10 Ways to De-Stress When Life Is Busy

De-stress when life is busy, or anytime.

How can you de-stress? My first thought is yoga, but you probably already know the benefits of yoga and de-stressing is one of them. Go for a run? You already know that too. Maybe you haven't thought of these little things to destress that can be easily woven into your day. Pin it now to have on hand for later. Click through to get the tips. @jillconyers

We’ve talked about ways to de-stress during the holidays. How about when life is just being life and gets crazy busy?

Ironically, in my attempt to de-glorify (is that even a word?) busyness, for the past 8 months or so, I’ve been less busy than ever before. That in itself decreases stress levels. What about those times, like now, when you’re planning a graduation weekend, developing a business proposal, creating yoga workshops and planning summer vacations all on top of regular day-to-day life stuff?

That’s my life right now. All wonderful things and individually not stressful at all, but the combined effect of everything can be stressful.

How to de-stress? My first thought is yoga, but you probably already know the benefits of yoga and de-stressing is one of them. Go for a run or workout? You already know that too.

Maybe you haven’t thought of these little things to de-stress that can be easily woven into your busy day:

Play a board game with family and/or friends. Family time and board games are practically no fail for fun, laughter and relaxation.

Don’t expect yourself to keep your regular routine. Temporarily let a thing (or 2) go or do less of. Remember you’re adding things to do to your day and there are only so many to-dos you can do.

Don’t use an exceptionally busy time in life to make big changes. When life is busy might not be the best time to make big dietary changes, start a new workout or start training for your first maratho.

Get your sleep. It may be tempting to stay up late or get up early to have an extra hour or 2 to get things done. The lack of sleep will catch up with you. Sleepiness can make you forgetful, impairs judgement, makes even small tasks feel overwhelming, and it makes concentrating difficult.

Don’t should yourself. The things that HAVE to be done will get done. Don’t worry about the rest and DO NOT constantly remind your self what you SHOULD have done or SHOULD be doing.

How to de-stress? My first thought is yoga, but you probably already know the benefits of yoga and de-stressing is one of them. Go for a run? You already know that too. Maybe you haven't thought of these little things to destress that can be easily woven into your day. Pin it now to have on hand for later. Click through to get the tips. @jillconyers

Take a walk outside. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, the mental and physical benefits (goodrelaxation.com) of fresh air far outweigh what you would otherwise be checking off your to do list at that time.

  • Fresh air is good for digestion.
  • Improves your blood pressure and heart rate.
  • It makes you happier.
  • Strengthens your immune system.
  • Fresh air cleans your lungs.
  • You will have more energy and sharper mind.

Don’t add extra caffeine to your day. It may be tempting to up the caffeine to get through the day, but too much caffein can make you jittery and more impatient than you might normally be.

Just breathe. It really is as simple as it sounds.

Try this: sit cross-legged or in a chair with spine straight and feet flat. Now, close your eyes and block your right nostril with your right hand. Take deep, slow breaths through the left nostril. Continue for 1 to 3 minutes. Feel the positive and relaxing energy.

Try guided imagery. This is a technique I’ve used when working with students as a way to give themselves a mental break in the moment. Visualization helps you use your imagination to take you to a calm, peaceful place.

Try this: get into a relaxed comfortable position and begin to see yourself in the midst of the most relaxing environment you can imagine. As you’re imagining your scene involve all of your senses. What does it look like? How does it feel? What special scents are involved? Make your vision feel real and, even if just for a few mintues, allow yourself to be far away from the stress in your life.

Remember the crazy busyness is temporary. Often the things that are making life so busy are temporary. Take care of yourself physically and mentally you can get though this, not miss a moment of the joy in it all and, in the end, look back and smile.

How to de-stress? My first thought is yoga, but you probably already know the benefits of yoga and de-stressing is one of them. Go for a run? You already know that too. Maybe you haven't thought of these little things to destress that can be easily woven into your day. Pin it now to have on hand for later. Click through to get the tips. @jillconyers

Is your life busy or calm right now? Have you ever tried guided imagery? What do you do to take care of yourself when life is crazy busy?

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104 Comments

  1. My life is extra busy right now as I just took on a management position at our local running store. What keeps me sane? Running and reading. Total therapy, both of them.

  2. I run or a Yoga routine helps me to destress. I have to agree with Wendy – a good laugh is the best!!

  3. This is so timely! I spent most of the last year under stress with house hunting, contracts falling through, finally getting the right Boise, moving, house renovations, travels & job stress from my husband all at the same time! This year I have been focusing on taking time for me to relax!!

  4. Andrea Broom says:

    this on a bust day is perfect. taking a walk is so important to me, I like to take them to clear my mind.

  5. So many great tips. I love getting outside to de-stress.

  6. Exercise is definitely how I keep my sanity intact. Sweating out all my anxiety works like a charm!

  7. All these ideas are fabolous ideas to destress our mind, but ‘get enough sleep and don’t should yourself’ are two things that help much for me. Thanks for sharing this amazing post.

  8. I love the “don’t should yourself” this is something I am really bad at and do often. I need to remember to knock it off. Great ways to destress!

  9. My favorite ways to de-stress are to take a walk, and to also put in my headphones and listen to music. Pandora is a lifesaver some days!

  10. Megan McCoig says:

    Taking a walk is always my number one go to for de-stressing. Takes your mind away from everything and I love the fresh air. Great tips!

  11. I needed this on a busy Monday morning. Thank you for sharing, I am going to use these tips this week.

  12. Loving all the ideas. I am definitely stressing these days. I will try a couple, the walking and the should’s sound like me!

  13. Great tips! I have definitely noticed when I up my caffeine I am less patient and tad jumpy. I am learning to let go of my expectations and find plan B.

  14. These are all really great ideas when the busyness creeps into my life! I especially love the playing a game with family idea. More often than not the old saying “Laughter is the best medicine” rings true. Taking some time to slow down and make connection with those we love, along with getting some good laughter in are great ways to de-stress. Thanks so much for all the great ideas!

  15. This is me today… I have had to completely back away from the outside world.
    I shut off my phone, closed the blinds and am refusing to answer the door.
    Instead I am sipping orange juice in my pajamas and getting lost on the internet.
    🙂

  16. How funny, I found myself “should-ing” as I read some of the suggestions. I don’t take the time to do some of the relaxing suggestions because I feel like it’s being irresponsible since I “should” be doing something else. Great suggestion that I am going to try! No more “I should” for me.

  17. Oh my I need to print these out and keep them in my pocket! Life has been crazy for me and It is really starting to make me feel not so hot.

  18. This is great! I just posted myself about getting stressed and overwhelmed, and taking my crew out for a hike. Nothing cures my stress like letting it all go and getting outside for a little while! I’m going to try some of these other suggestions too!

  19. Love these tips and I definitely needed them after a stressful week! I did get a good night’s sleep yesterday and I plan on going for a walk today for some much needed fresh air and of course I’m starting off the day with some coffee!

  20. One of the best things I’ve learned to do is go for walks. It resets my brain. I only wish I learned that when I was younger. I’m glad my two young adult children know it!

  21. I am going to have to try your breathing technique. Guided imagery and going for a walk in nature are always wonderful for getting rid of stress!

  22. I LOVE this. Right now I’m in the middle of way too many stressful things: finals, graduation, moving, finding a job, deciding what to do with the rest of my life. It’s enough to drown me. I tried keeping up with everything but eventually I had to give myself a pass. My eating isn’t exactly on point, nor is my workout schedule and I haven’t posted a recipe on the blog in almost two weeks. But putting those things aside is what’s keeping my going so I’ve given up trying to feel guilty about it.

    1. Sounds like we’re in the same boat Giselle. Hopefully things are getting better for you or will very soon.

  23. Life is very busy right now but in a calm sort of way. We’re doing what we can and trying not to stress about the rest of it.

    1. That’s exactly the approach I’ve been trying to take. As I sit here looking at my weekend to-do list and all the things that aren’t checked off.

  24. Remembering it’s temporary is so hard for me! It’s easy to get caught up in stress and lose all perspective. I need to bookmark this and read it for when I need it, which is several times per week!

  25. Wow, you are busy! But it sounds like you have a lot of fun things ahead of you. My favorite in your list: don’t should yourself! I’m totally guilty of that. Great reminder!

    1. Hi Christine, it is busy but it’s all good stuff 🙂

      Not shoulding yourself is a hard habit to break but once you do you’re suddenly a lot kinder to yourself.

      Have a wonderful stress free weekend friend! XOXO

  26. Oh I love the one of not sticking to your regular routine…I am NOTORIOUS for this, especially thinking I need to eat every three hours or do a workout for this amount of time…These are two things I am working on to de-stress and know they will make a HUGE difference! Great tips!

    1. Me too Katie! If we would just take a step back and take a long look at what we expect of ourselves sometimes I think we would see that it’s craziness ha!

  27. I’ll either take a restorative yoga class or if that’s not available, I’ll lock myself in my bathroom and take a relaxing bath.

    Flip Flops and Furs

    1. Yoga is my go to to relax and step away from it all! I also take a lot of hot baths with essential oils. It’s an awesome way to unwind!

      Have a wonderful weekend Sarah 🙂

    1. Hi Ashley, isn’t it amazing how much stress affects our body. The little things help so much in keeping it minimized. Off to read what I’m sure is s a great post.

      Have a wonderful weekend friend! XOXO

  28. I love your term “deglorify busyness” Love it. Things are just starting to ramp up toward the end of the school year here. Trying to buckle in and remain as sane as possible

    1. Hi Marcia. Same here! End of the school year craziness. Hang in there and stay sane, summer is coming 🙂

    1. I agree 100% Janelle! Seriously, if I make sure not to cut back on sleep I think I can get through anything.

      Have an awesome weekend 🙂

  29. Just breathe. So simple, yet so powerful when you actually stop to do it. Love this post!

    1. Thank you Marueen. The just breathe is a relatively new strategy for me. In the past I was never able to clear my mind so I could focus on breathing.

      Have a wonderful weekend friend! XOXO

  30. I LOVE THIS! and need all of these in my life. I need to work on the “not should yourself”…I am always doing that!
    Karen @karenlovestorun

    1. Good morning Karen,
      Not shoulding yourself is a hard habit to break but once you do you’re suddenly a lot kinder to yourself.

      Have a wonderful stress free weekend friend! XOXO

  31. Love this post!!! We try to play a family game at least once a week – you are right – there is always laughter!!!
    I love the tip about “don’t should yourself” – I do that way too often!!!

    1. We love family game night! The laughter just feels good 🙂

      Not shoulding yourself is a hard habit to break but once you do you’re suddenly a lot kinder to yourself.

      Have a wonderful stress free weekend friend! XOXO

  32. Coloring a picture helps me de-stress! My son wasn’t wanting to let me have any pages from his coloring books, but then I won a mandala coloring book for adults, in a blog giveaway. It takes a while to color a whole mandala (they’re very detailed) so I give myself permission to put it aside after a while and come back to it next time.

    1. That’s an awesome idea Becca. I’m curious. What is a mandala coloring book?

  33. Love all these tips! I am not so stressed right now, thankfully. Of course, I will always be just a bit stressed and worried about my little one! Ha But I am really enjoying life right now and just going with the flow.

    1. That is how it should be Heather. Loving life and thinking about the little one 🙂

      So so excited for you!

      Have a wonderful weekend friend! XOXO

  34. I like the “don’t should yourself” what a great tip and you are right it is a de-stresser! I totally agree with the 10 minute walk!

    1. Hi Tricia. Not shoulding yourself is a hard habit to break but once you do you’re suddenly a lot kinder to yourself.

      Have a wonderful stress free weekend!

  35. Jill I’m going to print this list and put it by my computer. I love the guided imagery, I’ve tried that once or twice when I couldn’t sleep – very helpful. My favorite tip though, is don’t should yourself. We had an animal emergency last night and that’s the first thing I started doing, oh I should have done this different or if this didn’t happen she wouldn’t be hurt. It didn’t fix the situation and made me more upset. Great advice!

    1. Hi Sam, I hope the animal emergency is over and ended well.

      Not shoulding yourself is a hard habit to break but once you do you’re suddenly a lot kinder to yourself.

      Have a wonderful stress free weekend 🙂

  36. These are great ideas of ways to de-stress! Right now, the best way I get to a more relaxed, less stressed, place in my head is to hang out with my 3 year old grandson. When he’s around, I can’t even turn my computer on for one minute….it’s all about him. When he’s around, I can almost forget everything else that needs to be done! Have a wonderful weekend Jill and thanks for sharing all of this with us!!

    1. Hi Diane, my father in law has always said the same about his grandkids. Since the day my son was born he has said he doesn’t have to take his blood pressure medicine when he visits.

      Have a wonderful stress free weekend friend! XOXO

  37. It’s a little chaotic for me…maybe more in my head. I just can’t seem to concentrate on anything!

    1. Even if it’s chaotic only in your head the effect can be the same. It’s all in your perception. Plus, I’m betting if it feels chaotic there is something going on that’s making it feel that way,

      Have a wonderful and stress free weekend 🙂

  38. I agree that i shouldn’t expect to stick with my regular routine but its soooo hardddd to change that! i just signed up for a massive personal training course, combined with a full time job, working out five days a week, and working on my website in between. its too much sometimes!! need to stop trying to fit everything in

    1. Hi Beverley, we have a very similar schedule! We need to stop adding to it. What PT course are you signed up for? I’m studying for the NASM PT exam.

      Have a wonderful stress free weekend!

    1. Hi Deborah, my 16 and 18 year old will still play if I pick the right games 🙂

      Regular family game nights is one thing I will miss when my son moves into the college dorms this summer.

      Have a wonderful stress free weekend!

  39. Jill, you are so wise! I love all these tips – especially the one about not saying “should!” Things that help me destress during really busy times are working out (it gives me energy and endorphins to take on the day) and giving myself a cut off time if I can. I’ll say, I’m going to bust my butt until 8 and then it’s time to get a glass of wine and watch a movie. Sometimes, I sit there stressed during the movie, but it’s necessary to just relax.

    1. Thank you Nicole! If I feel stressed while watching a movie I can’t sit still to watch it. I hadn’t even thought of that until now.

      What are your stress busters when you can’t workout? For a long time that question was tough for me to answer.

      Have an awesome weekend with lots of workouts and no stress 🙂

  40. Great tips! For me nothing beats stress than a great workout!

    1. Same here Betsy! What are your stress busters when you can’t workout? For a long time that question was tough for me to answer.

      Have an awesome weekend with lots of workouts and no stress 🙂

  41. Great tips! I’ve felt very overwhelmed lately and I know I have the power to change it. I’ve been working on some of these things, and will add some of you other suggestions to my list.

    1. You will handle whatever comes your way Julie AND destress while you’re doing it 🙂

      Have an awesome weekend friend! XOXO

  42. I like the board game idea, save for the fact that we get really competitive… Not a great way to destress. LoL!

    1. Hi Jerusha, for that same reason there are a few games I can’t play when trying to destress haha!

  43. Sleep is super important, especially when you’re stressed and busy. Its easy to sacrifice sleep in order to get more done on the to do list, but sleep just be the last thing sacrificed.

    1. I agree 100% Kathryn! Seriously, if I make sure not to cut back on sleep I think I can get through anything.

      Have an awesome weekend 🙂

  44. While I am not terribly busy right now, being in taper mode for Boston, I am concentrating on good sleep, no caffeine and good food. I can get stressed easily and doing things like walking the dog, and reading seem to help alot!

    1. Good morning Pam, you must be so so excited for Boston! I’m excited for you!

      It sounds like you’re in a great place right now and you’ll be ready come race day. I can’t wait to hear all about your experience. Is this your first Boston?

      Have an awesome weekend friend! XOXO

  45. Oh the de-stress. I love your comments and suggestions, mainly because I’m one of those types that needs to take my mind off of something. Dealing with it is always my first, initial, and sometimes irrational reaction, and I’m still learning how to deal with that.

    1. It’s not always easy but if I can take my mind off things for just a little while, it gives me a clarity for when it’s back on my mind. Does that make sense?

      Have a wonderful weekend! XOXO

  46. Playing Settlers of Catan with friends may be extremely stress-inducing, hahaha. 😛

    But I totally agree with all these points (especially the “don’t should yourself” one–I do that all the time!)!

    1. Hi Farrah, I’m the same with some games. They definitely are not stress busting 🙂

  47. These are all great tips! One thing that helps me is to laugh! Watching a funny show or movie, spending time with a goofy friend (or my boys) is a great way to defuse.

    1. I should have included that Wendy. I kind of did with the board games but a favorite end to the day is watching Modern Family with the family. We laugh…alot!

      Have an awesome weekend friend! XOXO

  48. I am trying to break away from my desk and take a walk. That fresh air really helps me so much, but that first step out the door really is the hardest when deadlines are approaching.

    1. I know what you mean! It’s hard to pull yourself away when you know the deadlines are looming. I’ve found that I’m more productive after a walk and a breath of fresh air so in the long run the time taking a break is worth it.

      Mind if I ask, is Coco a nickname 🙂

  49. For me the biggest release is to tell someone what is going on, rather than keeping it all to myself.

  50. Jill – thanks so much for stopping by my lil spot on the interwebs and the offer to link up! I so appreciate it! My daughter just yesterday suggested we spend a day playing board games – just to destress and I am gonna have to unplug and do just that! 🙂
    Happy Friday!

    1. So happy to meet you Shashi! We laugh so much when we play board games. So unplug, play a game and let me know how it goes 🙂

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  51. Not making big decisions during stressful times is a huge thing. I often put things off a bit if I know I need a bit more space in my head to think clearly. And stress can come from all sorts of things. I ran 18 miles yesterday and I have 18 today – I’m not worrying about anything else until that is done or I’ll get overwhelmed.

    1. Take it little by little when you need to and things will feel a lot less overwhelming. Great idea with your long runs.

      Have an awesome weekend friend! XOXO

  52. Sleep is so important and I know I need more but I naturally wake up thinking about stuff! The hubby is stressing right now which of course causes undue stress for me. I like the idea of guided imagery I do believe it works 🙂 One of my favorites to pour a nice glass of wine in one of my cute plastic cups and walk to the end of our dock. Slow sipping, the breeze of the lake, just watch the ripples of the water………..awww
    TGIF my friend!

    1. Good morning Mary Beth. Seriously, if I make sure not to cut back on sleep I think I can get through anything. Your walk on the dock sounds heavenly. I hope stress eases up for your husband soon.

      Have an awesome weekend friend! XOXO

  53. My #1 is to always remember to breathe. It helps me slow things down and take stock of what I need to do rather than what I should do.

    1. That’s a relatively new strategy for me Angela. It’s amazing how well it works to revive and refocus!

  54. Oh Jill I’m completely stressed out right now and have been using some of these tips! I love “don’t should” yourself and I’ve been very strict about sleep. Once I make it though this weekend, things will calm down…slightly! Thanks for the timely tips!

    1. How’s the start to your weekend going? Seriously, if I make sure not to cut back on sleep I think I can get through anything.

      Have an awesome weekend friend! XOXO

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