Stressed Out? Try These Small Steps to De-Stress

Experts say while talking to a mental health professional may help, the idea alone can sound overwhelming for some. Here are some unique alternatives, proven to bring calm during a time of uncertainty.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

De-stressing during a pandemic can be easier said than done.

It's not a surprise to mental health experts, who say that while demand for services is up, talking to a professional can sound intimidating.

The idea of "self-care" can also sound like a lofty, unattainable concept.

"So many times, we hear or read articles that say, 'Just practice good self care or have a spa day. Enjoy yourself,'" said licensed professional counselor Melanie Acker. "But a lot of people, depending on the stress they're feeling or depending on their situation, that’s not something that can so easily be obtained."

Acker suggested starting small.

She said watching a comedy or listening to a favorite song can release endorphins for an easy, healthy, pick me up during times of stress.

The same effect happens when petting an animal.

Scrapbooking and knitting can also keep the brain focused while keeping stress hormones low.

Let go of the inner Grinch and go ahead and pull out those holiday decorations.

"There’s actually research that shows that the colors and the sounds actually produce endorphins," Acker said.

"So when you see people that are like, 'I’m putting up all my holiday decorations because it’s 2020,' there’s actually research to back that up!"

The Cha family of Frisco discovered the therapeutic benefits of planting and caring for succulents during their times of stress.

Seeing greenery in the home and caring for plants have been found to relieve feelings of anxiety.

"It’s just been a good family activity for us to kind of all de-stress and get hands dirty and do together," 18-year-old Serene Cha said.

In May, the Cha's decided to go out on a limb and start an online succulent business.

It's flourished.

"They just love putting it together, seeing it grow," Cha said, of her customers.

If none of these ideas sound like an option, experts say you can tap into your sense of touch.

Kimberly Haley-Coleman of Dallas plans to open the area's first Tickle Bar, a space where technicians use tools like feathers and brushes on the skin, in an effort to induce calm and relaxation.

"I think everybody is feeling through this sense of isolation, this lack of together and not being able to hug our friends," Haley Coleman said. "I know it does sound absolutely crazy but it’s those feelings and sensations that do bring us, quite quickly, to a place of bliss and relaxation."

Small steps may not be for everyone, and if they're not for you, consider talking to a professional.

Acker said the key is finding those few moments of peace at a time when you need it most.

"The more that we take that time to be intentional about doing things that bring us joy and decrease that stress, the more value that will be in it," Acker said.

Contact Us