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20 Things You Can Try to Help Relax

There is just so much going on in todays fast-paced world that life can seem simply overwhelming at times. We could all use a time out every now and again, especially if you are living or struggling with your own mental health condition(s). I’m sure there are tons of things you have to either complete or get done at home or at work. It’s always a good idea to take at least 30-60 minutes out of your day to do something for yourself that can help you relax and unwind from a stressful, busy, or long day.

Some people already have a list of things they can do to try to help themselves relax, while other people may need some suggestions. I’ve created a list of 20 activities you can try to help yourself de-stress, relax, and unwind.

1. Take a Bath

Try taking a nice, long, hot bubble bath. Don’t use this bath time to worry about getting clean. Instead, use this bath time to relax. Maybe light some scented candles and pour yourself a cold glass of wine (or juice if you have a history of substance abuse). You could also play some relaxing music in the background.

2. Read a Book

Reading a new book or even re-reading one of your old favorite books can help take your mind off of your daily stressors. It can help you escape to a magical world outside of your own reality. You can find a comfortable spot in your home where no one else will bother you for at least 30 to 60 minutes. Light some candles. Sip on some coffee or hot tea and let your inner imagination take you away for a while.

3. Use Affirmations

Take a few minutes every couple of hours to work on affirmations that can lead to greater self-esteem and confidence. Tell your self that you are happy, you are loved, and that you are beautiful. Tell yourself that you are strong and independent even if you really don’t feel that way right now. You can also keep an affirmations journal so that you are not just saying these affirmations to yourself out loud, but you can write them down too. Positivity attracts positivity! Keep track of your progress so that you will be able to see how far you’ve come once you have been trying out affirmations daily for some time.

4. Journal

One main coping mechanism I use frequently is to journal. You don’t even have to have something specific to write about, either. Just start off by writing anything and everything that comes to your mind. It’s an excellent tool to have when it comes to trying to deal with your mental health. And when you feel like you have no one to talk to about what is going on inside your head, you can always turn to your handy dandy journal. It’s a good place to jot down all your private thoughts and feelings.

5. Play with a Pet

Spending time with your adorable pet is a wonderful way to help you de-stress and help you to feel more relaxed. Beloved pets and fur babies can offer emotional and mental support to their owners. They can help ease feelings of loneliness. You can spend some time playing with your fur baby, grooming them, petting them, and cuddling with them. The love and affection that we get from our animals is pure and unconditional which can often be hard to come by.

6. Talk to Someone You’re Close With & Trust

Sometimes when we aren’t feeling mentally well and stable, we just might need someone that has been a mental health support system for us that can let us vent to them about the stuff that is bothering us the most without fear of being judged. You should be able to reach out and call or text your most influential mental health support point person that you can reach out to regardless of your current mood.

7. Go for a Walk & Get Some Fresh Air

Going outdoors for a walk in natural sun light to get some fresh air on a nice, breezy but not freezing day outside, can give more people the piece of mind on the day they requested to get outdoors and start moving around. Pick a park or walking trail that appeals to you and is scenic. Take in the natural beauty of mother nature and walk at a nice relaxing pace.

8. Watch a Movie

If you have been having an awful day and don’t really feel like leaving your house, you could always switch out of your day time clothing and slip on something more comfortable instead. With all of those streaming movie apps–Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, Disney Plus, Redbox, Vudu, etc…–that you could hook up to a smart TV, you never really have to leave your house again to rent or watch a movie that you have yet to see. Try to look for an outrageous comedy that you think will make you laugh to help boost your mood and make you relax quite a bit.

9. Binge a Series

With our busy lives, it can be even more challenging to binge watch an entire series in one night or two. Try going on Netflix or Hulu and start searching for a series that lasts 30-60 minutes an episode. Read the description of the series you are interested in until something catches your eye and attention.

10. Try Some Arts & Crafts

If you are anything like me, when it comes to having at least one [or more] mental health disorders [in my case, I have bipolar type I disorder] you find yourself with a bunch of creative sparks and make arts and crafts a simple way to relax and have some fun while doing it. At various arts and crafts stores, it can be easy to find an arts and crafts kit where the stars are the limit for what you can create. They make and sell various kits such as DIY jewelry, buying fabric to sew miniature dolls together, clay that you must heat up to make it a solid and unmold able little creature, and so much more that you can try out for yourself.

11. Try a Hobby

While arts and crafts can also become a hobby, you should try out various other hobbies and give them a good try to see which hobby you enjoy doing the most. You can also try out private dance studios where they place you within an easy to hard level dance class unless you prefer to have solo one-on-one dance sessions. You can try scrapbooking, photography, gardening, cooking, collecting items such as percaline dolls, snow globes, coin collecting, or even stamp collecting. Whatever hobbies you decide to try out, you should also have fun while doing it.

12. Visit a Loved One

I’ve found that as we get older, it can become more challenging to get out to a dear family member or friends house to visit with them. But if you need some help relaxing, you could try making time to go out to your best friends’ house or someone else that you hold near and dear to your heart. Sometimes switching things up and going to a loved ones house could be just what the doctor ordered. Plus, it gives you some different scenery instead of always feeling stuck at home. On a different note, you could also go visit a loved ones grave site that has passed away so that you can get the sensation of still being able to talk to the ones you loved that have moved on from this lifetime.

13. Sing Out Loud

Whether you are driving alone in your car or locking yourself in your bed room, some people find that singing to their favorite songs at the top of their lungs is a great way to de-stress and relax. You don’t even have to sound like Amy Lee from Evanescence in order to let singing relax you. As long as you are alone, it honestly doesn’t matter what you sound like while you are belching out your favorite tune.

14. Start a Blog

Starting a blog can be an excellent tool to help you relax and unwind. Blogging can be an interactive alternative to journaling. Ever since I started this blog, I have been using WordPress as my blogs platform and I am highly satisfied with them. You can even start off with using a free account until you decide to grow your blog. Even if you are unsure of what you want your blogs main topic to be about, you can figure it out as you start creating more posts.

15. Create a Gratitude Journal

When daily life stressors are starting to get to you, it can be a great idea to fill out a brief daily gratitude journal that you can set up how ever you feel like it. It’s meant so that you could be able to easily reflect on how far you have come and you can clearly see just how much you have to be grateful for. You can add in as much or as little as you desire. You can always start with 3-5 things you are grateful for, for the day. You can rate your average overall mood throughout the day by using a 1-10 scale rating. You can list people that you are grateful to have in your life. You can create a realistic goal section with things that you’d like to get accomplished for the day, as well.

16. Join an Online Support Group

Online support groups are popping up all over various social media platforms. I have even created my own Facebook My Bipolar Mind Mental Health Support Group. And it currently has over 20k members. Finding the right support group for yourself is key. If you are looking for a support group for the type of mental health disorder(s) you have, you can search for a support group for that topic and see what comes up. By creating my own mental health support group, I had gained several mental health supports and I still talk to my lead admin regularly. It can be easier than you think to find supports for yourself that can turn into life long friendships.

17. Turn Off Your Cell

Try giving yourself a break away from constantly hearing your phone go off for at least 30 minutes a day. It’s a good idea to unplug yourself from the technology that tends to run our lives. This can be especially helpful for people who are in management roles or that are constantly on-call. Enjoy the 30 minutes that your phone is turned off for. Try some of the other suggestions on this list that you could try doing for that half an hour break such as journaling or blogging.

18. Use an Adult Coloring Book

Adults are now starting to find more and more “adult” coloring books than every before. When you are coloring in a picture it can help you relax by taking your mind temporarily away for the thoughts that cause you anxiety and stress. Try to focus your energy on the task at hand and nothing more. Coloring can help you relax even more if you are able to find a secluded area to color at so you are free from distractions.

19. Take a “Cat Nap”

I consider a “cat nap” to be where you try to relax and nap for anywhere between 30-60 minutes. Our minds tend to be the most at ease while we are sleeping. Napping for a brief period of time can often times help us recharge and feel a bit more refreshed after we wake up. Just make sure to set an alarm so you don’t over sleep and wake up feeling even more groggy after sleeping for longer than an hour.

20. Watch The Sun Rise or Set

An amazing way to try to relax in either the early morning hours or the later evening hours before it gets dark out, is to sit with a cup of coffee or hot tea and sit outside watching the beautiful colors of the sun light up the horizon while the sun is either getting ready to rise or if it’s beginning to set. Take this time that you are alone and watch the beautiful sky swirl with its natural colors. You could even grab your phone and take pictures of the sun making either it’s first or last appearance of the day.

Samantha View All

Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog

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