Donna Jean Nethery
Girl, just relax... YOU GOT THIS!!!
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Planning a wedding from start to finish can be stressful. What are you forgetting? Are the colors ok? When do I need to be ready? How far in advance do I need to place orders? on and on and on it goes...
A few things I found useful:
Delegate - Yes, its okay to have someone else (or a few) help you. Do you have a maid of honor, bridesmaids, dependable momma, MIL, etc.? Have bi-weekly meetings of what's been done and what needs to be done... how to make this stress-free you ask? Have those bi-weekly meetings somewhere fun; have a dessert party; create a fun spa day; play games; enjoy a new drink... so many ways to have a fun get-together to calm everyone but still be uuummmm... 'working'.
Keep a notepad handy or a note app on your phone, every time something pops into your head, jot it down.
Do the easy things on your list a little at a time... being able to mark a few easy peasy items off your list every once in a while makes you realize you are being productive and can help stave off the feeling of being unprepared which in turns can cause some to 'freak-out'.
I'm the wedding officiant, I have to make sure everything goes perfect for the ceremony; readings, not dropping the rings, etc... and EVERYONE is watching & listening. Or if it's one of my packages, then the flowers and decor are also up to my crew in addition to the ceremony and I want everything perfect & beautiful.
First things first; I write the ceremony... but I still have to study and practice so I can know most or all of it by heart before the BIG DAY! I do this several times a week, I don't cram the day before the wedding; that would definitely stress me out...
I have to make sure I speak loud enough without screaming at my couple ;) so I practice this as well.
I 'sticky-note' my ceremony book with items to review with my couple before the ceremony.
The night before, I prep my emergency kit (I'll explain this later), all my papers, etc. I then make sure to have a nice dinner and get a good night's sleep.
The day of, I plan nothing, nothing at all. I have a nice cup of hot green tea, I then also do my own spa day at home... calming stretches, manicure, facial, etc., to help me relax for the day. I do all this while my Alexa playlist is playing through-out the house. LOUDLY ;)
That's what works for me; find what works for you and do it as often as possible. Below are quite a few ideas found online... try a few, or all of them; and never forget YOU GOT THIS, GIRL!!!
Here is a list of 84 things you can do for relaxation and relief from stress. Most of them are simple activities that anyone can do. Not all activities listed here will work for everyone so try to find out the activities that work best for you. Please note that these activities are not listed in any particular order.
1. Practice relaxing yoga asanas
There are many simple yoga asanas like Balasana (Child pose) and Makarasana (Crocodile pose), Cat-Cow pose, Legs up the wall pose that can be immensely relaxing to the mind and body. Just choose any one pose hat you are comfortable with and do it for around 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Listen to relaxing music
The right music has the power to take away all your worries. Create a playlist of your favorite relaxing tracks and listen to it whenever you feel stressed.
Dim the lights, sit alone and focus on your your breathing. Feel your heart beats. Witness your mind and the thoughts that arise. Realize that you are not your thoughts. Let the thoughts go.
3. Paint your imagination
It does not matter if you are good at painting or not. Just take out a watercolor paper (or simply use any blank paper), a paintbrush, some watercolors and paint what comes to your mind. Express yourself. You can even use sketch pens, color pencils or crayons – whatever’s available.
Adult coloring books are a good option too.
5. Go for a walk in nature
Go for a mindful walk early in the morning when the air is fresh. Be mindful of each step you take, the sights, sounds and smells. Lose yourself to the experience.
6. Watch the sunrise
Find a location where it is easy to watch the sunrise and spend a few minutes watching the sun, preferably barefooted. The morning sun energizes you and fills you with positive energy.
If you have the time, spend a few minutes soaking in the morning sun. Vitamin D relaxes blood vessels and enhances circulation. The most natural way to get Vitamin D is to soak in the morning sun for around 10 to 15 minutes without any sunscreen.
7. Take a hot/cold shower
A hot/cold shower, also known as a contrast shower can be extremely relaxing to your mind and body. Start with a hot shower followed by a cold shower and repeat the cycle three to four times.
Contrast showers are used by fitness professionals and athletes to get relief from muscle soreness and fatigue.
8. Play a board game
Board games can be a lot of fun and can help take your mind off things. They also help bring back the carefree childhood memories.
There are thousands of games to choose from. Some particularly relaxing games are Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Tokaido, Takenoko, Flowerpower, Settlers of Catan and Fluxx. Or you can stick with classics like Monopoly, Game of Life, Backgammon, Cluedo, Chess, Uno, Connect 4 or Scrabble.
9. Go for a swim
Swimming, especially in natural lakes can be extremely relaxing. But even if you don’t have a lake nearby and your only option is chlorine treated water, it can still give you all the benefits. Play around in the water, float in it, feel the water and listen to the water as you swim.
You can also use a flotation product like an air mat or pool tube and enjoy a relaxing float in the water.
10. Get yourself a massage
A good massage can not only help you relax but also help reduce anxiety, digestive disorders, headaches, sleep issues and joint pains. You can go to a massage parlor or even better ask your partner to give you a full body massage. Remember to return the favor!
11. Spend time with a pet
Petting a dog/cat/rabbit or any other furry animal can feel highly relaxing. Research indicates that petting animals releases feel good hormones in humans.
If you don’t own a pet, consider visiting a friend who has one.
12. Do deep abdominal breathing
Take a few minutes to breath deeply and consciously. Fill your lungs up with life energy and hold for a few seconds before exhaling. While inhaling, place a hand on your belly and make sure that your belly rises. While exhaling, think of all your stress flowing out of your body.
13. Write down your worries
Writing on paper can be highly cathartic. Buy yourself a journal and start writing. Write down what’s on your mind; write about things that have been bothering your lately; write about the things you love; write about past events that have been on your mind. Reflect on your writing.
14. Take a salt water bath
Salt water baths have immense benefits especially when it comes to stress relief and relaxation. This is because, salt water baths helps you body absorb magnesium and magnesium helps lower blood pressure, improve circulation, relieve cramps, relieve headaches and improve sleep quality.
Simply fill your bath with warm water and add around 2 to 3 cups of magnesium sulfate (Epson salt) or magnesium chloride salts and soak it in for about 20 to 25 minutes. Follow this up with a shower. Make this into a cleansing ritual you do once on a weekly or monthly basis.
15. Sing or dance
Put on your favorite chill out music and move your body to the rhythm. Don’t focus on how you are dancing. Instead, let go, lose yourself to the rhythm and let the rhythm guide you. Moving your body this way helps deeply relax your mind and body.
16. Cut down on processed foods
Processed foods stress your body out, curbing you of vital energy and making you feel drained. This is because your body has to expend a lot of energy digesting these foods and then removing the resultant toxins. Cut down on these foods and you will feel an instant boost of energy within a day or two.
Add high enzyme foods that boost digestion, improve gut health and aid relaxation. Include enzyme rich foods like raw tomatoes, cucumbers, pineapple, papaya, nuts and seeds in your daily diet. Fermented vegetables are high in enzymes too.
17. Watch your favorite childhood cartoons
Make a list of all the cartoons you used to love watching as child and watch them on Netflix. Try connecting with your inner child as you do this.
Cartoons like Winnie the Pooh, The Poddington Peas, Arthur, The Wild Thornberrys, Recess, As Told By Ginger, Lilo and Stitch, The Flintstones and many others are not only fun to watch, but also have a relaxing vibe to them. ‘Winnie the Pooh’, definitely tops the list.
You might even find many of these cartoons on youtube.
18. Listen to a guru
Listening to gurus speak can be relaxing as well as enlightening. Youtube has a host of videos by top gurus like Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, Ralph Smart and other masters. Just search for these names on Youtube to get their free videos.
Eckhart Tolle definitely tops this list. Simply listening to him speak can bring a deep sense of relaxation.
19. Spend a few minutes being mindful
Make a conscious attempt to live in the present moment. Let go of thoughts related to the past and future and consciously focus your attention in the present.
20. Wake up early
Walk up before the sun rises and smell the fresh air. Do some sun gazing and soak in the early morning sun rays. Follow up with some light jogging or walking.
21. Go on a long drive
Find a scenic route and go on a long drive. Roll the windows down and breath in the fresh air whilst admiring the nature around you.
22. Learn to play music
Learn to play a musical instrument like guitar, ukulele or a piano. Playing music is fun and can be an excellent stress reliever. You can easily learn the basics using the countless tutorials available on the internet.
23. Read a comic book
Remember the comic book that you loved reading as a kid? Pick it up and start reading and get in touch with your carefree inner child.
If not a comic book, even children’s books or novels can make for a fun read. Some examples are books by Dr Seuss, Ruskin Bond, Roald Dahl and Judy Blume.
24. Hug a Tree
Trees have this beautifully relaxing energy to them. Hugging a tree can help you tap into this energy. Hug a tree and be still with the tree for a few minutes. You can also sit on a branch or under the tree and reminisce.
25. Watch children play
Go to a children’s park and watch children play. Tune into their carefree energy.
26. Sit on a swing
Go to a nearby park and (when there are no kids around), sit on a swing and start swinging. Feel the air on your skin and enjoy the soothing to and fro movements. The rocking movements that a swing creates will connect you with your inner child cause they mimic the movements of a cradle.
Hanging swing seats (hammock chairs) & rocking chairs are also a good option as they provide similar soothing movements.
27. Live without technology for a day
Switch off your cellphone, close your laptop, switch off your T.V. and spend the day away from technology.
28. Go shopping
Go to an antique store or any other store that sells unique items and look around. You might just end up finding something that could spark that dormant creativity in you.
29. Eat out and try a new cuisine
Visit a restaurant that you have never been to and order something that you have never ordered before. Try out a completely new cuisine.
30. Drop the resentments
Learn to forgive and forget. Forgive everyone including yourself. Drop the idea of revenge from your system and you will immediately feel lighter.
31. Sit around a campfire
Sitting around a campfire or a fire-pit can be deeply relaxing. Everything from the flickering light, to the warmth, smells and the crackling sounds, helps you relax and unwind.
32. Go fishing
If you are lucky to live nearby fishing spots then by all means go fishing. If you have never tried it, then this a great new skill to learn.
33. Spend time alone
Take a walk alone and reminisce. Do some self reflection.
34. Day dream
Close your eyes and enter the dream world. Visualize yourself in a beautiful tropical island, relaxing and having fun without a care in the world.
35. Do some stargazing
Buy a relaxing camp chair, lean back and enjoy looking at the magnificent stars that adorn the night sky. They are all shining for you!
You can also consider using a binocular or a telescope so you can see star clusters, the moon, comets and other elements in the night sky at a closer range.
36. Stop and smell the flowers
Go for long walks in the park, look and smell the flowers. Don’t just make shallow observations, but be fully present and look deeply, get into the minor details.
As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “When we look deeply at a flower, we can see the whole cosmos is contained in it.”
37. Garden away
Gardening is the best way to connect with mother earth. Planting, raking leaves or even just pulling out weeds can have a calming influence on the mind. Work in your garden barefooted to get the benefits of grounding/earthing.
38. Go to a beach
Go to a beach and listen to the waves, walk along the shores, feel the breeze, build sand castles and collect sea shells. Walking on a beach has many known benefits in addition to helping you release stress.
39. Try self hypnosis
There are plenty of free relaxation hypnosis videos on youtube that you can try. Listen to them with your headphones on for maximum effect. If hypnosis is not your thing, try guided meditation instead.
40. Listen to binaural beats
A binaural beat uses two different sine waves which can be used to en-train the brain into positive states. Again, there are many free binaural beats on Youtube which you can check out.
41. Listen to OM Sounds
The OM sound is known for its relaxing effects. Consider humming along while you listen to the music.
42. Play a Tibetan singing bowl
Singing bowls have been used for deep relaxation and holistic healing since ancient times. They are easy to play and can be used by anyone. You can easily purchase one off amazon.com
43. Visit an ancient temple
Ancient temples can bring a sense of peace to your being. This is because most ancient places of worship were built to help visitors with relaxation, grounding and inner peace.
44. Practice gratitude
Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. You can also consider maintaining a gratitude journal to jot down the things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
Cuddling releases feel good hormones in your body. Cuddle with your partner and consciously feel their presence energy.
46. Create something
There is amazing power in creation. To get started, there is a whole array of do-it-yourself projects on the internet. Pick something that you enjoy and create it.
47. Draw a Mandala
A Mandala is a circular figure which represents the universe. It is said that drawing a Mandala can be extremely relaxing and a healing activity. Here is a video on drawing a mandala to help you get started.
If drawing is not your thing, then you can even buy ready made Mandalas and color them instead.
48. Visit an aquarium
Visiting an aquarium and watching different varieties of fish swim along can have a relaxing effect on our bodies. Read more here: Aquarium therapy.
49. Try essential oils and aromatherapy
There is a wide range of essential oils that can do wonders to reduce stress. Some of them include, Rose, Frankincense, Lavender, Rosewood and Ylang Ylang. Get yourself an aromatherapy kit (Oil diffuser + oils) and enjoy the positive effects. You can also add these oils to your bath or use them for massaging.
50. Listen to the birds
Go to a park and focus your attention on the birds chirping. Tune into their free energy.
51. Create more space
Clean or re-arrange your room. Remove clutter by giving away things that you no longer need and create more space inside.
52. Donate your old clothes
Helping others can help you reduce stress and combat depression as it takes your mind off your problems and brings into picture a bigger perspective.
Donate your old clothes and/or equipment to organizations who help people in need. This is also a great way to remove clutter and create more space in your house.
53. Indulge in old memories
Sit with old photo albums and indulge in old memories. Research indicates that indulging in pleasant memories can be highly beneficial as it promotes optimism and well being.
54. Go to a meet up
Find meet-ups that you would be interested in, in and around your area and visit. Being around like-minded people is the best way to re-energize.
55. Visit a butterfly park
If there is a butterfly park around, visit and spend time observing these beautiful, colorful, carefree creatures.
Have long deep conversations with your partner or an old friend over snacks, wine and light music.
57. Try cycling
Hire a bicycle and take it for a spin along a calm traffic-free road. Feel the cool air caressing your skin as you ride along scenic locations.
Stretching is a great way to release the tension in your body. Make it a point to stretch often.
59. Do some Shaking Qigong
Shaking Qigong involves shaking your body to release negative energy. All you need to do is stand in an at-ease position, keep your body lose and start to shake for around 5 to 10 minutes. You will be amazed at how much this simple technique relaxes you.
60. Listen to dolphins/whales singing
Listening to dolphins can be very relaxing. Check out ‘Reiki whale songs by Kamal‘ on Youtube or bandcamp. Or just search for ‘dolphin sounds’ to get a list of videos.
61. Take a sound bath
A sound bath involves listening to sounds generated by singing bowls, gongs, bells, didgeridoo and other instruments. The vibrations of these sounds is said to heal the body. Check out if there is a sound bath studio near your house and pay a visit.
62. Walk barefooted
Let the soles of your feet get directly in touch with mother earth by walking or standing barefoot. This practice known as ‘grounding’ is said to have various health benefits. Studies suggest that it helps reduce stress and inflammation, relaxes the muscles, reduces chronic pain and strengthens the immune system.
Consider walking barefoot on the beach or in a garden.
63. Take a nap in a hammock
Napping in a hammock can be an extremely relaxing experience. Studies have found that the slow rocking motion of a hammock calms down your mind by affecting your brain waves aiding deep, restful slumber.
64. Rent a comedy movie
Laughter is a great way to beat stress. Good comedy movies can lighten your mood and help take your mind off things.
65. Try stress balls
Stress balls are great to release tension. When you squeeze the ball, the muscles in your arm tighten and relax as you let go. These are perfect for times when you are stuck at work and have no other way to vent.
66. Practice progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise that involves squeezing and releasing various muscle groups in your body. At the end of a fully body exercise, you will feel deeply relaxed.
Here’s a video with easy instructions to follow:
67. Stay in a tree house
Staying in a tree-house for a day or two can make for a beautiful experience. Find out if there are treehouse resorts nearby and plan a stay for a few days. Airbnb.com is a great place to locate such treehouses. There are also many yoga and meditation retreats that offer treehouse based accommodation.
68. Watch Bob Ross paint
Watching a master artist create art (be it drawing, painting, sculpting etc.) can be a highly meditative experience.
Thanks to the internet, you can watch many such artists as they create masterpieces.
One such artist is Bob Ross who had a highly popular show on PBS named the – ‘Joy of painting’ in the 1980’s. Each episode consisted of Bob painting a beautiful masterpiece while talking to the audience about the joy of painting in his signature smooth relaxing voice. You can check out the videos here.
There are thousands of similar videos online that feature art being made by some amazing artists which you can check out too.
69. Listen to live music
Listening to live music be it a local jazz/piano concert or your favorite musician/band performing, can be a highly intimate and refreshing experience. There is even research to prove that live music is relaxing. It is also a great way to support your favorite artist.
If concerts are not your thing, there are also restaurants that play live music which you can check out.
You can use a site like EventBrite to find live events happening in and around your neighborhood.
70. Watch live stand-up comedy
There is something magical about watching a comedian churn out live jokes and laughing together with others.
According to best selling author Brian Benson, ‘To laugh is to feel alive. To laugh with another is to be spiritually connected with them.’
There are many comedy clubs that organize live events on a daily basis. You can find them easily using a site like Eventbrite as mentioned earlier.
71. Watch some relaxing Ebru painting
If you liked watching Bob Ross paint, then you will love Ebru painting. Simply put, Ebru is the art of painting on water using dyes and vibrant colored pigments. It’s fun to watch the entire process and the final result is mesmerizing.
72. Connect with your body
Connecting with your body can be a deeply relaxing and liberating experience. On a default basis, we live in our minds (lost in thoughts) completely ignoring our bodies. Hence, when you come out of your mind and bring attention within your body, you can begin to consciously relax tense body parts.
73. Use a scalp massager
Take a warm shower while using a massager to gently massage your scalp. In addition to the deep relaxation, this will also stimulate your scalp promoting hair health.
There are many scalp massagers available in the market that you can buy.
74. Do some bee breathing (humming)
Just one to two deep breaths can deeply relax your entire being. But you can take this to another level by doing some ‘bee breathing‘ or humming.
Here’s how: Take a deep breath and as you slowly exhale through your nose, make a mild humming sound like, ‘mmmmm’. As you hum this way, feel the vibration it generates in and around your head. You can also gently cover both your ears with your index finger as you hum. Covering your ears allows you to experience the vibrations with greater intensity. You can repeat as many times as you want.
75. Go for a labyrinth walk
Since ancient times, labyrinths have been used as tools for meditation and relaxation.
As opposed to a maze (that offers a lot of misdirections), a labyrinth has a single winding path that leads to the center. As you enter and walk a labyrinth by following the pattern, you automatically become more mindful and can even get into a relaxed meditative state. So if you have a labyrinth located anywhere close to you (you can find them in parks, playgrounds, churches etc.), be sure to give it a try.
76. Create a mini zen garden
Ranking patterns in sand using a raking tool (or your fingers) can be very relaxing and that’s what a mini Zen Garden allows you to do.
The sight, subtle sounds and feeling of sand can bring a deep sense of peace to your being. You can buy a mini Zen Garden tool from the internet or create your own. All you need is white sand (or salt), a small square (or circular) box and a mini-rake.
77. Draw a labyrinth on sand
This Mini Zen Garden Labyrinth Maze from ZenLife allows you to use a stylus or your finger to draw a labyrinth on sand. As you move the stylus through the sand, you will see the labyrinth pattern arising which can be really relaxing.
78. Watch some street art
Walk or drive around your city and view some street art. Some of this art can be really fascinating, uplifting and inspiring.
79. Do some hula hooping
Hula hooping (more specifically waist hooping) can be a little difficult to learn at first, but once you pick up the basic moves, it is guaranteed to turn into your go to exercise for stress relief.
80. Walk on dry leaves
Walk on dry leaves while being fully conscious of the crackling/rustling sounds. This can be a deeply relaxing activity during the fall season. You can also watch and listen to people walking on dry leaves on Youtube.
81. Participate in a drum circle
A drum circle is where a bunch of people sit around and play drums. You can gather your like minded friends and make a your own drum circle or join a drum circle happening in and around your locality. The rhythmic vibrations created by these drums playing in unison can be very therapeutic.
82. Do some Static Stretching
Static stretching is where you stretch a muscle and hold the stretch for a few seconds before releasing. This is similar to the PMR technique discussed earlier. While you hold and release, consciously feel all the stress in your muscles melt away.
83. Play with Play-Doh or modeling clay
Play-Doh is not just for kids, adults can use it for relaxation too. Plus making stuff out of Play-doh will help you connect with your inner child. Another option is to use Terracotta Clay (which can be easily brought online).
84. Drink herbal tea
Make a relaxing tea using your favorite herbs and spices. Some ideas for ingredients you can use include cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, dried cumin, ginger (fresh or dried), dried lemon balm, dried camomile, dried rose petals and dried spearmint.
In addition to helping with stress relief, hula hooping on a regular basis also helps burn that stubborn belly fat, strengths your core and has a host of other benefits. In addition, since this exercise requires rhythm and concentration, it can help you take your mind off of things.