhale right, and continue.


Related story: Destress In Four Minutes With Box Breathing


2. Engage In A Quick Workout

In a 2023 systematic review with meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials, as issued in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, physical activity is highly beneficial for improving symptoms of depression, anxiety and distress. Taking a brisk walk during or after work is a fantastic way to keep your body active and maintain flexibility. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity each day, and a simple walk can easily fulfil this goal. Whether it's a stroll around the block, a walk in the park, or a brisk walk to your favourite spot, it not only helps your body stay loose but also provides a mental refresh, reducing stress and boosting your mood.


Related story: This Or That: Is HIIT The Cardio Workout For You Or LISS


3. Spend A Few Minutes Looking At Greenery

Spending time in nature has incredible benefits for reducing stress and enhancing overall well-being. According to a 2021 study issued in the International Journal of Research and Public Health, being in natural environments, especially green spaces like parks or forests, can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Moreover, spending time in green spaces allows for a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, providing a sense of tranquillity and allowing individuals to disconnect from stressors. The sight of lush greenery and natural landscapes can have a soothing effect on the mind, promoting feelings of calmness and rejuvenation.


Related story: How To Stress Less And Live Long


4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation technique helps alleviate stress, reduce muscle tension, and foster a greater sense of calmness, which could be particularly beneficial for people in high-stress academic or professional settings. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, conducted on veterinary students highlighted the efficacy of progressive muscle relaxation as a relaxation technique. This method involves systematically tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body, promoting a deep sense of relaxation.


Related story: Using Massage Guns To Ease Sore Muscles


5. Listen to Your Favourite Music

Play soothing music or your favourite tunes to relax and distract your mind from stress triggers. While relaxing music generally reduces stress, what matters most is finding the music that resonates with you personally. Interestingly, a 2015 study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology shed light on the impact of music on stress levels, particularly during exam periods for college students. It found that listening to relaxing music had a significant effect on lowering cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress.


Related story: How Music Can Heal Your Mind, Body, and Soul


6. Laugh Out Loud For Quick Stress Relief

Watch a funny video, chat with a friend, or engage in activities that make you laugh—laughter is a natural stress reliever. When you're in need of a quick stress-relief strategy, reaching for your phone and watching something that genuinely makes you laugh, whether it's amusing cat videos or the latest comedic content from your favourite comedian on social media, can work wonders. Next time stress starts to creep in, consider indulging in a dose of laughter therapy through humorous videos. This simple act can swiftly shift your focus, elevate your mood, and bring a sense of lightheartedness, providing a much-needed break from stressors.


Related story: How Laughter Benefits Your Body


7. Try Relaxing Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been shown to offer benefits for stress reduction, anxiety relief, and improved sleep quality. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and bergamot are known for their calming properties. Inhaling these scents can trigger responses in the brain that promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety.  Whether through diffusers, inhalers, or adding a few drops to a cotton ball, incorporating aromatherapy into your routine can be a natural and enjoyable way to manage stress and enhance your overall mental well-being.


Related story: Aromatherapy For Every Personality Type


8. Take A Creative Break To Rejuvenate

Engaging in art and creative activities can be a wonderful way to take a break from stress and promote relaxation. Whether sketching, colouring, painting, or even creating a collage, these artistic pursuits offer a therapeutic outlet for self-expression and mindfulness. The act of creating art allows you to focus your attention on the present moment, diverting your mind from stressors and promoting a sense of calmness. It's a form of mindfulness that encourages you to immerse yourself in the creative process, helping to reduce anxiety and elevate mood.


Related story: How To Overcome Creative Block


9. Treat Yourself With Dark Chocolate

Breaking off a square or two of dark chocolate during a break can be a delightful way to indulge your taste buds and possibly provide a small mood lift. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants known for their potential positive effects on brain health and mood. Eating a small piece of dark chocolate may help reduce stress by triggering the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good hormones.


Related story: 5 Reasons To Eat More Chocolate


10. Cuddle With Your Fur Babies To Elevate Mood

The presence of pets can have a calming effect on humans, promoting feelings of relaxation and comfort. A 2019 study in Sage Journals shows that interaction with pets releases oxytocin, the "love hormone," which contributes to feelings of bonding and reduces stress levels. Interacting with dogs and cats has shown remarkable benefits for improving mood and relieving stress.


Related story: How Love Language Can Help You Forge A Stronger Bond


11. Write Down Small Moments of Joy

Gratitude journaling is a wonderful practice that involves acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of life. Taking just a few minutes each day to jot down what you're grateful for can have profound effects on your overall well-being. This simple act of noting down things you're thankful for helps shift focus from stressors or negative thoughts to the positive aspects of life. It encourages a more optimistic outlook and cultivates feelings of contentment and happiness.


Related story: How Journal For A Better Mindset


12. Pat Yourself On The Back For Achievements

Keeping a brag list is a powerful way to boost confidence and maintain a positive outlook. Make it a habit to celebrate your victories, whether it's completing a task, minor wins, achieving a personal goal, or simply overcoming a challenge, each accomplishment reflects your effort and dedication. This practice helps counter negative self-talk and fosters a more positive self-image. 


Related Story: 5 Self-care Habits To Take Into The New Year


13. Sip A Cup of Herbal Tea To Calm Your Mind

Drink calming herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, or valerian root to soothe nerves and promote relaxation. Some herbal teas contain L-theanine, an enzyme known for its potential to reduce stress responses and promote relaxation. This compound is often found in green tea and can contribute to a sense of calmness without sedation. Herbal tea such as Chamomile tea, consists of blends of herbs, spices, and their lack of caffeine are often appreciated for their calming properties.


Related story: Your Guide To Tea For Every Mood


14. Limit Screen Time To Reduce Strain

Prolonged screen use can lead to a range of issues, including digital eye strain, headaches, and increased stress. Reducing screen time can significantly benefit both eye health and mental well-being. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to give your eyes a break from the screen. Optimise screen brightness, contrast, and font size to reduce eye strain.


Related story: Are You Addicted To Phone?


15. Reconsider Toxic Relationships

Sometimes, certain relationships can contribute significantly to stress due to their negative impact on mental and emotional well-being. If someone constantly brings negativity, criticism, or gossip into your life and their presence is not essential, it's okay to reassess the relationship for your own well-being. Limiting interactions or ending a friendship with individuals who constantly bring negativity or judgement can significantly reduce stress.


Related story: Signs of A Toxic Relationship


16. Chew Gum To Reduce Anxiety

Chewing gum can indeed offer a quick and easy way to manage stress and potentially enhance mood and productivity in various situations. Whether stuck in traffic, tidying up the house, or working on a demanding task, the act of chewing gum can help alleviate stress by providing a simple physical action that redirects focus. It may serve as a distraction, reducing feelings of anxiety or tension during stressful situations.


Related story: How To Manage Anxiety


17. Set Boundaries Between Work And Personal Time

Allowing yourself time and space in your schedule to recharge is vital for mental health. It offers an opportunity to relax, unwind, and rejuvenate, reducing stress and enhancing overall well-being. Setting boundaries between work and home enables you to prioritise your mental health and make time for activities that nourish and replenish you.

Related Story: What Are Healthy Boundaries, and Why Do We Need Them


18. Dunk Your Face In Ice Bowl To Counter Stress

Immersing your face in ice-cold water can activate the body's relaxation response, counteracting the stress response. Cold exposure can stimulate the body's "diving reflex," which slows down the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. This reflex is similar to what happens when diving into cold water and the body naturally adapts to the temperature change, promoting a sense of calmness. Cold exposure may help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, providing a natural mood boost.


19. Refrain From Overcommitment To Deadlines

Creating space in your schedule is a form of self-care. While it's not always possible to change or cancel certain commitments, identifying areas in your schedule that can be adjusted or rescheduled allows for a more balanced and manageable workload. Overcommitting and having a packed schedule can lead to feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion. Postponing or cancelling non-essential tasks or activities prevents overextension and supports a healthier balance.


Related story: Self-Care To Elevate Your Work Game


20. Get Quality Sleep

Ensure you're getting enough restful sleep to recharge your body and mind, reducing overall stress levels. It's important to prioritise getting quality sleep in order to recharge your body and mind and reduce overall stress levels. Make sure you are getting enough restful sleep each night to ensure your body has time to repair and rejuvenate. This can be achieved by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, avoiding caffeine and electronics before bedtime, and engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises.


Prioritising self-care isn't a luxury but a necessity in navigating life's challenges. Creating space for relaxation, setting boundaries, and nurturing positive habits empowers us to manage stress proactively. From simple acts like deep breathing to enjoying nature's calming embrace, each strategy contributes to a more resilient and rejuvenated self. By doing so, we pave the way for greater resilience, improved mental health, and a more balanced, fulfilling life.


Mindfulness 101: Bring calm into your day with these daily tips. Sign up here.



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