Not Your Ordinary Stress Relief Tricks

  what stressWe all know the usual tips and tricks for managing our stress. Take five minutes to get calm and breathe deeply. Make lists. Tackle one task at a time. Say no.

But we don’t often do them. Why? Maybe they’re too cliché. Maybe we’re just too overwhelmed or pissed off to be so damn rational. Maybe we need something a little more….  unorthodox to shake us out of our funk.

Have a Quickie. (Either kind.) Because…  endorphins, yo.

But if you’re at work, that’s just not feasible. So what else can you do to shake the blues? Here are five out-of-the-ordinary tips for managing stress and busting out of a funk.

#1 Take a “weird” break 

Karl Staib of Work Happy Now! came up with this idea. “Stand on one leg where people can see you and just breathe” or “Switch everything on your desk from one side to the other,” he suggests.  He also recommends going outside and hanging from a tree. “I find that it’s tough to worry while hanging from a beautiful tree,” he wrote.

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This is right up my alley because nothing makes me feel better than laughter. It’s a requirement in my life. I keep my husband around because he makes me laugh.

Because I’m always craving physical expression as well, my weird breaks usually double as exercise. I’ll pop off a handstand against a wall. Or lie on my back and toss my legs over my head. Or I’ll hoop. Or I’ll put on music and dance as ridiculously as possible.

It always works.


#2 Watch Silly YouTube Videos

Seriously. Just do it. You’re not getting sh*t done anyhow; you might as well use this otherwise-wasted time getting your happy on.

I don’t mean watch videos that will just piss you off more, like political satires. I mean stupid, silly, no-thinking-required videos like this and this. And this. Or better yet, this. No seriously – don’t skip that one. 

And just for kicks, here’s one more

According to WebMD, laughter increases blood flow, boosts immune cell levels, helps keep blood sugar regulated, and helps us sleep better. The Mayo Clinic adds to the list increased endorphins, muscle relaxation, and pain relief. So by watching obnoxious YouTube videos, you’re not wasting time – you’re engaging in self-care and wellness.


#3 Pop BubbleWrap

There is something oddly satisfying about popping those individual little bubbles. Or smashing them with your elbow. Or stomping on them. Either way, do something tactile. Squeeze a stress ball; pet a dog; take a walk in the sunshine (I know it’s cold – bundle up, Whiny McPoutyPants); build a sculpture of your boss’s head out of scratch paper from the trash bin; throw something breakable against a wall.


My mom used to go out to the barnyard and throw rocks as hard as she could at the barn wall. Shattering rocks relieved her tension, she said.

Because I was the perfect child, I asked, “Tension? What tension?”

Don’t have bubblewrap? No worries. Pop this virtual bubblewrap instead.  


#4  Eat a Banana

According to this article and many more just like it, bananas are the cure-for-all-things! Apparently, bananas make you smarter, protect against cancer, cure hangovers, and even help you quit smoking. Who knew?

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And if, by chance, eating a banana doesn’t make you feel instantly better now that you know you’ve just normalized your bowel movements and reduced your risk of cardiovascular disease, go chew one – loudly, with your mouth open – near a family member or co-worker. Doing that here makes my running list of “Reasons to Get Divorced” so if their response is anything like mine, you’re in for some fun.

And finally, 

#5 Sleep Naked

Because, um, apparently it helps you sleep better. Or not. *wink nudge* Either way? WIN.

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