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7 Unusual Things I Do To De-Stress – That Don’t Include Yoga or Journaling

Young woman de-stressing in the sunshine.

Yes, moving your body and writing down your thoughts or feelings can help with stress. But you’ve probably heard that advice more times than you can count. Am I right?

So, here are a few unusual things I’ve been doing to feel better overall that have really made a difference. Try them out — I bet they’ll help you, too.

1. Delete unnecessary apps from your phone

The other day, I was swiping through my phone and realized I had a ton of apps I no longer used or even recognized. Not only were they taking up valuable space on my device, but they were also making it harder for me to quickly find the apps I do use. It was ridiculous.

So, I went through my home screen and deleted all the apps that weren’t helping me. I even deleted social media apps, which means I now spend 38 percent less time mindlessly scrolling through feeds, according to my phone. 

To me, that’s amazing progress for such a tiny change! 

So, I can’t recommend this enough: If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed right now, focus on changing one thing to make your life easier. Just one.

It took me about five minutes to go through my phone and eliminate apps I wasn’t using anymore. And now, I don’t have to swipe and swipe to find what I’m looking for. Having fewer apps saves me time, reduces distractions, and ultimately leads to lower stress levels. 

2. Replace watching the news with reading

I’ve gotten into the habit of picking up a book instead of picking up my phone or keeping track of the news. I find that whenever I make this choice, I end up feeling more hopeful and less stressed out as a result.

Since I can’t control everything that’s going on in the world, I find it really helpful to focus on what I can control. 

Plus, the latest headline will be old news within a few days, but what I read in a book can change how I think and what I do for the rest of my life.

How’s that for a good investment?

3. Think of everything you’ve already gotten through

Here’s one thing I like to remind myself of when I’m really stressed out about something:

The situation in front of me isn’t new. I’ve faced problems I didn’t think I could handle before, and I’ve always found a way through them. Always. 

Pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and remind yourself of this when you’re stressed. 

Chances are, you’re letting a temporary situation blind you from seeing how strong and capable and talented you are.

Chances are, you’re selling yourself short. Don’t. 

You’ve been through difficult things before. Despite all your stress and anxiety and fear, you made it to today. That means you can face whatever life throws at you next. Remember that. 

If it helps, write down all the challenges you’ve already faced and all the mountains you’ve climbed to get to where you are today. 

Maybe you let go of a toxic relationship. Maybe you took a leap of faith and moved to a new city alone. Maybe you learned to love yourself exactly as you are. Whatever your situation is, keeping track of how you overcame stressful situations in the past and grew from them can help you get through whatever is stressing you out now.

4. Throw out anything that makes you sad

Recently, I went through my old college binder and got rid of everything I no longer needed or associated with a happy memory. By the end, I had thrown out about 99 percent of its contents. And you know what? It felt so good. I couldn’t believe how long it had taken me to free myself of all that stuff.

If you have old boxes in the back of your closet that bring back sad memories and ruin your mood, get rid of them. Seriously. 

You won’t believe how effective it is until you actually do it, but I assure you it’s worth it. It will take a weight off your mind you didn’t even know you were carrying and help you focus on the here and now instead of on the past. 

5. Practice self-care, especially when your to-do list is a mile long

I personally love to-do lists. But I sometimes get too attached to getting as much as humanly possible done in one day.

The result?

I get even more stressed and burned out, which makes it even harder to get quality work done and also find time for myself. Sound familiar?

Don’t beat yourself up for not finishing everything as quickly as you wanted to. Instead, focus on a few top priorities, and tackle whatever else you have to do if time allows. 

This may sound counter-intuitive, but you’ll get way more done if you make time for short self-care breaks throughout the day. No one can pour from an empty cup, and taking time for yourself – even if it’s just two minutes of stretching at your desk – can really help reduce stress.

6. Keep your phone on silent

If you’re easily distracted, put your phone on silent while you work. This little change has been a lifesaver for me.

If you’re already overwhelmed by your to-do list, having a beeping, buzzing distraction will reduce the quality of whatever you’re working on.

Remember that the vast majority of notifications and emails aren’t urgent; there’s no need to drop everything and respond immediately. 

7. Get to the bottom of what is causing your elevated stress levels

Sometimes, no matter what you try, you might still feel incredibly stressed out. If that sounds like you, it can be a great idea to reach out to someone you trust and talk about it. 

Maybe you’ll realize that the culprit is your job, your environment, or someone in your life who isn’t supportive of your goals. Whatever it is, pinpointing where your stress is coming from can be eye-opening. Why? Because that’s the first step to meaningful change. Once you identify your biggest cause of stress, think of ways to alleviate it or eliminate it altogether. 

For example, if your relative is overly critical and makes you question yourself, distance yourself from that person. Instead, surround yourself with people who cheer you on and who genuinely want to see you succeed. 

Bottom line

Stress is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find meaningful ways to reduce it.

I’ve been discovering new ways to de-stress for years, and one thing I’ve learned in the process is this: Our perception of a situation is often what causes stress, not the situation itself. 

For example, back in college, things like studying for exams and filling out applications overwhelmed me. Now that I’ve done those things many times, though, they seem way less intimidating than they did before. 

Sometimes, practicing something over and over can make all the difference.

So, even though stress can seem tough to beat, if you make time for what matters most and temporarily block out the rest, you’ll become a pro at facing stressful situations in the future. 

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