It is almost Friday, which is the best day (actual fact, look it up), but it also is the day when we have to try really hard to calm down, because the week was seriously stressful as heck. I usually do this by sitting in Starbucks, sipping a cup of ice water and trying to convince myself to study and write (but mostly just browsing online shops and watching YouTube videos), which is my ultimate happy place. If ever I need to de-stress –- mid-week, or weekend –- I hit up a cozy coffee shop for some gentle café music, a yummy beverage, and some quality time with my sweet, sweet laptop.
I’ve been feeling like my life-load is a little extra heavy these days, so I decided to broaden my horizons from hipster-coffee-house-life and see what some other people do to de-stress after their stressful, shitty work-weeks. These are some cute, unique, and budget-friendly (because really, who has the money for a 90-minute massage session?), so you can do some of ‘em from your desk on a Tuesday, or from your home while you celebrate the ~wEeKeNd~.
I asked some of the hardest-working people I could find what they do to de-stress from their wacky work-weeks. Here’s what my super-relaxed pals had to say. (Number 10 is my favorite — thank you for being a boss, Mike.)
1. “Paint! I’m not an artist, not at alllll, but my boyfriend and I bought a big pad of watercolor paper and we sit on the floor and drink beer and just paint abstractly on the same huge sheet of paper. It is fun and gets really silly sometimes, and some of them come out really cool. It is fun to be creative together, because we both have really demanding jobs that don’t allow for a lot of creativity or fun time. It is just an easy, relaxing activity that doesn’t require a lot of supplies or money or anything like that. The paper and paint were maybe $20 total and they’ll last us for a while before we need more.” – Molly
2. “I do a ton of YouTube yoga. I took a few yoga classes when I was in high school, living at home and had parents to fund activities like that, but once I moved out, I couldn’t afford a gym membership or yoga studio membership. I do at least 20 minutes of a YouTube yoga video every day, and it is a totally-free way to stay in shape and relax. I like to do it in the morning, before the day starts so I feel really energized and relaxed before I even go to class or work. If I’m too tired, or don’t have time, I’ll do it at night, which is also super relaxing. Even mid-day is nice, because it breaks it all up. But the cool thing is, there are a lot of videos for desk yoga so I can do it seriously just sitting in my chair at work. I love that so much because it is a really good way to relax and break up the day a little, instead of just screwing around on the internet.” – Sara
3. “I eat my lunch outside every single day, weather permitting. I am a student and a secretary part-time, and both on campus and at the office, I like to take my lunch break outside on a bench every day. It makes it feel like a real break, and not just an opportunity to eat really quickly and get back to work. It is relaxing to people watch and just enjoy my time. It is such a tiny little thing that gives me more stress-relief than anything else.” – Carly
4. “Going to the gym and listening to music while I have an intense workout is literally the only way for me to de-stress. My gym membership is cheap compared to many others –- it is $20/month and well worth it for what I get out of it. It is the only method I have to destress because my schedule is seriously crazy, five classes and a full-time job.” – Jade
5. “I mostly just nap, which isn’t unique or fun, but it is relaxing.” – Andrew
6. “This sounds pretentious, but I need to give myself heavy social media breaks. I work in an office and there is a ton of down time during the day to just pop over to Facebook or Twitter or whatever and see what everyone is up to, but it does totally feel like an obligation sometimes. It is weird when you get that feeling like, you open Facebook, close the window, then open it up again ten seconds later. It just feels weird; like, why do I have this compulsion? There is so much anxiety surrounding it. I have to take little breaks. During the day, I have to seriously block it out and not even log in. If I need a break from my work, I try to keep a book or magazine, or some little puzzle or something fun to do to de-stress instead of taking my break on Facebook and making myself feel weirdly anxiety-ridden. On weekends, I pretty much go social-media-free. I need to use my days off from work to totally just enjoy life and not focus on what Internet people are up to, it is the most relaxing thing I can do for myself.” – Ben
7. “I love to cook; it’s honestly the most relaxing thing I can do with my time. However, I don’t have a lot of time during the week to cook, so I’ve fallen into a takeout slump since I got this new job. But for the past few weeks, I decided to spend either Saturday or Sunday de-stressing from my week by cooking lots of hot, delicious meals. Food prep is so therapeutic. I love to chop everything up and mix stuff and smell it all coming together. And the best part is, if I do it all day over the weekend, I can basically prepare meals for the entire upcoming week. So I’ll portion things out and freeze them or put them in the fridge or whatever, and just eat that throughout the week. It is so relaxing for me and so much fun, but it is also super productive and makes my next work-week way easier (and healthier, which is a plus). – Tim
8. “I’m a ‘hit the ground running!’ type of person, so even though I don’t need to be at work until 9, I usually wake up around 5:30 in the morning so I can work out, make breakfast, get ready, and get extra work done. It is good, because there is all of this talk about how early risers are more productive in general, but it is tiring to get up so early. I can’t really adjust it out of my routine, because I rely on those extra morning hours so much to get things done now. But on the weekend, I reward myself. I seriously will sleep as late as my body will let me on a Saturday, and it is glorious. I got blackout curtains and everything, because my body is so adjusted to getting up at five now, but on Friday night I pull the blackout shades down and hibernate until like 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. It is silly, but having a really sleepy Saturday and then getting up and moving slowly and sipping coffee and just being unproductive as fuck is something I look forward to all week, and I love it so much.” – Gabby
9. “My most ~unique~ de-stress activity: put on giant headphones and comfy clothes, pour a cup of coffee or tea into a travel mug, put on a killer playlist of awesome music (pump-up music if I am doing it in the morning, chill-out music if I’m doing it in the evening — it switches depending on my schedule that day), and go for a walk around the neighborhood. Not a power-walk to burn calories, not a walk with the intention of getting the dog to poop or something, just a walk all alone to listen to music and think about life and just kind of feel my body move. I love my job, but I live in CT and work in New York, so I take a train, sit in an office, and take a train home. It is so nice to just kind of wander when I have time. – Kathryn
10. “The most relaxing thing in my life is to set up my laptop on top of my toilet tank, make a bubble bath, and drink a beer in the tub. It is heaven. I could die in there. I wish I could bring snacks into the tub but I feel like that’s pushing it just a little too far. Also, I’m a 20-something man, so I feel like a bubble bath is a controversial thing. But fuck it, I work a really physical job in construction and my body is in pain and needs to relax.” – Mike
11. “Did you know that a lot of hospitals literally have volunteers come hold babies? Well, I was a volunteer baby-holder recently, and it was honestly the greatest thing I’ve ever done. I want to regularly hold babies. They are the most relaxing thing; you can’t be stressed when you have a soft baby in your arms. Find out if any places near you have volunteers do this, you will not regret it. Or tell your friends to have babies so you can snuggle them.” – Shannon
Image via Unsplash