treat yourself

101 Great Stress Busters & Pick-Me-Ups

[This post is the second in my Back to School Series]

Photo thanks to saranv

Down in the dumps? Crushed with stress? Falling apart?

Well, no. You’re probably not quite there yet.

But since it’s back to school season and the stress will soon be (unfortuately) starting to pile up on you, (and since I really don’t want that to happen to you!) I decided to compile a list of things to do when you feel sad/stressed/lonely/bored/boring.

Whenever you feel like the world is coming down around you, I hope that looking at this list and picking one or two ways to treat yourself ends up soothing some of your woes.

Got the blues? Here are 101 things to do!

  1. Have a bubble bath, while listening to your favourite music, while reading your favourite book or magazine.
  2. Paint your toenails, just because (preferably in a very vivid tone)
  3. Skype with your best friend.
  4. Drop Everything And Read time! (DEAR!) For an hour, forget your stress and unwind with a book.
  5. Dance!
  6. Make yourself an elaborate dinner in bed, and watch a favourite movie.
  7. Take a long hot shower and change into some comfy clothes.
  8. Meditate!
  9. Do some exercise – the endorphins will pick you back up.
  10. Eat some chocolate and drink some wine.
  11. Disconnect: turn off your phone, computer, and Facebook, and have some ‘me-time’ to do whatever you want.
  12. Smile, as big and bright as you can. It generally makes you feel happier.
  13. Make plans! For a dinner date, or to go to the movies or the gym, or to watch a tv show with a friend.
  14. Stretch!!!
  15. Give yourself a massage.
  16. Curl up on the couch and have a heart-to-heart with a friend.
  17. Take a nap, and wake up relaxed and refreshed!
  18. Gussy yourself up! Do your hair and makeup, and put on some clothes you feel great in. It’ll give you a nice little confidence boost.
  19. Make yourself a green drink or fresh fruit smoothie, to hit your body with a yummy load of antioxidants and vitamins.
  20. Sit up straight!
  21. Do something indulgently luxurious: cook in heels, buy a gourmet lunch, write all your letters in cursive, put on a face mask and cucumbers, buy a whole bouquet of flowers for your apartment, only wear silk, sip champagne..
  22. Treat yourself with something small and beautiful: a new eyeshadow, fresh notebook, a pair of earrings, a  new book..
  23. Write yourself some affirmations, and repeat them! Believe them!
  24. Drink lots of water and flush out all those bad feelings.
  25. Take a glamourous self portrait (or 50).
  26. Journal about your frustrations.
  27. Get takeout from your favourite restaurant.
  28. Take a walk and marvel at nature.
  29. Do a cartwheel or a somersault.
  30. Cry.
  31. Have a tea party.
  32. Have breakfast for dinner!
  33. Laugh!
  34. Pretend you’re seven years old, and write a letter to yourself from the seven-year-old’s perspective. Chances are, you’ll seem pretty perfect to her.. If this is too odd for you, just write yourself a love letter.
  35. Colour with crayons. Make art. Use a colouring book if you so choose.
  36. Start writing your Life List!
  37. Cradle a warm drink..mmm.
  38. Get some sun!
  39. Go out on a weeknight to have a beer and a long conversation with a friend.
  40. Watch a Spanish soap opera and dub in your own words.
  41. Play a game! Monopoly, Clue, Twister..
  42. Lie flat on your back and listen to your favourite music, LOUDLY.
  43. Sit quietly and focus on your breathing.
  44. Do a puzzle to get your mind off your issues: crosswords, sudokus, word games..
  45. Cuddle with a stuffed or real animal!
  46. Get a haircut, manicure, pedicure, massage: something to make you feel transformed and uplifted.
  47. Make some music! Play an instrument or sing your heart out.
  48. Plan a vacation, even if you can’t afford to take it. Plant the seed in your mind!
  49. Change your bedsheets.
  50. Read 1000awesomethings.com.
  51. Create a plan of attack for your upcoming assignments.
  52. Sketch, draw or paint!
  53. Smell something citrusy or minty to perk you up.
  54. Play hooky for the afternoon and watch the Price is Right.
  55. Start dreaming big: write down all the things you’d love to do one day!
  56. Get some hugs!
  57. Write down seventeen things that make your life absolutely awesome.
  58. Do a few small tasks that are causing you stress: clean up your desk, return those emails. Get some of that stuff out of the way and you’ll feel much better.
  59. Acquire a pet or a plant, and get some life into your life!
  60. Bake some cookies, brownies or cupcakes and decorate them elaborately.
  61. Read some inspirational and motivational quotes from special people throughout history.
  62. Go window shopping.
  63. Visit websites like Textsfromlastnight, FailBlog, or FML to get some giggles.
  64. Eat your absolute favourite food.
  65. Watch some trashy reality tv or cartoons!
  66. Put on some brightly coloured clothing.
  67. Escape! Go explore your neighbourhood, go to a museum, walk around downtown..
  68. Eat some ice cream.
  69. Seek out the nearest sauna (local pool/gym?) and release those toxins!
  70. Smile at babies! Make them smile back. :)
  71. Take a book out of the library that isn’t school-related!
  72. Build a blanket/pillow fort and sit in it, eating junk food and reading with a flashlight. Be defiant if anyone tries to get you out.
  73. Make a mind-map of all the different things on your mind. Very therapeutic.
  74. Re-arrange the furniture in your room. Feng shui it if that makes you feel any better.
  75. In the shower, perform a stellar scalp massage and get those nerve endings tingling! (or buy one of those head massagers for $5 at Chapters or Urban Outfitters)
  76. Walk barefoot in grass, sand, mud or water..mmm
  77. Write a to do list (getting all your worries out on paper) and then prioritize your tasks. Then only do the really urgent/important ones.
  78. Have a tv marathon! If you can’t afford to not do any schoolwork, alternate between watching an episode and doing work for equal amounts of time (or until Megavideo lets you keep watching..)
  79. Buy some lingerie. The frillier and prettier the better. I don’t care if you have nobody to wear it for! Wear it around your apartment.
  80. Go swimming: excellent exercise, and it’s so soothing.
  81. Jump on your bed like a small child.
  82. Do karaoke in front of your mirror.
  83. Start a blog/tumblr. (I’ll read it)
  84. Read some tabloids for supreme distraction
  85. Find a friend and go play on a play structure/swing set
  86. Sign up for a class of some sort! Yoga, tai chi, pottery throwing, painting..
  87. Sit underneath a tree, preferably a great big willow tree.
  88. Invite friends over to cook dinner with you.
  89. Go to bed early. Way early.
  90. Stop and smell the (literal) roses.
  91. Look at old pictures of you and your friends, smile and reminisce.
  92. Make some resolutions.
  93. Call your siblings/parents.
  94. Help someone else out! You may not feel like it, but it might put your problems in perspective and also make you feel good too!
  95. Spend some time getting yourself organized!
  96. Take a break and just get clean. Take a shower, brush your teeth, change into fresh clothes, tie your hair back. You’ll come back to your work feeling refreshed and ready.
  97. Vent, rant, scream, punch your pillow, yell. Get it all out!! Then take a break and cool down.
  98. If you have access to a car, go out for a long drive with the windows down. Sing loudly.
  99. Write a song/play/novel/story. It can be as silly or serious as you want!
  100. Do all your homework with the goofiest pen you can get your hands on. I have one with a multi-coloured pompom at one end!
  101. BREATHE. Relax. Calm down. Get some perspective. Take a step back. Breathe, and focus.

That’s all she wrote..

I would honestly love to know: what do you do when you’re having a bad day or are frazzled with stress? Please, please let me know! (Because I too, have bad days and can always use inspiration!). If you leave a comment about what you do in times of stress, I’ll add it to this post so we can all benefit!

Don’t be afraid to beat your stress over the head with a stick.

Much love!

xoxo,


Make Your Life Cozy

Just add tea and a book..

One of my favourite comments recently was from the Stir-Fried Dinosaur, who said that my blog was cozy. Isn’t that just the nicest? Thank you! This made me particularly happy because I try very hard to keep my life as cozy as possible. Today I’m going to share with you how I achieve coziness, and how you can too!

My Definition of Cozy:

1. Making your life work for you, so that your personal spaces always feel like home

2. Knowing what you love, and doing it

3. Feeling luxurious in your own way

How To Cozi-fy Your Life

Hot Chocolate and Magazines

1. Making your life work for you.

This means making the most of what you have. You may not have an unlimited budget, or you may not have unlimited space, or you may not have unlimited time to make your spaces perfect. What’s important is that you prioritize. What means the most to you? What will make you feel the most at home when you get home? Is it a big library? A doggie? Big windows and an easy chair? Photos of family and friends? Lots of delicious food? Zero in on what is most important, and make your lifestyle work around that. Budget your time, energy and money carefully in order to get the most out of your life, and the spaces you spend it in.

Marjorie Hillis’s book, Live Alone and Like It, was a bible written for the modern 1930’s woman, but still manages to be remarkably current. It’s one of my favourite books, and I always read it whenever I want to amp up the luxury/cozy in my life. She speaks about the importance of having a home that you really feel at home in, and how just because nobody will necessarily see your home, doesn’t mean you don’t need to make it fabulous! The time you spend nestled up in your rooms should give you lots of happiness – nobody will be happy and inspired if they don’t bother to make an effort in their living spaces!

2. Knowing what you love.

For many people, this is very intuitive. When we walk into a store, we can immediately say exactly what we love and what we hate. But I’m not talking so much about material possessions so much as routines and habits. Chances are there are many little things that make you very happy, but maybe you’re not doing them every day. And why not? What should stop you from incorporating as much happiness and coziness into your daily routines? Maybe for you your favourite thing is:

  • a quiet half hour reading with some tea
  • a long walk outdoors
  • a bubble bath
  • painting
  • people-watching in a café
  • spending rainy days in a record store
  • dancing.
  • skipping stones
  • driving aimlessly
  • spending Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market
  • exploring bookshops
  • drinking your orange juice out of a huge glass
  • making music
  • wrestling with your dog
  • napping
  • swimming
  • taking extra-long showers
  • mood lighting
  • listening to music without lyrics
  • etc.

The point is to make your life cozy you need to make time for the things that you love. I know,  you’re busy, burnt out and have no time for such frivolous things, right?. To that I say two things:

  1. You will continue to be perpetually burnt out and unproductive if you never take any time to relax or make yourself happy.
  2. Frivolous things? This is your life! If you keep your nose to the grindstone day in and day out, you’re going to wake up in fifty years and realize you haven’t really lived or been happy.

So take the time. Don’t deny yourself time to do exactly what makes you happy. You probably already spend a few hours a day mindlessly watching television or surfing the internet, so you likely do have the time! And of course t.v and internet make people happy as well, but once in a while it’s refreshing to spend some quality time, creating memories and happiness. And coziness, of course!

3. Feeling luxurious in your own way.

In addition to ‘daily happiness upkeep’, you should also treat yourself every so often. And don’t worry if your idea of a special treat differs from someone else’s, you’re you and they’re them. Don’t ever let other people dictate how you should live your life or spend your money. They’re probably just jealous anyhow, that you have such a cozy life! Some extra-luxe ideas for ultimate coziness:

  • Get a milkshake
  • Spend extra for something you really love: a type of tea, notebook, bed sheets, perfume/cologne, a mug
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Keep your house stocked with cookies, homemade if possible
  • Spray eucalyptus/lavender spray on your pillows
  • Invest in a bed tray – it will change your life
  • Get fresh flowers weekly, if you like them

Conclusion

So there you have it! Three simple ways to squeeze every drop of coziness out of your life. I’m not advocating frivolity, neglect of your daily duties or blowing all your money on expensive things to make your space better for you. It’s all about moderation, simple luxuries and getting the most out of your life. Take the time to think about what parts of your day you love best, and see if you can find a way to amplify that positivity throughout your day. Surround yourself with things you find beautiful and cheerful, and I bet you’ll find yourself more cheerful too :).

What sorts of cozy things do you try to incorporate into your life? What do you spend extra money on? What are your personal luxuries? What makes you happy!?

xoxo, S.



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