Lifestyle Motherhood

Stress Relief 101: 12 Free Tools to Help You Manage Everyday Stress

Stress relief is a topic that I’ve had to really start taking seriously, lately, and I’ve decided to share the best, free stress relief tools I’ve found for busy moms (and, really anyone else who’s stressed like a mother)!

The older I get, the more stress I seem to take on. Between the general pressure of adulthood, parenting and trying to stay a whole human person, it can get to be a lot! I’m learning very quickly that if you don’t take time to care for yourself, things can come to a tipping point, fast!

These 12 tips are simple, yet effective and super easy to incorporate in a busy schedule.

Get Stress Relief with Intentional Breathing

When I’m really stressed, I often catch myself holding my breath throughout the day or not taking in full, deep breaths. I’m not sure why that happens for me, but it certainly doesn’t make a stressful situation better as I’m sending less oxygen to my brain!

Breathing more quickly or having an accelerated heart rate is also a typical response to stress that you may not realize or be fully aware of in the moment.

Intentional breathing might seem like stress relief mumbo jumbo, but it really does help. When I pause and really think about the breaths I’m taking in and out, I start to feel more calm, present and alert. The pressure in my chest that often comes from stress starts to subside.

Stress relief through intentional breathing. Yoga pose.

But, it’s not just me, scientists have found a tie between “breathing itself and changes in emotional state.” Apparently, there’s a cluster of neurons in the brainstem that have been discovered and are called the “breathing pacemaker.” Continuing research is being done to demonstrate how “these neurons affect breathing, emotional states, and alertness.” (See the full article here).

Slow Down

Even if your schedule is tight, everyone can take 5 minutes to take a breather, 5 times a day. Use this time to step outside for some fresh air, walk to the mailbox, listen to some relaxing music, file your nails, anything that doesn’t require intense thought and is a departure from your scheduled to-dos for the day.

If you can eliminate things from your schedule that aren’t immediate needs, try to put them off for another time or delegate them to someone else who can help.

We don’t have to to do it all, all the time or all by ourselves, despite what we might tell ourselves.

Get More & Better Quality Sleep

Get better quality sleep to relieve stress.

This is a tough one for me. I’m the kind of person that has to have my me time before I can fully wind down. Other high functioning introverts will understand. By the time I’ve got the kids down, the dishes done, the floor picked up and spent quality time with the hubs, there is very little time for just me, but I also really need good quality sleep.

Not getting enough sleep, literally kills brain cells and exacerbates an already stressed mind.

Tips to get more and better quality sleep:

  • Be more efficient with time during the day so evenings are more free
  • Delegate more
  • No screens right before bed
  • Stay away from caffeine later in the day
  • Try to stay to a more regular sleep schedule
  • Exercise during the day
  • Dim the lights in the evening, but keep it bright during the day

Improve Your Diet

Our bodies need essential nutrients in order to function properly and optimally. When you eat crappy, you feel crappy. It’s really easy to fall into bad habits when you’re busy and not put enough thought into what you’re putting into your body.

Meal prepping is a great way to save time and still ensure your body is getting proper nutrition. Set aside a time each week to batch meals as your needs dictate.

Plan and stock, healthy quick bites for the week. Here is my list of my favorite healthy snacks for tired, busy moms.

Go for a Walk

Stress relief can be as easy as taking a walk with a friend through nature.

I don’t do this enough. I was always outside as a kid, but as an adult, I definitely don’t get enough time to just be out in nature, taking in vitamin D.

Walking, is a great way to get outdoors and slow your mind down.

Get Creative

You don’t have to be Picasso to take advantage of this stress relief tip. There are many varied ways to stretch your creative muscles. Some ideas I have enjoyed are coloring books for grown-ups, writing and DIY decor projects.

When you’re focusing on something creative, it takes your mind away from the things acting as stressors in your life. That reprieve is such a helpful break for your psyche. You’ll come away rejuvenated and with more energy to take on your day to day.

Take a Stress Relief Bath

To be completely honest, I hate taking baths, but I know so many people who can’t go a day without one. If you haven’t tried a relaxation bath, take a dip and see if it works for you.

Take a stress relieving bath with a bath bomb and candle.

Use relaxing scents in your soaps and light some candles. I’d suggest taking a good book in with you or some music and earbuds.

This is an opportunity to detox and soothe your body.

Listen to Music From the Best Time Periods in Your Life

If you haven’t listened to that old, high school playlist in awhile, do it! Listening to nostalgic music or music from really happy and less stressful times in your life can put you in a better mood.

Music is a good tool for stress relief.

Get Stress Relief Through Exercise

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t”

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde.

Hopefully, no one is actually considering killing their husband! But, in all seriousness, exercise is great for stress. Endorphins are real!

Find a few exercises that are slightly north of comfortable for you and plan regular times during the week to work them in. I love using everyday objects around the house as workout tools rather than going to the gym. Here are some great exercises you can do with a regular old chair.

Talk it Out

Sometimes, a good chat with a friend can do the trick. Commiserating with a close pal over the mundane and funny stresses of life can be cathartic. You may also receive some needed advice or information to help you see things from a different perspective.

Smile & Laugh

This stress relief tip goes along with talking it out. Smiling and laughing it out, are also great ways to relieve stress. Just the act of smiling, even if you are far from happy, can change your mood (here’s some research to prove that)! Laughter, often creates an immediate shift in thinking as well.

Laughter is the best medicine. It, and smiling, are also great ways to instantly boost your mood.

I don’t laugh nearly enough. When I have a true, full belly laugh, it’s such a great experience and picks my mood right up. There’s nothing quite like sharing a good laugh with friends or family. Those moments are often etched in memory.

If you’re looking for a great way to laugh, try watching old family videos, or searching memes online.

Get to Work

This might seem counter intuitive. Why would you want to work if you’re already stressed? However, this stress relief tip is the one I go to the most.

Get to work doing something that has nothing to do with what you’re worried about.

I like to power clean when I’m under a lot of stress or choose a good cleaning project that has gone neglected for awhile. This kind of work offers the same benefit as doing something creative with your hands.

Channeling your nervous, stressful energy into something productive, will give your brain a break and allow you to come back fresh to any problems you’re dealing with.

Plus, de-cluttering or having a more clean environment, has been proven to decrease stress. That’s a win, win! This article from, Parenting Isn’t Easy, has helpful information and tips for dealing with stressful clutter.

Stress Relief Final Thoughts

These easy stress relief tips are great for the day to day pressures we all feel. If you’re finding that these tips don’t work for you, it might be time to see a professional for even more help. Chronic, extreme stress is not good for your health and there’s no shame is seeking additional help!

As always, if you like what you read, please like and share below!

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  1. These are such practical tips to relieve stress! My personal favourites are taking a walk and having a good night’s sleep – does so much to rejuvenate both mind and soul. 😉

  2. Nene says:

    Great tip!!! I think smiling and laughing are the best cure for any type of stress. Thanks for sharing

  3. Love this! I’ve been feeling stress creep up on my life a lot more. I definitely need to sleep better. I’m horrible at getting more than 4 hours.

    1. Olivia Hall says:

      Good sleep can be so tough. I’ve always struggled with it because I have such an active mind. I’ve found that exercise earlier in the day does help you sleep better!

  4. I love these stress relief tips! I try to practice these as often as I can, especially getting enough sleep and taking a bath!

  5. Some of these tips are easier said than done, but at the same time, if something is important enough to you, you make the time.

  6. I saved this to my mental health board on pinterest! I love this post so much. i struggle with being constantly stressed out & here lately i’ve been having a really hard time. i’m sure some of these tips & tricks are going to help me out!

    1. Olivia Hall says:

      You and me both! I’m SO glad you found some helpful ideas!

  7. Some great tips for reducing stress here! I could definitely do with getting more sleep!

  8. These things are so easy to do but we forget to do them . My favorite is listening to music of the good times of your life! I love doing that

  9. These are all wonderful suggestions! Stress management is so very important. My yoga practice helps me keep my stress at bay!

    -Madi xo |

  10. I’ve been feeling more stressed out lately. I like the tip to take a nice bath. But then again, these are all nice tips!

  11. These are amazing tips. I’m struggling with stress right now myself. I plan on making that 5 minutes, 5 times a day tip part of my daily routine. Thank you!

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