Have you ever noticed yourself eating out of anxiety, sadness, boredom, fatigue, frustration, or loneliness? Many people turn to food for comfort. If you’re not actually hungry, eating is not the answer. But what is the answer? Sometimes, all it takes is getting creative and thinking of other ways to wind down or cheer up. Here are some ideas for other ways to relax:
1. Take a Hot Bath
Soaking in a tub with some of your favorite scented bath salts or bubble bath can be a wonderful way to treat yourself after a long, hard day. Try lighting candles all around the tub, and turning off the harsh overhead lights. Maybe even turn on some music that makes you happy and peaceful. If you have trouble getting to sleep because of your stress during the day, try this before bed and you will have a better chance of falling asleep.
2. Curl Up With A Good Book
Find a book that you can really get into. Sometimes it’s a trashy romance novel, other times you’ll be in the mood for something more substantial. Whatever the topic, take your literary escape into a space away from the refrigerator. Go curl up on your bed, or snuggle into an armchair.
3. Write in a Journal or Diary
Psychologists like Jamie Pennebaker have shown that people who work through their problems by talking or by writing about them are happier and healthier overall than those who keep their feelings bottled up. If you find yourself worrying or upset about something, try writing about it. You may find that just putting your feelings in words helps you to get a better handle on them. The insights you come to can help you move on.
4. Go for a Walk
If it is light out, or safe enough in your area to do so at night, take a walk outside. If it’s a beautiful day, get yourself to a park and remind yourself of the beauty there is to be found outdoors. The time you spend walking will give you time to yourself to think.
5. Paint Your Nails
Grab your favorite nail polish and give yourself a mani-pedi. For extra relaxation, give yourself a footbath first. After your nails dry, lather on some lovely-smelling lotion to make your hands and feet feel extra pampered. Try listening to music while you paint. Or, if you have a favorite movie that you’ve watched a million times, let it play in the background—you know what is happening on-screen anyway!
6. Write Poetry
Get out your favorite pen or pencil, and write a poem. It can be about anything, in any style. Try haiku, or come up with a rhyming scheme. If you’re feeling too upset to think of anything to write about, try writing a haiku about what is upsetting you. If you can frame your negative thoughts in a beautiful way, they might not have such power over you.
7. Have a Cup of Tea
This one goes very well with number two. Fire up the kettle and boil some water. Choose your favorite tea—decaf or herbal if it’s close to bedtime—and make a pot. Pour it into your very favorite mug or teacup. Savor the aroma of the steeping tea, and really take the time to enjoy every sip.
8. Try a Few Yoga Poses
If you’re new to yoga, watch a video online or google easy poses—or check out the recent Evolved World article on three easy yoga poses. If you’re familiar with yoga asanas, choose your favorite poses and give yourself a mini class. Really take the time to enjoy the space. Breathe through all your stress and negative feelings. Imagine you are inhaling peace and exhaling negativity. Conclude with Savasana and picture the earth cradling your body, giving you strength and reassurance.
9. Reach Out
Call or email a loved one just to catch up. If you can, try to talk about the positive things you’ve experienced lately. This will help you to focus on the elements of life that you might have been forgetting amid your moment of stress and unhappiness. Find out what your loved one has been up to. Make a plan to get together soon so that you have something pleasant to look forward to.
10. Try Not Meditating
If you are used to and comfortable with meditating, so much the better—just remember to meditate when you are feeling stressed. If you’re like most people with noisy minds, you might find that attempting to meditate feels daunting. Instead, try sitting quietly without any particular goals. Let your mind wander. If you can, simply pay attention to where your thoughts go.
Remember, you are not your thoughts. You only contain your thoughts. They can and will change over time. Let them be. While you sit there not meditating, enjoy this quiet moment to yourself. Send yourself love and acceptance. Whether happy or sad, you have the power to love and nourish yourself through it all.