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Looking for stress relief but only have a couple of minutes?
I’m very excited today to share my top 21 stress relief exercises. Each of these exercises can be done in five minutes or less and will help you to break the stress cycle and feel more relaxed.
I like to keep this list handy as different exercises work better for me depending on the mood that I’m in. The next time you feel stressed, give one of these exercises a shot for some stress relief!
🌿 Mindfulness Stress Relief Exercises
Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. Even five minutes here and there can make a big difference in your day. This can be as simple as setting a timer for five minutes, closing your eyes, paying attention to your breath, any noises your hear, and your thoughts. If you want a guided meditation try Insight Timer, which has free guided meditations.
Breathing exercises are a great way to center yourself and calm the body. There are many different variations, but one I’ve been enjoying is the Wim Hof Method.
Understanding your thoughts is a great Cognitive Behavioral Therapy exercise that can help you see the underlying thoughts that are causing your stress. In this exercise, you want to write down everything you are thinking, look for any thoughts that are causing stress, and try to change those thoughts to something more helpful.
🌿 Create Something
Write a Poem
Self-expression can be a great stress relief. Grab a blank piece of paper, find the center of the emotion you are feeling, and write out three to five lines that describe what you are feeling in that moment.
Make a Video
Creating a short video can be a fun and silly activity. This could be a message to your future self or you could recite some lines from a book, a monologue, or record yourself lip-syncing a song.
Grab a blank piece of paper and let your mind wander as you doodle for a couple of minutes. Personally, I have been drawing 3d cubes since elementary school and find it very therapeutic to zone out and focus on shading.
Learn and Execute a Magic Trick
Absorbing your attention in learning something new can be rewarding and distressing. Here are a couple of easy magic tricks you can learn and play around with.
I know, I know…who wants to do pushups? But this is a quick thing you can do almost anywhere. Plus then if you don’t get anything else done in your day, at least you can feel proud of doing ten pushups!
50 Jumping Jacks
Again, a quick and easy exercise. I always feel better after doing these.
This is a fancy name for – dancing your feelings out. Pick a word to describe what you are currently feeling and put on a song that matches that mood. Then fully embody that word in your movement. It can feel very therapeutic to actually fully feel your emotions and express them in your body.
This one is just about rocking it out and having your own personal dance party. One of my favorite dance instructors is The Fitness Marshall. So fun!
🌿 Relaxation Exercises for Stress Relief
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience some people have where certain sounds can be very relaxing. You can find many videos on Youtube. I personally like this visual version video.
I love reflexology for relaxation. It is fairly easy to do on your own hands and feet. Here is a good reflexology for your hands video you can use to learn how to do this.
Does this require any more explanation? Hot showers are great for stress relief, plus if you are feeling stuck on something you might just get a good idea while you decompress in the shower.
Tapping is an exercise you can do yourself that can help relieve stress and anxiety. Here is a video with a quick explanation and tutorial.
🌿 Get Energized
Take a Cold Shower
If you’re feeling a little sluggish a cold shower can be a great way to wake up your body and feel more alert and focused.
Get some adrenaline moving with some low stakes competition
This might seem a little odd when you are feeling stressed, but focusing your stress energy on low stakes competition can be a great way to move it through your system. This could be an online trivia game, card game, or thumb war. Oddly, I really enjoy typing test….but that might be just me!
🌿 Take a mental vacation
Listen to a favorite playlist
Everyone will have a favorite type of music that helps you to check out and relax. I’ve built my own playlist specifically for this purpose and add new songs to it as I find them.
Listen to an uplifting podcast
When I am feeling stressed or down, listening to an uplifting podcast can almost always improve my mood. You can find some of my favorite playlists here.
Look at old photos or home videos. Bonus points if you share it with a friend!
This always makes me so happy. It is amazing to look back and see how much you have experienced and how far you have come. I love finding gems in my phone photo albums and sending them around to my friends.
🌿 Stress Relief Exercises that don’t fit anywhere else!
Do the Dishes
Perhaps not the most fun one, but this can give you a sense of control. Plus it is typically a small project that lets you feel accomplished afterward.
And there you have it! I hope these exercises help to give you some quick stress relief and feel more centered and relaxed. Let me know what works best for you or if you have any others to share in the comments below!