Wednesday, June 5, 2013

15 Low-Cost & No-Cost Stress Relievers

your day has slowed to a crawl
you have ZERO wiggle room in the budget, &
 no one is available to come to your rescue...

how do you relax?

I didn't expect so much crying from our grocery outing earlier tonight. Turning away from a butcher showcase [aka. raw MEAT] without meat in-hand left my 1-year-old weeping and pointing back toward the_raw MEAT

Later, with my crying 4-year-old sprawled out on the floor of Fresh Market, I recognized the value of having a healthy list of low-cost and no-cost stress relievers to refer to.    

| | | | | | |

act like the kid you were
◊ For a guaranteed mood lift-
“A girl is most connected to her soul, to the things she really loves to do, between the ages of 10 and 13 [Cheryl Richardson, life coach].” Think of a few things you couldn’t live without when you were that age. “I loved digging in the dirt,” says Richardson. “Today I love flowers and gardening.” If you can’t recall any particular activities, take a cue from your children.
◊ What was one thing you couldn't live without at this age?


| | | | | | |

add music
◊ When all else fails, press "Play" and dial up the volume.

| | | | | | |

break out the crayons
◊ I've seen some great coloring books at the dollar store [although, I'd stick with name brand crayons]. It's nice to think about which color to use next, and nothing else.

Printable: Wee Life
Printable: Free Coloring Pages
Image/Tutorial: Beauty Through Imperfection

| | | | | | |

bring back nap time
◊ Set a timer for 20-30 minutes.
◊ If you can't sleep, relax and breathe-
Focus on relaxing each part of your body until there is absolutely no tension in your body. Breathe deep through your nose, filling your lungs completely. Exhale slowly through your mouth as you count from 1 to 8.
◊ If your Little is exercising her/his independence regarding naptime: help diffuse a tantrum by giving her/him a choice, within the bounds of what you and they need out of nap time.
Allow them to choose or draw a Nap Time [or Quiet Time] card that will decide where and for how long they'll nap, or what they may do quietly instead.
I Love You Like Nap Time Printable: Simply Real Moms
Image: Frederik Von Erichsen/AFP/Getty Images
Toddler Nap Time/Quiet Time Cards: Painless Meals

| | | | | | |

◊ Things in their place quiet the mind. Even when a room is behind a closed door, we know that things are in their place. A clean and organized room doesn't steal attention from what's happening in the room. We are free to relax and enjoy the room when we aren't making a mental list of things of all that needs to be done there.

◊ Deep clean one room, one closet, one drawer. I clean with my boys [and around my boys] in the room. As I clean, I give myself time to clear my head and burn off any frustration. In the end, I'm calmed and I have fresh bed linens and a clean room.

Printable: Studio Binnen [Dutch]
Image: Kelly McGuill Home [beautiful photos, fantastic rooms]

| | | | | | |

hot bath, cold drink
◊ Pairing a cold drink with a hot bath is refreshing for the same reason a Popsicle is refreshing in the summer heat.

◊ Now you can soak instead of shiver with this [inexpensive] Deep Water Bath Overflow Cover. This is one purchase I have never regretted.

◊ In one bathtub, you can take hundreds of different kinds of baths. How do you feel? What do you need? What can you add to your bath?

Image: Michelle Kaufmann
Image/Product Review: Outblush

| | | | | | |

◊ As you think of loved ones [including pets] you can hug, don't forget to hug yourself-
Toss your covers aside [first thing in the morning].
Bend your knees.
Bring your knees to your chest-hug them close to your body with your arms.
Hold the pose for 20-50 seconds.
Release and repeat.
This stretch hits all the muscles in your body, and it feels great.
◊ Pull each of your children aside. Hold them close [for as long as they'll let you]. Name one quality you admire about them, or something they've done that you're grateful for.

Image: Pinterest
Image: Pinterest

| | | | | | |

◊ I love this Favorite Things Exchange invitation. What a fun way to meet other women and moms you can laugh with and relate to!

◊ I can never go wrong with: videos of my boys, Brian Regan, and a Funny Baby Videos/Funny Baby Animals search on YouTube.

Re-watch one of your favorite funny movies. What's yours??

Favorite Things Exchange Printable: Joy's Hope 

| | | | | | |

more of the outdoors
◊ Lie on a sheet or a blanket on the grass in the shade.

◊ Have a picnic in your back yard.

◊ Walk/push the stroller down the street and back. Practice mindful meditation [see Time Out] as you walk.

◊ Give your Little(s) a list of objects to look for as you walk. They can stamp each square with a stamper [from the dollar store] when they find it.

◊ Pull weeds. [I'm loving this lately!]

◊ Throw pebbles in a stream.

◊ Collect objects from your walk/an outing and put them in a jar with a note about what made it special.
Natural environments turn down the static of everyday life, wake up your senses and calm the constantly whirring frontal lobes of your brain.  
Image: Daniella Marie
Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable: Kinda Granola
Flip Flop Stampers: Oriental Trading
Image: Pinterest

| | | | | | |

no gym needed
◊ Drink a glass of [ice cold] water. [I drink more water when it's ice cold.] Fatigue and weakness are also signs of mild dehydration. It's very important to keep your body hydrated [especially in the summer heat]!

◊ If you find yourself saying "I'll exercise later," could it be because you have a specific routine/destination in mind you're not getting to? Exercise doesn't have to be a DVD or a class at the gym. Just move your body:

◊ Work in the yard. Practice a sport [you're not that good at yet]. Stretch. Then, smile when your Little attempts the same stretch. Dollar stores often have hula hoops and jump ropes. Find physical activity game ideas online.

Image: Pinterest

| | | | | | |

put pen to paper
◊ Brainstorm. Dream. Plan. 
◊ Write a letter. [Do you know anyone who doesn't love a hand-written letter??]
◊ Describe on paper a character, place, or event from the story you can't get out of your head.
◊ Fill one page of a journal. There's something honest and captivating about a rugged, inexpensive notebook filled with the moments of a life. Those moments when you learn who you are, when you're grateful, when you let go and forgive, when you speak of the people you love and leave a whisper of You behind for others to benefit from.

Image: Kim Ludy

| | | | | | |

random acts of kindness
◊ There are countless wonderful ideas online + your instincts when presented with an opportunity. Warm Winter Wishes writes a fantastic post HERE. Have you been the giver or recipient of a random act of kindness? 

Random Acts of Kindness tags: Make Them Wonder/The Former Miss
Image: Warm Winter Wishes [What a great post!]
Random Acts of Kindness tags: Thumba-Lea [at the end of her post] 

| | | | | | |

stock your own spa
◊ Pick a homemade spa treatment 'recipe' to try.

◊ "The scent of a fresh fruit can do amazing things [Barbara Thomley]." The best essential oil for stress? THIS Prevention News article may surprise you. What smell(s) do you love/find relaxing??

Learn how to give yourself a few simple spa treatments like a hand massage and manicure, or a foot massage and pedicure.

Image/Recipe: Cut Out + Keep
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Image/Recipes: Deborah Wood Murphy 

| | | | | | |

time out
◊ A corner is all you need for a comfortable chair. Relax with a favorite drink, and read a chapter of your current book. Put pen to paper. Talk to someone you enjoy talking to. [Learn how to] crochet, knit or cross-stitch.

my current project

◊ When you have to meditate on the fly-
Quiet your mind and calm your body with mindful meditation, or moment-to-moment awareness. As you chop vegetables for dinner, notice the crunch with each chop. The vibrant color of the carrots and peppers.
Learn more at WOMAN'S DAY
Image: Pinterest
Image/Cross-stitch Pattern: Wee Little Stitches

| | | | | | |

◊ Plan to have NO plan. Do whatever you feel like doing. Get lost. Even if you're stuck at the office, free yourself from the typical demands of your day, and do something you wouldn't ordinarily do.

◊ "Hike" to the living room/back yard with a stack of books and a few supplies [campout treats].

◊ Literally unplug...your computer, the TV, the microwave...and see what follows.

| | | | | | |

what stress-reliever would you add to our list?


  1. Thanks for a great list! I love yoga as a stress reducer!

    1. I've thought about finding a yoga class - Thank you for the suggestion.

  2. Cleaning, if my kids are asleep or napping, is my stress reliever!

    1. Agreed. [I wish our rooms stayed clean longer, LOL]

  3. Turning on the music and dancing in the kitchen with my kids!

    1. Love it :). How do you listen to your tunes Angel?

  4. AWESOME list! Love your blog :)! I like to take create something when I'm stressed.. Dancing helps too!

    1. Thanks Karina. Dancing keeps coming up. When I dance my boys typically look at me funny - I should probably dance more often anyway. Favorite song to dance to?