Ever see someone and think, “Man, she let herself go. She looks like crap.” Or on the contrary, “Wow, wonder what she is doing to look so rejuvenated and fresh!”
Well, one thing that really has a negative effect on the way we appear to others is stress. We all have it—that’s inevitable—but we could all probably do a much better job at managing it. So how do we do that? How do we manage stress? The first step to managing stress, besides some clinical regimen, is to take some time for yourself so you can let go of all the daily drear that weighs you down. When you let go of things that bother you, the way you look changes entirely and as a result, you feel better. Your wrinkles diminish, your smile lines become less visible (mostly because you’re too busy cheesing it when you interact with others that they can’t see the creases around your lips), and you appear to be more approachable. You are calmer and more in tune with what’s happening day to day that you become more hopeful and less helpless.
So, for those who need a pick me up, here are 15 ways to help relieve some stress so you can look fresher, feel better and be happier.
1. Discover Surroundings
If you’re in an area where good, old-fashioned nature walks are few and far between, try to imagine what a nature walk is about and go explore. Silence your mind, listen to the environment and be aware of your senses. For once, when you want to relieve stress, either leave the headphones at home to endure all the smells, sounds and visuals around you or load an upbeat playlist and hit the pavement with purpose, focusing on your breathing and steps, allowing your mind to be free. When you set out to exercise and discover with purpose, you may notice things in your surroundings that you’ve never paid attention to before.
2. Read to Relax
Positive affirmations can do wonders for the mind, body and soul. When you need to stay busy, go to a bookstore, grab one from your shelf, or create a Pinterest account to read positive, reassuring messages. When you think positive, your world will change and the energy will shift for the better. Pair your reading materials with a cup of hot tea to calm you even more.
3. Day Dream
It doesn’t cost to dream, so why not? Browse for some places to visit or discover your ultimate dream vacation. Don’t get frustrated if what you’re searching for seems financially out of reach—we’re just dreaming. Look on the bright side, when you are able to take that fun-filled, relaxing vacation, you’ll already be a step ahead of the game. Think about where you want to go, what you want to do, what you want to see … Get specific with it and allow your mind to wander about all the possibilities. It’s freeing.
4. Get Creative with Color
Coloring requires staying in the lines. Drawing requires attention to detail. Painting requires imagination. All three require your mind to focus on the task at hand verses whatever else you’ve got going on in your brain. Get some crayons, colored pencils, markers, oil pastels if you’re feeling brave, grab a sketch pad or coloring book and go to town. When you let the mind wander with color, your creativity can impress you.
5. Flower Pick
It’s always nice to receive flowers, even if you have to buy or pick them for yourself. Go find the ones you like that smell pretty and brighten up your home. Maybe some tulips or daisies or the really bold lilies. When you leave home the next day and come back to see the flowers displayed on your dinner table in a cute vase, you’ll take a second look, but won’t have to force out a smile. The brightening of your day will come naturally with simple beauties … like flowers. Trust!
6. Window Shop
Again, it doesn’t cost to dream and when you window shop, no one expects you to make a purchase. It just allows you to open your mind and see what’s out there. You can start piecing together what you already have that may reflect what’s in the window. Maybe it’s a nice picture frame or a cute purse or some jewelry that you reminds you of a piece you have at home. Now, you may wear it differently, or display it in another way. It’s just a creative way to expand your thinking and it’s free.
7. Spruce Up the Bedroom
Change your sheets. Make your bed. Swap out the comforter. Fluff the pillows. Vacuum the floor. Clean out what’s under your bed. Refold your clothes in your drawers. Dust off your dresser. Make the place that’s supposed to be peaceful just that … peaceful.
8. Closet Clean
Out with the old, but not necessarily in with the new. Sometimes, when we get rid of stuff, we don’t need more of it just yet. Like when a relationship ends … you need a breather … room to grow … space to see clearly … just like your closet. No matter how skinny you get or how many years go by, you’re never going to wear those jeans or that mini skirt. Let it go. When the time is right, and the opportunity presents itself, you can splurge a little to revamp the wardrobe. Right now, to relieve stress, let’s unclutter.
9. Rearrange Furniture
It’s always fun to rearrange the living room couches or game room equipment. Remember playing with mom’s blankets and the dining room table and chairs? … Well, now you can do it as an adult … only maybe a little less focus on the fort building and a little more emphasis on the arrangement. Let’s move the love seat and TV and open the windows to brighten up the room. Get rid of the old drapes and ancient curtains. Time to let the light in and make for a happier, humble abode.
10. Bathe the Gas Sucker
Give that baby a good, squeaky cleaning … inside and out. Trash the crumbled receipts and straw wrappers you have in the drink holders and door panels. Grab a new, yummy scented car air freshener. Windex the mirrors and windows. You’ll feel much better each day when you’re riding in freshness.
11. Make Lists … for Nearly Anything
It’s ok to make to-do lists for your to-do lists. It’s important to get some organization under your belt, especially when your mind is all over the place focusing on things of less importance. Make a grocery list. Make a to-do list. Make an early Christmas list. Make a bucket list. And when these lists get sloppy, make more, cleaner versions. It will definitely ease your mind knowing you have a little more structure.
12. Experiment in the Kitchen
Bake. Broil. Stir. Do something that requires attention to detail and that has an enjoyable outcome. For example, bake homemade chocolate chip cookies. You’ll have to start from scratch, spray the pan, set a timer, etc. The start to finish baking process will keep you busy and when the "ooey-gooeys" are all done, you'll get instant gratification if they turn out … if they don’t, try again. This will certainly pass the time.
13. Nourish the body
Bubble baths are relaxing by themselves, but if you can get some exfoliating body wash, or make a homemade scrub and light some candles, you’ll feel so relaxed. Something about getting rid of the dead skin that just feels like your breaking free of whatever shackles are holding you down. Make that water hot, steam up the mirror, and chill out.
14. Pamper the Piggies
A do-it-yourself pedicure never turns out quite right, mostly because we don’t take the time to give ourselves one thoroughly. Take 30 minutes and really love your feet for a bit. Remove the existing, chipped nail polish, soak your piggies in the tub, invest in a stone scrubber, mix up some peppermint exfoliate and scrub-a-dub-dub. Paint your nails a color that makes you happy, like pink or soft purple, and don’t forget the little toe inserts. Use cotton if you don’t have any of the cool Styrofoam inserts like the nail salons do. Whatever toe separators you use will help the nails from sticking to one another and when your toenails turn out, Lord knows ya feel purty instantly.
15. Care for the Face
Relaxing your face muscles can do wonders for you when you’re feeling stressed. Whether you use pore strips, an exfoliating mask or whatever, when you relax and clean your skin, especially if you cake on make-up on a regular basis, you look and feel better, whether you know it or not. Wash your face. Use pore strips. Apply a mask. Rinse your face again. Apply energizing lotions. Put cucumbers or oranges on your eyes. Use cold packs. Whatever gives your face a nice glow … do it. Let your skin breathe and while all of these potions are soaking in, lay back on a fluffy pillow, close your eyes, focus on your breathing and clear your mind.
There are so many more ways to relieve stress and calm the mind other than what's listed above, but if you're able to start with these, you should really see and feel the difference, inside and out. Take some time for yourself and get in touch with the little things about who you are and what you enjoy. You've got to be a little selfish every once in a while ... so why not start with simplicity!?