17 Easy, Cheap or Free Ways to De-stress After Any Day of the Week

by Belinda Munoz on September 18, 2009

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Give your stress wings and let it fly away.  ~Carin Hartness

TGIF
Thank God It’s Friday.  So goes the saying.  Friday signals the end of a work week and for many of us, it means a chance to catch our bearings, regroup, reset and do something fun.  We think of the weekend as a sacred time to allow ourselves the luxury of doing something we can’t do on a work day like sleeping in, having a leisurely brunch with friends, enjoying a concert in the park or any such activity out of the routine.  
 
Even if you’re one of the lucky ones whose work is something you truly enjoy and would otherwise still do without getting paid, chances are you’ll still want a break from it.  But just because you work five days a week doesn’t mean you have to wait until Friday to do something to take care of yourself and nurture your soul.
 
IT’S A TRAP
I have to admit that I’ve fallen into this trap numerous times.  There’s something seemingly comforting about plowing through a work week, keeping the same schedule Mon-Fri, and doing the routine for the sake of feeling effective, efficient and productive.  I like reliability and I welcome the predictability of a steady pace.  And I like planning fun things to do on the weekends; it gives me something to look forward to.  However, I’ve found that this approach is limiting, uninspired and, let’s face it, numbing.  I may be effective, efficient and productive doing the routine but it doesn’t mean I should be boring.
 
EACH DAY IS A GIFT.  LET’S CELEBRATE IT.
If you agree with me, I suggest doing some simple out-of-the-routine, celebratory things to add value to your day.  Here’s a list of easy, cheap or free things to do to de-stress any day of the week.  Most of these can be done in 30 minutes or less which shouldn’t throw off your routines if you must stick to them.  Feel free to combine any three or four or five suggestions that you can find time for.  Many of these suggestions are kid-friendly.
 
1 Unplug.  There’s an instant calm we gain from silence, from not being accessible, even for a few minutes. 

2 Indulge in flavored hydration.  If you’re cranky at the end of the day, you’re probably dehydrated.  Make a pitcher of homemade flavored water and enjoy it.  Mint leaves, citrus and cucumber slices are pleasant, subtle flavors. 

3 Take a catnap.  If you feel guilty about doing nothing, don’t think of it that way.  You’re re-charging; that’s doing something.

4 Eat a piece of your favorite fruit in season.  This is refreshing and a great thing to do to keep from over-eating at dinner time.

5 Exercise.  You don’t have to get all sweaty if the end of the day isn’t your normal time for workout.  A few jumping jacks, crunches, push-ups can do wonders for your energy level.

6 Take a bath.  This is a very relaxing thing to do particularly if you’ve been running around all day.

7 Listen to Stevie Wonder.  Need I say more?

8 Go for a neighborhood walk.  It’s always nice to run into a familiar face.

9 Go to a library or bookstore and browse.  I bet this is something you do on the weekends, but why wait till Friday when you can do it any day?

10 Go for an ice cream outing.  If you’re one of those people who watches your dessert consumption, allow yourself a cheat day.

11 Watch a light-hearted dvd.  If rom-com is your thing, celebrate it.

12 Bang on a drum.  In my case, this is a daily activity having a husband and son who are drummers.

13 Take a swing ride.  Let your hair down, take your shoes off and just go for it.

14 Make yourself a nice dinner if you normally go out or get takeout.  Or, go out for dinner or get takeout if you normally make dinner at home.  Or, call up a good friend and see if you can score an impromptu dinner invitation.

15 Hug and kiss every member of your family.  This is good to do at all times as long as you don’t embarrass your sensitive teens in public.

16 If you work from home, sneak a lunch or coffee date with a friend.  It’s very easy to go with the flow once you get going, but being isolated working from home can be lonely.

17 If you work in an office, telecommute.  Spare the air.
 
Do you have anything to add to this list?  If so, please share.  Happy Friday!
 
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.  ~Lily Tomlin

Image by CarbonNYC

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pc Munoz September 19, 2009 at 11:43 pm

I like numbers 7 and 12 especially!

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2 Cee Populus September 22, 2009 at 9:17 am

Incorporate some inspired dancing with #s 5 and 7!

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3 Ma. Liberty S. Viray September 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I like the idea of not waiting for the weekend to de-stress! Next time I should tell myself…TGIM (Thank God its Monday) :-).

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4 Nanay September 23, 2009 at 11:59 am

I have learned to greet every new day with hope – that I could make it better than my yesterday.

……. but I wish I could bang a drum with my grandson everytime I am feeling a little bit low and (un)cheerful
. . . . well, I always make a new day resolution – be able to realize my plans at least a portion of it this day.

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5 Belinda Munoz September 24, 2009 at 9:37 am

@pc,
…or combine both!

@Cee,
Great idea! How could I have left Dance out!

@Liberty,
Ha! I like TGIM or TGIA (Thanks God it’s any day). I really believe that everyday is a gift.

@Nanay,
I love that perspective — that today can be better than yesterday.

Thanks, all!

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