Easy Stress Management If You're Feeling Exhausted

Resting while exhausted

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Stress management shouldn’t be stressful. Two of the most-recommended stress management techniques, exercise, and meditation, bring short-term benefits as well as long-term benefits that lead to greater resilience toward stress.

And yet, sometimes when we need stress relief the most—when we’re feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, drained, or anxious—we may feel less inclined to practice some of the stress management techniques that can do us the ​best, such as exercise or meditation.

Fortunately, there are some “easier” stress management techniques that can help us feel more energized or peaceful so we can either keep going with our day or get to the point where we can engage in other stress relievers that can help us to feel even better.

The following techniques can work when you really want less stress, but don’t quite feel like doing the stress management exercises you know you “should” do. They can give you just enough stress relief to feel better at the moment or can help you get to a place where you have the energy to take on one of those highly-effective habits that may take a little energy or effort to learn.

Listen to Calming Music

Music is a powerful tool for relaxation and stress management for several reasons. The main thing to know is that music can help you relax physically as well as psychologically, it can do so pretty quickly, and with very little conscious effort from you.

The key is to choose music that feels soothing to you, and that you actually enjoy listening to. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's important to note that listening to classical music can be more stressful than relaxing if you are someone who detests classical music.

Put on some relaxing music and after a few minutes, you may be able to work yourself into a music meditation. If you still don't feel like meditating, that's okay, too; just listening to music for a while as you go about your other activities can get you into a less stressed place.

Use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is another stress management tool that takes so little effort, you might wonder if it's really effective. The next time you'd like to get into a more relaxed place but the thought of learning or practicing meditation feels like too much work, use some incense (try some recommended scents) to get yourself into a better mental space. You may feel like meditating after a few minutes, or you may not, but you will feel better, with very little effort.

Practice Breathing

Breathing exercises can be practiced anytime and anywhere. These exercises are similar to meditation in that they can calm your body and your mind, and you can use visualization in conjunction with them to deepen your relaxation.

You can practice them quickly, however, and don't need to be in a quiet, distraction-free place, which makes them convenient as well. If you start practicing breathing exercises and feel like segueing into a full meditation session, that's wonderful. But you can achieve easy relaxation with just a few minutes of breathing alone.

Get Involved in a Hobby

Like reading, hobbies are activities that we often think of as fun, but something we don't have time for. Hobbies, however, can help us to get into a mental place that is near-meditative. They are types of gratifications, which are activities that positive psychologists recommend for happiness and stress relief.

If meditation sounds a bit daunting, hobbies may be just the thing for you. Whether you engage for a few minutes or a few hours, these activities can help you to relax, and that's important at any stage of life.

Read a Good Book

Reading an activity that many people enjoy but do not find time to do. It feels like a luxury but is a useful tool for stress management, which makes it more important than just an enjoyable pastime. When you'd like to relax but don't feel like doing anything you "should" do, allow yourself to get lost in a good book, even if only for a few minutes.

Like meditation, it can take you to a mental space that is far away from the stresses of your daily life and can help you to relax. You may just feel like putting the book down and meditating after a few minutes, but if you don't, at least you've allowed yourself a much-deserved break.

What About Exercise?

Exercise is also an important stress management technique that brings short-term and cumulative benefits w but may feel daunting for the overwhelmed. If you feel too exhausted to exercise, here are some stress management techniques that can help you to feel more relaxed and energized, so you can either find the motivation for a workout or at least get to a place where you feel less stressed.

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.