25 Stress Relief Activities for Renters To Calm Your Mind and Body
There's nothing relaxing about looking for an apartment to rent. You first have to decide what you want in your next home. This includes everything from location to the number of bedrooms to amenities like a pool or on-site laundry. Do you need a parking space? Does it have to allow pets? There are a lot of questions to answer.
Once you get your list, the next step is the actual hunt. You narrow down the potentials that have most of what you want based on their online pictures first. Then, it's all about apartment tours, talking with property managers and making a final decision.
This whole process oozes stress, which means before you even begin, keep a list of stress relief activities for renters in your back pocket.
The specific stress renters face
Did you know there are actually categories of stress? While there's no agreement on a full definition of what stress is, The American Institute of Stress lists four specific categories: acute stress, chronic stress, eustress and distress.
Apartment hunting crosses over into two different stress categories — chronic stress and eustress. Chronic stress is the stress associated with daily life. When you worry about how you'll afford all the upfront costs of a new apartment or how you'll pay the bills, that's chronic stress.
Eustress is also daily stress, but it has positive connotations. Things like being in a relationship or getting a promotion at work are examples of Eustress. So is that excited-stressful feeling you get when you move into your first apartment.
These types of stress follow most people on a regular basis but can amp up when apartment hunting. Make sure you give yourself enough time to relax with the following stress relief activities.
Stress relief activities that work
To prevent the stress of finding a new home, spend a few minutes each day focused on relaxing. Ditch all the distractions and worry and calm down. These activities will inspire you to give your brain a break.
1. Do a 30-second workout
Any burst of physical activity raises your heart rate. This activates the production of natural mood enhancers like dopamine and serotonin within your body. Anything from running in place for 30 seconds or doing a series of crunches or jumping jacks will do the trick. Pick your favorite exercise and go.
2. Dance to your favorite song
Even if you have to close the door to your bedroom, and work with limited space, putting on your headphones and dancing your heart out to your favorite song does wonders. Again, you're moving your body so it's some exercise, but there's something special about the nostalgia of your favorite song and the memories it brings up that just makes you feel better.
If working out or dancing aren't your things, you can stretch the stress out with a few simple movements. Make sure to stretch every part of your body and take deep, cleansing breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, as you go.
4. Take a walk
Being outside, even without moving, is one of the amazing stress relief activities to relax. Especially if the sun is shining and it's not too cold, being outside is energizing and refreshing. Going for a walk makes it even better since, again, you're doing some physical activity to work the stress out of those muscles.
5. Practice yoga
A little more involved than stretching alone, if you're already familiar with yoga, doing a few minutes at home is a great stress reducer. Yoga combines physical movement with controlled breathing, so you get a little meditation and some light exercise all rolled into one.
6. Get a fidget toy
Activating all your senses is a great way to provide your stress with an outlet to escape. Grab a fidget spinner, a fidget cube or even one of those pop-its and fiddle away until the calm overtakes you.
Sit cross-legged either on the floor or on a firm cushion. Even your bed works. Place your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing and try to keep your mind clear. It's easier when you focus on your breath. Try and sit still for two minutes, then get up slowly. Your body will thank you.
8. Distract your brain
If your stress has brought you to that point where you worry your head will explode, stop and distract your brain. Give it a task it must focus on 100 percent. Empty the dishwasher, do a crossword puzzle or tackle the day's Wordle puzzle.
9. Soak in the tub
You may think it's hard to leave your stress at the door no matter what but just wait until you sink into a warm bath. Add some scented bubbles for a little aromatherapy, turn down the lights and put on some calming music. This is a no-screen, no-deep-thinking moment for your mind and body to relax.
10. Bake a cake
Unless being in the kitchen will stress you out more, baking actually offers a variety of stress-reducing activities all in one. It provides a sensory experience if you have to knead dough or mix ingredients by hand. There's also the amazing smell of something cooking. It's also an activity that requires you to concentrate so your brain gets distracted. And, in the end, you have the soothing reward of eating something sweet you made yourself.
11. Clean something
Less fun than baking, cleaning is another of the stress relief activities that checks multiple stress-releasing boxes. You're moving, using your senses and you're concentrating on completing a single activity. Also, as with baking, you get a sense of accomplishment once you're done. Don't pick a hard task, but instead do some light dusting, wash dishes or even clean the inside of your windows.
12. Draw or color
There's a reason adult coloring books exist — stress. Keeping one on hand, along with a nice box of colored pencils, gives you a go-to option when it's time to alleviate stress. Sit somewhere quiet and just spend 15 minutes coloring. Don't worry about finishing a picture, just enjoy the mindless activity that yields something pretty.
13. Write away
If drawing or coloring isn't your thing, but you're struggling for an outlet to release stress, consider writing it out. Grab a journal and write out all your frustrations. Then, leave them in the notebook and don't think about them again that day. This release won't make the issues go away, but it will lighten the load of stress you're feeling about them.
14. Read, listen or watch
Getting lost in a story, told through your preferred medium, is another great way to distract your brain from thinking about what's most stressful in your life. Pick up a book, turn on your favorite podcast or binge-watch a few episodes of a show. The key is to pay attention to the story and sit still for a good amount of time, at least until you feel relaxed when you stand up.
15. Light a candle
Scent can heavily play into your body's ability to relax. This is because certain scents may alter brain activity, decreasing stress hormones. A few calming scents that are known to promote relaxation include:
- Ylang Ylang
Even common kitchen herbs like sage and rosemary give off a calming scent.
16. Watch what you eat
If you're hitting the fast-food drive-thru more than you should, consider curbing this habit to help with your stress levels. Your diet can definitely impact your mental health, as well your physical health. On stressful days, think about grabbing a salad or making a nice dinner that's full of roasted veggies and a low-fat protein. It may affect your mood in a good way.
17. Take a screen break
Devices, while necessary, aren't something you always have to look at. Decreasing your screen time can not only bring your stress levels down, but it may even help you sleep better. And, when you're well-rested, you should naturally experience less stress.
18. Get a massage
While not always a budget-friendly option, spending 45-60 minutes getting all the tightness in your muscles worked out by a professional is the ultimate stress reliever. You come out of a massage feeling loose, and you haven't thought about your stressors that whole time because you're concentrating on relaxing. Scheduling a massage when you're in the middle of your apartment hunt could make all the difference.
19. Try a new hobby
Trying new things isn't always guaranteed to lower stress, but if there's something you've been meaning to try, like knitting or crafting of some kind, now is a good time. Allowing an opportunity for your creative side to come out, and focusing on a specific activity, can provide a sense of calm in no time.
20. Walk away from caffeine
When you're stressed, do you feel more lethargic? Does this then lead to drinking a lot more coffee? Caffeine, while helpful when you're feeling sluggish, isn't that great when it comes to stress. It can not only increase your stress but also prevent you from getting the sleep you need to help lower stress levels. If you can't part completely with caffeine, no matter what's going on in your life (we get it), intake should only be between 4-5 cups or 32-40 ounces per day.
21. Build a support group
Spending time with friends and family who you know will support you no matter what is a great way to alleviate stress. They're the perfect people to vent all your frustrations to and get insightful feedback. If you know you've got a rough day ahead of apartment tours, schedule a meal with some of these important people for the end of the day. That way you won't carry your stress home.
22. Get a hug
If you're feeling stressed, and have someone close by you feel like hugging, go ask for a big, long squeeze. Physical contact can help relieve stress because your body releases oxytocin when in an embrace. This hormone can reduce blood pressure and provide that sense of relaxation you're looking for.
23. Make yourself laugh
When it's all too much, one of the very best stress relief activities is laughter. Pop on a comedy special from a favorite comedian, or watch a movie you know is going to get you laughing. You'll notice a difference with each chuckle since laughing actually cools down your stress response.
24. Go to sleep
Since your body recharges when you sleep, one of the best ways to give stress time to work itself out of your system is to catch some ZZZs. While it may feel impossible to clear your mind to fall asleep, this is an important piece to your overall health. Play some soothing music each night and try to go to bed around the same time to create a routine that works.
25. Know when to say 'no'
There's no situation where you absolutely have to do everything, and that includes apartment hunting. If the stress is getting too great, ask for help. Are you planning on living with a roommate or significant other? Make sure they're taking on some of the responsibilities, too. Have you had it with apartment tours? Reschedule the ones on the books and take two days off. Even if you miss getting an apartment you really like, your mental health is worth more — and there are always other apartments.
Relieving stress is a must
No matter what brings on the stress, as a renter, you're more likely to feel it from sources others don't. Holding onto it can lead to health issues like headaches, weight gain, sleep problems and muscle pain.
To ensure stress doesn't get the best of you, try one, or all, of these easy stress relief activities. Schedule one each day to allow yourself to go to bed each night stress-free. You'll wake up each morning ready to face whatever the day throws at you.