Picture for ways to relax when stressed illustrated by a hymnbook, purple fuzzy socks, and lavender.

36 Simple Ways to Relax When Stressed

     Are you tired today?  This is a busy world we live in.  There are so many things that – have – to – be – done – right – now!  Do you ever feel like you don’t know which way to turn because you are so far behind?  When this happens, it may not be the time to dive in and work as fast as you can.  It may actually mean that you are tired and need to take some time, even if it’s just a few minutes, to relax.  But wait.  Maybe you know that you need to relax when stressed, but you don’t know what to do!  You’re so used to go, go, go that you’ve forgotten how to relax!

     If you’re ready to take a few minutes and relax when you are stressed but you don’t know where to start, don’t worry!  I have 36 ideas for you.  I’m sure some will appeal more to you than others.  If you’d like to, please jot down a few of them that sound like they’re your style.  Keep the list handy and start incorporating them into your life.  I know from experience that it gets easier to relax the more you do it.  You may find you actually like it!  Plus, it’s very good for your health.

     There’s a reason why God told us to set aside a day every week for resting.  And He gave us the night for sleeping.  I think that He was showing us just how important and valuable rest is.  We should incorporate it into our normal lives and make it a part of each day.

     Okay, let’s get to our list of 36 ideas of how to relax when stressed!

36 Ways to Relax When Stressed

     I’m going to divide these 36 ways to relax into 4 categories.  These 4 categories are: a relaxing atmosphere, relaxation in under 10 minutes, longer relaxation, and ways to both relax and bless others.

Relax When Stressed by Making a Relaxing Atmosphere

     If you can, I recommend that you just relax.  Learning how to relax is an important skill, and this skill should be turned into a habit.  Relaxing is good for our health, our mental well-being, our relationship with the Lord, and our productivity.  I think that if you take time out to rest, it will help you get more done during your work time.

     All that being said, it’s not always possible to stop and relax.  I think it’s good to make your setting peaceful and relaxing even when you are working.  This is especially true if you are stressed and overwhelmed.

     This section is 8 things that you can do to make your home, bedroom, or wherever you are more relaxing while you work.

1. Light a Candle

     Can anything be cozier than a candle burning?  That little flame flickering helps you to relax as soon as you see it.  Combine that with a tantalizing smell that fills your room.  A candle is a cozy experience in a jar!  Candles are especially nice to make a room cheerful on a cloudy day, but they’re nice any day.

Picture of a pink candle burning and pink roses and rose petals

2. Listen to Music

     I love having peaceful music playing in the background.  This is something I should do more of.  It’s amazing how much power there is in music.  God created it to bring Him glory, and I believe He also wants us to enjoy wholesome music.  Music truly creates the atmosphere and mood in your home when you turn it on.

     If you are in need of some relaxation, try turning on peaceful music.  I enjoy some instrumental classical music, but it’s also nice to listen to uplifting hymns so that you can be encouraged by the words and spend time worshipping the Lord.

3. Meditate on Scripture

     Meditating on Scripture is an important practice in our lives.  When people talk about simple, slow living, meditation seems to come up often.  But the truth is, there is more than one kind of meditation.  The one kind of meditation tells you to empty your mind.  This is not Biblical, since the Bible never tells us to empty our mind; it rather tells us what kinds of thoughts we should think.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8

     Biblical meditation is filling our minds with God’s Word.  We do this by thinking about Bible verses.  It can be helpful to take one verse at a time and then break it down further one word at a time.  Focus on the meaning of each word and then how they fit together as a whole.  Meditating on Scripture is a good way to relax when stressed because it gets our minds off of our problems and our to-do lists and on to the One Who can solve our problems and helps us complete the tasks He gives us to do.

4. Sing a Hymn

     Another way to get our minds off of ourselves and onto the Lord is by singing.  Singing praises to the Lord can lift your spirits and rest your mind.  Maybe you are busy and don’t have time to sit down and rest.  Well then, you can sing while you work!

     Pick a favorite hymn and you may find you want to do another and another.  Think about the words while you are singing them, and make it a time of worshipping God through your work and your tongue.

Purple flowers lying on hymn book open to The King of Love My Shepherd Is

5. Smile at Someone

     This is a simple one!  It doesn’t take much time and it makes a world of difference – both for you and the other person!  Have you ever had someone smile at you and it just made you feel good?  Try to be that person who goes out of their way to show kindness to others through a smile.  It can rest and encourage your heart and the other person’s as well!

6. Turn on a Fountain

     I have a fountain running next to me right now.  The peaceful hum of the motor and the dripping of the water keeps me company most days.  It’s like bringing a piece of nature into the house having the water running.  Not only does a fountain give you a restful background noise, but it’s also calming to look at.

     Most days I have my fountain running on a table beside where I sit and do computer work.  When I want to I can look over and watch the little waterfall running, and on my particular fountain, the water wheel turning.  If you don’t have a fountain, they can be purchased fairly inexpensively at Hobby Lobby.

How to Relax in Under 10 Minutes

     Do you have a busy day and just want to get a quick rest?  Here are a dozen ways that you can relax in less than 10 minutes.

7. Go for a Walk

     Walking is a great way to relax when stressed – especially if you have been sitting a lot.  While it may not seem like resting to walk, it actually can be very relaxing.  Taking a walk outside gives you the opportunity to feel the fresh air on your face, look at God’s beautiful creation, and give your mind a rest.  Try being unplugged from your devices and just focus on soaking up the beauty around you.  A walk is a good time to talk to Jesus if you are alone or have a conversation with a friend or family member who is walking with you.

8. Sit Outside

     Most of us spend a lot of time inside.  That is where our responsibilities are, so it’s only natural.  However, I think that most of us also agree that it is healthy to get outside.  Take some time to just sit outside, whether it’s on your porch, on a swing, or in a hammock.

     Instead of trying to multi-task and always do something else while you are sitting there, have a time where you just sit and enjoy admiring nature.  Listen to the sound of the birds.  Feel the warmth of the sun on your face.  Breathe deeply and get the good fresh air into your lungs.  God wants us to enjoy the beautiful creation He made!

9. Look at a Magazine or Picture Book

     This is a fun and simple one!  Do you have any coffee table books with large pictures or maybe some magazines lying around somewhere?  So often we keep these things around to look at someday.  Someday never comes, and the pretty books and magazines collect dust.  Why not pick one of them up and enjoy looking at the pictures and reading an article or two?

10. Write in a Planner

     Writing in your planner can be a very helpful way to relax when stressed.  A lot of our stress comes from cluttered minds.  We have so many things that we have to remember and keep up with and we find our minds juggling them or constantly going over them so that we don’t forget any.  Talk about unrelaxing!

     Try sitting down with your planner and writing down those things that have been replaying through your brain.  If you don’t have specific categories where they fit, you can take a sticky note, or if you have enough to write, take a whole page and write down your thoughts.  This will help your mind be able to rest since you won’t be constantly worrying that you are forgetting something.

11. Wash Your Face

     This is a great way to feel refreshed and rested – especially in the summertime.  In the summer you may want to splash cold water on your face, but it will probably be more relaxing to use warm water in the winter!  Either way, a little soap and water on your face can go a long way toward making you feel refreshed and ready to go again.

Beautiful cream colored bar of soap molded like flowers and ladybugs sitting on an elegant white plate.

12. Organize Something

     Organizing is a good way to relax in two ways at one time.  What do I mean?  Well, some people find it relaxing to organize or clean something.  While cleaning the whole house may not be relaxing, just taking one area and organizing a drawer or straightening a room can be a  wonderful way to relax when stressed.  Not only that, but having a clean environment is also restful.  So you can get the benefit of enjoying taking a few minutes to organize and experiencing the results afterward.

13. Draw or Doodle

     You don’t have to be good at drawing to enjoy sitting down and doing it.  Trust me.  That’s the voice of experience.  I hope someday I can learn to draw, but until then I still love to doodle.  All you need is a scrap of paper and a pen or pencil and you can doodle away to your heart’s content!

14. Read your Bible

     One of my favorite places to read, when I am in need of peace, is Psalms.  These beautiful inspired words have a way of touching our hearts and reminding us that God is in control, and we can rest in Him.  Draping open your Bible and reading a portion of God’s love letter to you is the perfect way to relax when stressed or any other time.

Purple highlighter on Bible open to Proverbs 31 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

15. Simply Sit and Think

     With all of this list, it could start to sound like resting always involves doing.  Of course, this is not true.  There may be times when you want to rest without sitting with your hands folded in your lap, but it’s also fine and important to take some time to sit and think.  We tend to keep ourselves so busy that we don’t take enough time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.  This is also a great time to count your blessings and thank the Lord for what He has done in your life.

16. Relax Your Muscles

     A few years ago I learned this little relaxation trick, and I’ve used it a lot of times since then.  Focus on relaxing one muscle at a time, going through your body, your face, your arms, your legs, your toes.  While we don’t always think about it, we tend to keep our muscles tensed up throughout the day.

     Think about how you feel when you get in bed at night.  You crawl into your cozy bed and what?  You start to relax, so that you can go to sleep.  Well, it doesn’t hurt to do some of that relaxing during the day too.  Taking a few minutes to relax and rest your muscles can help you feel ready to get back to work.

17. Play an Instrument

     If you know how to play a musical instrument, then you probably already know how relaxing it can be to sit and play whatever pops into your head.  Not practicing, just playing for enjoyment.  Practice time is important, but having a separate time where you play for enjoyment is also desirable.  You might play your favorite piece a few times or pick out a new melody by ear for the fun of it.

18. Eat a Snack

     I think this one is pretty self-explanatory!  I don’t condone stress eating where you just eat a lot because you are nervous.  But, I do think that having a little snack in the afternoon and taking a few minutes to relax and enjoy it can be beneficial.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, even a square of chocolate can be a great way to relax!  Don’t you think?

Creamy white cheese covered in berries

How to Relax When Stressed and Rest Awhile

     Maybe you have a little while to spend resting.  These are some activities that can take a little while, but they can be great ways to spend some time getting your battery recharged.

19. Read a Book

     Our world is fast-paced, and I think most people spend more time listening to podcasts, watching videos, and hearing audiobooks.  This is all well and good, and I do it too, but I don’t think it should replace reading books!  After all, none of these can replace finding a comfortable place to curl up and engross yourself in the world of a good book.

20. Play Games

     This one may surprise you, but I think that playing a simple game can be quite relaxing.  Of course, there are games that are anything but relaxing, but I’m thinking of simple games such as memory.  The good thing about memory is that you can play it by yourself or with someone else.  If you would like some cute cards that you can print out to play simple games with, I recommend these cute ones .

21. Take a Bath

     This has been a pretty recent pastime for me.  I found not so long ago that I really do enjoy a relaxing soak.  If you think you don’t enjoy a bath but haven’t tried it for a while, then I encourage you to give it a try!  Sitting in the water has a way of making your body relax.  It sometimes makes me get sleepy, which shows me that I am getting relaxed.  Bath time is a good time to think, listen to music, or do some planning.  If you can, take a bath when you have at least half an hour free so that you don’t have to rush and can really enjoy it.

22. Do a Foot Soak

    Need to relax but you really aren’t in the mood for a bath?  Try a foot soak!  The fun thing about this is that you can do it with a  family member.  My sister and I enjoy doing foot soaks together some evenings.  They have the same effect of making you sleepy, so it’s nice to do them close to bedtime so that you will be relaxed and ready to sleep when you go to bed.  I enjoy following up my soak with lotion and a pair of fuzzy socks.

23. Bake Something

     If baking is enjoyable to you, then it can be a great method of relaxation.  Measuring, mixing, and creating a beautiful, tasty creation while giving yourself a break from other things is a wonderful combination.

Heart shaped cookie cutter in cookie dough

24. Take a Nap

     It can’t get much more restful than this can it?  That is if you are the kind of person who is refreshed by a nap.  I know for myself I prefer to just get more sleep at night since naps leave me feeling very groggy and tired.  But I also know that some people can be greatly refreshed by naps if they take the time to get them.  If you are in need of extra rest, please make time to at least take a short nap or lay down for a few minutes with your eyes closed.

25. Take Pictures

     This is a hobby that a lot of people enjoy.  If you enjoy snapping pictures, then why not take the time and do it?  For those of you who enjoy taking nature pictures, this also gives you the opportunity to get outside for some fresh air and sunshine!

Picture of lavender blooming

26. Do a Handcraft

     Do you have a handcraft that you enjoy doing?  It could be scrapbooking, crocheting, cross-stitching, tatting, or any other number of crafts.  Setting a little time aside to work on a favorite hobby can be a great way to relax when stressed.

27. Put a Puzzle Together

     This is a favorite way to relax in our family.  Not only is doing a puzzle nice either alone or with others, but it’s also good for your mind.  Taking the time to focus on details and put pieces together can be a great way to unwind in the evening or really any time of day!

Puzzle with a picture of a picnic in the Boston park and a picnic basket that the puzzle goes in

28. Do Some Gardening

     Gardening would be a seasonal option unless you have house plants or a greenhouse, but it’s still a great option.  Getting your hands into the dirt can be very therapeutic, plus you can then have the joy of growing something beautiful to enjoy.

29. Write in a Journal

     Writing is another good way to relax when stressed and to process your thoughts.  You can write about things that have happened, what the Lord is teaching you, things you are grateful for, or anything that you want to write about.

Relax When Stressed and Bless Someone Else

      These last few ways to relax are things that can also be a blessing to other people.  You can enjoy the opportunity of redeeming the time and ministering to someone else while still having a restful experience.

30. Have a Bonfire

     This is a way to relax that you can enjoy with other people and bless them.  My family loves to have bonfires on cool evenings.  It’s a great time of enjoying God’s creation and each other’s company.  And it doesn’t get much more relaxing than sitting by a flickering fire, listening to the birds chirp their goodnight songs, and watching dusk turn into darkness.

Campfire burning

31. Color a Picture

     Coloring is a wonderful way to relax when stressed, but it can also be a great way to make something personal for a family member or friend.  You can color a picture and frame it for them, color a bookmark they can use, or color a greeting card and mail it to them.  All of this while enjoying a restful pastime.  I recommend these gorgeous bookmarks as well as this coloring set of pictures, small cards, and greeting cards.

32. Make a Card

     Instead of coloring a card, you could also make a handmade card to mail to someone.  Cutting paper and putting it together in an attractive way can definitely have a relaxing side.  And just think how excited the recipient of your beautiful card will be!  If you are interested in making cards to minister to others, I have a post about that.

Picture of handmade card and card supplies such as washi tape, scissors, and pens

33. Talk to a Friend

     Whether you are in person sitting down for a chat or you just pick up the phone and visit awhile, talking to a friend can help you have a change of pace while taking the time to bless someone else.  I will say though, that talking on the phone is not relaxing for everyone, myself included.  But if it doesn’t bother you, then pick up your phone and give that friend a call!

34. Write a Letter

     Maybe talking on the phone isn’t your thing, well then, how about writing a letter?  That’s another way that you can relax while still communicating with someone else.  Besides telling them what has been going on in your life, try to encourage your friend and point them to Jesus.  And don’t rush!  Enjoy the process of writing line after line across the paper.

35. Spend Time in Prayer

     Taking some time to talk to the Lord and cast your care upon Him is a good way to rest physically and spiritually.  Not only that, but you can also bless others by bringing them and their needs before the Lord.  Prayer should be a balance of praise and petition.  While we pray to talk with the Lord, He can use that time to strengthen our hearts and fill us with His peace.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:7

36. Make a Gift.

     Another option for relaxation combined with ministry is to make a gift.  This could be any type of handcraft that you enjoy, and it can be made extra special as you anticipate the pleasure your friend will receive from this gift.

How to Relax Right Now

     If you took the time to read all of this long post (or even if you skimmed) you probably need to relax now!  So what I want you to do is pick one thing from this list that you can do today.  And if possible, go do it right now!!  I wish you a very restful time and hope you start incorporating times to rest and relax throughout each day.

Pin image talking about 36 Simple ways to relax

Let’s Chat!

     Which of these 36 ways to relax sounds the most fun and restful to you??  Which one do you think you could do today?

     I hope you enjoy taking the time to relax and get refreshed!

In Christ,


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  1. Micah J says:

    Thank you for the tips! I love the Scripture and prayer techniques for relaxation. It is a good reminder because it is in my flesh to turn to anxiety rather than the Lord so intentionally taking time to just be still in the Lord’s presence is needed.

    I also love the snack idea:)) I sometimes I take breaks for an energy bar in the middle of the day… these 15 minute breaks are a gift from God and cause me to give Him thanks. Praise is a relaxation tool as well for me so it’s kind of like an added bonus.:D

    1. I enjoyed your comment, Micah!! Yes, it’s especially easy for us to worry when we’re tired and overwhelmed, which is why He invites us to “cast all our care upon Him.”
      I love that you add praising the Lord to your snack time!! Praising Him is a wonderful way to relax by taking our eyes off of our circumstances and putting them on His goodness and power!!!

  2. My choice would be a combination of #14 and #29!? I don’t journal personal thoughts but I find journaling(or copying them into my notebook designated for my daily Bible reading) favorite verses of the day is such a refreshing form of relaxation for me.?
    Also, doing dishes helps me relax. Funny but true!
    Love all your suggestions, Bethany!!

    1. Those are great choices, Rachel! Ones that can turn your heart toward Jesus right in the middle of your day!! And that’s great that washing dishes relaxes you. 🙂 That way you can relax and make your surroundings more relaxing at the same time!

  3. My favorites are 8/15, 16/24, 33 and 35! Today I can do 33, and I’ve spent some time in prayer today too. <3
    I definitely am guilty of stress eating, but I do sometimes enjoy having a little chocolate to chill out. 🙂

  4. How fun that you got to spend time with a friend and talk to your Best Friend today, Grace!! Isn’t it wonderful that we can talk to Him every day? Thank you for sharing which of these are your favorite ideas for relaxing! I enjoyed putting the list together! And yes, chocolate is definitely a good idea for relaxing sometimes. 🙂
    Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Psalm 37:7

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