It’s no secret that we’re all stressed. It could come from work expectations and deadlines, difficult family dynamics, or pressure we put on ourselves to succeed, but the end result is always the same. We get stressed out, and it has adverse effects on our lives and our health.
Many of us are in possession of a smartphone, tablet, or laptop — all digital tools that we can potentially use to help us relax for a few minutes. Sure, a quick de-stress session isn’t as great as a 90 minute massage or a week on the beach, but it can provide a moment of Zen to clear your mind and allow you to move forward with a little less stress in your life.
If you’re looking for quick ways to blow off some steam, here are six things you can do with the device that’s already in your pocket or on your desk.
- Meditation: there’s an app for that.
Headspace, Calm, Buddhify, Omvana, Mindfulness — there are well over a dozen apps for both iOS and Android that can guide you through a short meditation. Some users find the effects of regular meditation to be so calming that they do it whether they’re stressed out or not.
- Vent to a willing listener, commitment-free.
While a good friend will always sit and listen to you vent, that friend isn’t always available when you’re in need. However, at 7cups.com, there’s always a listener waiting to chat; just click on “Chat with a new listener,” and you’ve got a venting target. It should be noted, though, that while you’ll have an interested person on the other end, he or she is not a professional therapist, so all the usual warnings about “entertainment purposes only” apply here.
- Try some ASMR.
An acronym for autonomous sensory meridian response, ASMR usually refers to the sensation many people experience when they hear close, crispy sounds. Think whispering, crinkling paper, fingernails gently scratching on metal, and so on. The sensation is sort of like gentle tingling in the head, which many find very soothing and relaxing. Will it work for you? The best way to find out is to search for ASMR audio and give a listen (there are lots of options on YouTube and SoundCloud). And, to borrow another acronym, YMMV, or your mileage may vary.
- Old school gaming.
Remember how you used to chillax after school by playing some Tetris or Super Mario Bros? Thanks to online and app-based retro game simulators, you can still de-stress by playing those same games. Sure, you can de-stress by playing a newer game, but then you run the risk of picking up a brand new addiction and wasting too much time. Instead, pick something nostalgic that you can use to test your muscle memory, and play for just a few minutes.
- Just browse.
While retail therapy can be quite fun and relaxing, it’s not a great idea if the budget’s tight or if payday is still a week away. Online browsing, though, is totally free, almost as fun, and just as calming. Clothes, shoes, snacks, gadgets — allow yourself a few minutes to just browse. You’ll calm your mind, and you might even use purchasing one of the items you looked at as an incentive to finish a big project.
- When in doubt, there are cats.
The internet is made of cats, right? As much as some of us may hate to admit it, watching cats is pretty entertaining and a good way to take your mind off stressful matters for a few minutes. Whether they’re navigating their way through a tissue box, wearing a monkey suit, jumping away from a cucumber, or just being grumpy, feline antics will probably make you laugh and lower your stress levels, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Give it a shot! If you’re feeling temporarily overwhelmed, allow yourself a few minutes to take your mind off whatever’s stressing you out. A quick word of warning, though: don’t waste too much time. It’s probably a good idea to give yourself a time limit and even set a timer. Otherwise, you run the risk of frittering away too much time and adding more stress because you’re in a time crunch. Good luck de-stressing!