These days we want everything to happen instantly. From our coffees to our fitness routines, the quicker, the better. All of this scurrying to cross things off of your rapidly growing to-do list and read through the 396 unread emails clogging your inbox can leave you feeling stressed!

But, don’t freak out! Read through this handy list of 13 ways to relax and wind down in 3 minutes or less (yes, even stress-busters can satisfy the need for instant gratification!).

  1. Take a chill pill.

    And by chill pill, we mean mint. The flavor and aroma has a peaceful effect on your senses. Enjoy!

  2. Sip on some green tea.

    Green tea is filled with good-for-you antioxidants and can help control anger. Next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, steep some tea, sit back, and sip!

  3. Breathe.

    It sounds simple, yet controlling your breath during stressful moments can be a real life-saver! Sit as tall as you can with your shoulders back and relaxed. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 6. Suspend, or hold, your breath for 3 counts. Then, slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat this for 2-3 minutes and you’ll be ready to tackle the day with a new focus and energy.

  4. Chomp on some gum.

    The simple act of chewing gum, in whatever flavor you prefer, can help lower cortisol levels, the hormone that is released during stressful situations. Controlling your cortisol level can help you feel less anxious.

  5. Go outside.

    Even if you only have time to leave your desk and stand outside the office doors for a minute, the change in scenery and natural lighting will give your mind and body a needed break. Take a few deep breaths outside and you’ll be ready to return with a clear mind and fresh ideas.

  6. Organize something.

    Messy desks, offices, and cars can make us feel even more stressed than normal. Take a few minutes to straighten up and you will be less distracted and able to focus on the task at hand.

  7. The one minute rule.

    Take a look at your to-do list. Is there anything on there that can be completed in one minute or less? Pick a handful of those tasks and tackle them, now. Then, give yourself a pat on the back for crossing a few things off that list!

  8. Close your eyes (unless you’re stuck in traffic!).

    Put your head down and close your eyes for a few minutes. Staring at a computer screen or focusing for long periods of time can cause tension and light sensitivity headaches. Give your eyes and mind a break!

  9. Stretch.

    Whether you’re at a desk, at home, running errands, take a minute or two to stretch your body. Reach overhead for a few deep breaths, then down towards your toes, hold a lunging pose to stretch your hips, and clasp your hands behind your back to open throughout your chest and shoulders. In 2-3 minutes, all of the areas that get tight from sitting all day will be stretched out and you’ll be feeling fresh!

  10. Coffee!

    The aroma of coffee has a calming effect. Not a fan of a cup o’ joe? Try a latte or coffee scented candle.

  11. Do you have a pet?

    Give him or her a hug! Cuddling with a furry friend for a few minutes can release feel-good endorphins; endorphins that fight the stress-causing cortisol.

  12. Laugh it off.

    Call your funniest friend, read a joke online, or recall a laughable memory. Laughter really is the best medicine!

  13. Take a swig of ice cold water.

    If you can, get up from your desk at work and walk to the farthest drinking fountain. See how sneaky we are – you just got a bit of exercise in, too! Taking a couple minutes to rehydrate can help you feel less irritated and more refreshed.

Ah, don’t you feel better?! Take this list with you wherever you get stressed: post it at work, bookmark it on your smartphone, or place a reminder in your car. Day by day you’ll be a little more stress-free and a lot happier!

Manon McGovern

Manon McGovern, creator of The Traveling Trainer, is a fitness and weight management specialist who loves sharing her passion for a healthy lifestyle. She studied Exercise Science at The Ohio State University and started personal training and teaching group exercise classes to introduce herself into the fitness world. She enjoys personal training and teaching Yoga, Spinning, KickBoxing, and strength classes. Now working... Read More

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