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13 Stress Reducing Rituals to Feel Calm and Relaxed

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Has stress overtaken your days? Here are my top 13 stress reducing rituals to feel calm.

Stress is a hard state to be in. You feel out of control. And bringing yourself back to calm waters can feel impossible. One stressful day feels like an eternity. 

As you grapple with your responsibilities, that painful breakup, worrying about losing a job, making your next bill, or the next presentation you have to give at school. You want to give up. But you know you’re not. 

Life is challenging if you don’t know how to manage, reduce, or cope with stress. Knowing your stress triggers and setting up calming rituals will soften the blow. 

There is one good thing despite it all, though. 

You.

You have insurmountable amounts of determination, love, care, and wisdom. 

You just need to know the most effective stress reducing rituals to aid you through your hardships, struggles, and stressful moments. 

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But before we begin, let’s break down stress: 

Stress is a feeling of overwhelm. Symptoms can include tension, anxiety, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, fear, or nervousness. Basically, we feel that we are incapable of handling an external situation. 

You’ve probably heard of cortisol, our stress hormone. When our bodies perceive a potential threat, cortisol is released into the bloodstream, activating the sympathetic nervous system, our flight or fight response system. 

We want to lower our cortisol levels and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the system in charge of restoring the body to a state of calm and balance.

What are common signs of stress?

Stress can take many forms. We can have mental, emotional, physical, or all three.

Everyone’s stress manifests differently, but look out for prolonged muscle aches and pains, hair loss, belly bloating and digestive issues, throat blockages, tension headaches, emotional eating, and unexplained weight loss or weight gain.

Benefits of lowering stress: 

Taking the initiative to lower your stress levels is an all-around win-win situation. 

You:

  • Live longer
  • Sleep better
  • Have increased confidence 
  • Become more resilient
  • Improve your well-being

So whether you are gearing up for a stressful exam, feeling overwhelmed at work, or enduring a challenging life situation, here are my top 13 stress relieving rituals to naturally reduce stress and instantly soothe yourself. 

Stress Reducing Ritual #1: Go For a Walk in Nature 

woman-hiking

Walking outdoors is a low-maintenance, stress reducing ritual. You learn to focus on the present moment, connect with nature, and enjoy Mother Earth’s beautiful synchronicities. If you feel excited about walking outdoors, try earthing (walking barefoot).

Stress Reducing Ritual #2: Draw a Soothing and Luxurious Bath

woman-bathing-with-flowers-and-herbs

Bath rituals are the best way to relax instantly! Grab infused bath salts at your local drugstore or Amazon it. You can get fancy and whip up your own as well. Try tea leaves, flowers, fresh herbs, essential oils, salt, baking soda, bath bombs, or bubbles. So set aside 30 minutes a week and pamper your fancy self! The sky is the limit.

Fun fact: Bathing was a religious ritual for wealthy people in ancient times. It started as a public and social activity and, over time, became a private ritual. So, if you think about it, bathing is like a spiritual cleanse. It can benefit your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Truly a mind, body, and soul activity. 

Stress Reducing Ritual #3: Journaling to Reflect on Your Stress and Slow Down

woman-sitting-journaling-next-to-cat

Journaling is a great way to relieve stress and improve your mood. If you don’t have a friend to rant about your day with, journaling is a helpful tool to connect with yourself and let out stress.

Different ways to journal include: 

If you haven’t gotten into journaling. Try it! You may find that you express yourself better with pen and paper. 

Stress Reducing Ritual #4: Meditate to Clear Negative Thoughts and Worry

woman-facing-window-meditating

Meditation does wonders for your mind, body, and spirit. It is like exercise for the mind and is the best way to calm your nervous system and reduce stress. You’ll become aware of your thoughts and learn to live in the present moment. A quick 5 to 10-minute daily practice is highly beneficial for everyone. When you get into a consistent routine, your mind will crave meditation, like your body craving a sweat session.  

Stress Reducing Ritual #5: Pranayama, the Ultimate Stress Reducing Ritual

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Pranayama is one of the best ways to relax deeply. I consider breathing exercises meditation’s significant other. They go hand in hand. Most of us don’t breathe correctly, or rather, we are not getting the full benefits of our breath.

Pranayama is the most affordable way to help control, cleanse, and elevate your mood. And it’s free! So, if you haven’t gotten on the pranayama bandwagon. Go! Now is the time. If you’re not sure of which pranayam technique, you can never go wrong with ten slow, deep belly breaths or alternate nostril breathing.

Stress Reducing Ritual #6: Cook Your Favorite Nostalgic Meal 

woman-looking-at-cookbook-cooking

For some people, cooking is a stressful activity; for some, it brings much peace and solitude. So, this tip does depend on who you are. If you find it brings you peace, set aside a day to cook your favorite meal. Why not indulge yourself? 

Something about the smell of garlic and onions sauteeing makes you want to crack open a bottle of wine and be in the moment. So take the pressure off yourself. Forget about what’s going on in the world and what’s going on in your life. Let go of your mind and enjoy the sensual pleasure of cooking. Bon appetite!

Stress Reducing Ritual #7: Get Creative and Create

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Creating art is healing, therapeutic, and most definitely a stress reducing ritual. Whether it’s performing arts or visual arts, you’ll have space to express who you are without judgment. You want to rage. Release it. You want to cry. Express it. You want to jump around free like a 5-year-old. Let loose and zen out. 

Tapping into your creative genius is a surefire way to channel stress. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is the perfect starting point if you don’t know how to begin your creative journey. It’s a spiritual self-help book that will help you unlock your creative genius. Countless working artists and hobbyists alike have praised this system over and over. It will change your life! It changed mine.

You might also like: The Artist’s Way: 3 Life-changing Things I Learned 

Stress Reducing Ritual #8: Exercise and Sweat it Out Stress

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We all know at this point that exercise is good for you, but I’ll do the honor of being a broken record if you’ll do the honor of reading. Exercise elevates your mood thanks to the feel-good hormones that are released post-workout. So, if you are feeling stressed, pick an exercise activity you enjoy doing. Go for a walk in nature, run a 5k, do yoga, head to a kickboxing class, or head to the gym and pump some iron.

You might also like: How to Kickstart a Workout Routine for Beginners

Stress Reducing Ritual #9: Get Adequate Sleep

woman sleeping with sleep mask

Did you know sleep is the number one mood regulator? Under stress, some of us have trouble sleeping; sometimes, we even develop insomnia. Our minds are constantly racing, which adds to the frustration. A consistent sleep schedule can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Our bodies are healing, restoring, and regenerating while we sleepTry getting on a consistent sleep schedule and developing a relaxing power-down ritual. 

You might also like: How to Get into a Consistent Sleep Routine

Stress Reducing Ritual #10: Moon Bathe or Sun Bathe

white-moon

We all know that a little bit of sun is good for you, especially during the harsh winters when sunlight is scarce. Most people are walking around with vitamin D deficiencies and suffering from seasonal affective disorder (winter depression caused by a lack of vitamin D). But we often forget about our queen nurturer, the moon.

Did you know that moon bathing is real and has profound healing effects? It’s an ancient ritual popularized by India’s beloved Ayurveda (an ancient Indian natural medicine healing system). Both activities can help you connect with Mother Nature and revitalize and restore you.

Stress Reducing Ritual #11: Have a Self-Care Day

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Ahhh. Solo me time feels so good! Girl, go ahead and set the mood, light up some candles, turn on your favorite relaxing song, and treat yourself to a DIY at-home day spa. Do it up and give yourself a hair, face, and foot mask. Also, another Ayurvedic ritual that helps you slow down and focus on yourself is dry brushing. Then lather up that luxurious body oil and give yourself a gentle massage. I think I’m gonna do that tonight!

Stress Reducing Ritual #12: Take Yourself on an Artist Date

woman-sitting outdoors-drinking-coffee

Solo time does wonders for the soul and can bring much-needed tranquility. Artist Dates are solo days where you schedule a date with yourself. No one is allowed on this date. I learned about this ritual from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. You pick half a day or a full day and spend it doing things that you love and be with yourself.

If you haven’t done this before, it works like magic and is one of my favorite ways to center myself and daydream. You can use this time to process the source of your stress and reflect on your situation. Some activity ideas: head out to a museum, go hiking, take yourself out to dinner, or walk around your city. 

Stress Reducing Ritual #13: Chat With a Supportive Friend 

2-female-friends-walking

An emotionally supportive friend who is consistent and is with you through the highs and lows of life adds to the happiness of life, doesn’t it? There’s nothing like it. Schedule a time to chat and talk it out. Blow off some steam and process the cause of your stress. Just don’t forget to return the favor. Because what are friends for….

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Closing Thoughts on Stress-Reducing Rituals to Feel Calm and Relaxed

We all encounter stress at some point in our lives. More responsibilities equals more stress. More ambition, more stress. More money, more problems. (I had to add the Biggie quote!) Learning how to cope with stress is a valuable life skill, and learning how to care for ourselves is most definitely an action towards self-love. I hope this article gave you some solid self-care tips to rely on next time you’re in the deep trenches. Instead of coping with food, substances, or retail therapy, try out these natural and free ways to reduce stress.

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Picture of Susan Pham, mbgFNC
Hi, welcome! I'm Susan, the creator and writer of Manifestaire. My mission is to help you explore the powers of your being so you can create a magical life you love! Here, you can find articles on manifestation, spirituality, metaphysics, yoga, wellness, and so much more.
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