Life is particularly stressful right now, and your mind is likely in overdrive. Give it a rest with this list of tried-and-true, out-of-the-box, and completely random ways to calm down.
Get lavender everything
Lavender is known to reduce feelings of anxiety and improve sleep. Bring the floral scent into every corner of your life to promote more calm. Pick up Poppilu's Blueberry Lavender Lemonade, Jeni's Wild Lavender Ice Cream, or Savannah Bee Company Lavender Honey on your next grocery store trip to add the floral flavors to your meals. Or fill your home with lavender candles, soaps, and face mists. Take it another step and add the color to your decor with dried lavender flowers or a lavender KitchenAid (for all the stress baking you're doing).
Try your hand at a puzzle
Focus on something small and achievable to take your mind off the big and uncertain stuff. Entry-level puzzlers will enjoy this 500-piece lake scene or these bite-sized food puzzles. If that's too easy, graduate to a brainteaser like this gradient puzzle. You can also get your brain working with other puzzle formats, like Rubik's Cubes and labyrinth boards—or even your little ones' Legos.
Lose yourself in relaxing videos
There's a slew of oddly satisfying video compilations on YouTube. Tons of channels are dedicated to bringing you all the soap-cutting, candy-pulling, pretty-handwriting content your worried mind wants. You could spend hours browsing, but we recommend starting with sand cutting (with sound!), paint mixing, cookie or cake decorating, and power-cleaning. Can you say ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh?
Count in random sequences
A go-to way to stop racing thoughts when you're laying in bed struggling to sleep: Choose a pattern—sevens, threes, whatever works—and count up or down until you feel calmer.
Make tiny, thoughtful crafts
Keep your hands busy with this tiny paper star craft or a number of other simple, crafty projects.
Color your world
Adult coloring books started trending for a reason. There's something about shading in the lines that's peaceful. If you're not a fan of coloring, try a paint-by-number or paint-by-sticker book instead. Need an even quicker fix? Try something like the app Blendoku, which gives you the objective of organizing tiny boxes of color into ombre sequences. Or turn color-coding into a productive activity by organizing your closet (or books or pantry items or coffee mugs) in ROY G BIV order.
Watch the sands of time go by
No, literally—stare at an hourglass and let yourself fade into a relaxed stupor. If you don't have an elegant hourglass on hand, one of those tiny board game sand timers will do the trick.
Return to the classics
If you're having a hard time quieting your mind using your own devices, turn to instruments. Classical tunes with all the soft instrumentals work wonders (anyone else have Air on a G String or Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major playing on a loop?). Cool jazz will make you feel chill. The oldies will give you a nice dose of nostalgia. Turn on whatever music makes you feel at peace, and let the sounds drown everything out.
Stress baking is a thing. Its repetitive but instructive nature lets you zone out while focusing on a specific task, making it a great way to take a break from the news while doing something productive—and delicious. So give it a go. Grab your apron, turn on some music (again, I implore you to lend Bach your ear), and stir away. Here are some recipes to get you started:
- Raid-Your-Pantry Cookies
- Chocolate-Dipped Chips
- Mexican Magic Bars
- Creamy Rice Pudding
- Orange Butter Slice & Bakes
- Super-Stuffed Mint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Seek out smooth, symmetrical photos
Symmetry is orderly. When the world feels out of whack, gain some semblance of security with satisfyingly symmetrical photos. Pictures of perfectly organized produce, ever-so-neat soft serve swirls, and color-coded candy will de-stress you in a snap. If you're a movie buff, you might particularly enjoy symmetrical movie shots—many of which are Wes Anderson, of course. Better yet, scroll on Reddit's oddly satisfying feed until your tightly-coiled brain has begun to unfurl. Another great option? Lose yourself in our beautifully-styled food pics, like giant stacks of pancakes and allllll the spaghetti dishes. Yum-o.