How to Chill
For many, stress is unfortunately a major part of life. Not only is being stressed-out an unpleasant way to spend your time, but it's also very unhealthy in the long run: stress can be a contributing factor in health problems like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.The solution to life's stresses? Learn tochill out! Whether you're enjoying a rare day off or caught in the midst of a high-stress situation, with the right approach, it's almost always possible to relax and enjoy life. Remember — when in doubt,chill out!
Enjoying a Chill Day
Set aside your major commitments.The key to having a chill, relaxing day is to make arrangements ahead of time. It's hard to truly relax if you've got to buckle down on a work project or look after a screaming infant, so plan ahead to make sure there will be few opportunities for distraction. Below are just a few things you may want to consider doing — everyone's life is different, so you may have commitments that don't match these exactly:
- Ask for time off from work.If necessary, use a vacation day. Note that most managers appreciate advance notice — a few weeks is often enough.
- If you have children, hire a sitter.Children can be adorable most of the time, but sometimes they're nightmares. Eliminate the risk of having a hair-pulling day with your children by putting them under the watch of a responsible caretaker for a day.
- If necessary, make travel arrangements.Sometimes, a change of scenery can be just what's needed to relax. If you'd like to get out of town, buy tickets and make hotel reservations ahead of time to avoid hectic last-minute shopping.
Treat yourself to a relaxing bath or shower.As soon as you've decided to get out of bed (which, on your chill-out day, iswhenever you want), start your day off with some relaxing time in the shower or tub. Warm baths and showers are proven to help ease the mind, relax tense muscles, and focus scattered thoughts.More importantly, however, they just plainfeel goodand give you a temporary chance to forget about everything else and focus on the pleasing sensation of the water — in other words, tochill.
- People's tastes in terms of water temperature can vary greatly. Scientifically speaking, the most relaxing baths are a little less than piping hot — any hotter can actually force your body to workharder, rather than relax (though your bath will still feel good.)
- Note that pregnant women should not take hot baths.
Get coffee or tea with friends.Drinking caffeinated beverages may not be the first thing on everyone's list of relaxing things to do, especially if you're someone who gets jitters, headaches, and so on.However, if you're able to handle a little caffeine, drinking some in the company of friends can be a very chill, relaxing experience. In fact, according to some research, drinking coffee in the company of people you enjoy can have a noticeably relaxing effect. On the other hand, drinking coffee alone tended to lead to more stress.
Devote some time to a hobby you've missed out on.Are you an amateur Picasso? Have you been dying to hammer out some jams on your old guitar? Today's your day to indulge your passions! Chill-out days are great because they give you plenty of time to do the things you secretlywishyou were doing while you're fulfilling your life's commitments, so don't be afraid to spend a few hours (or all day, if you wish) to sources of personal pleasure. Some things you might want to consider are:
- Try your hand at a creative task.When was the last time you painted a picture, wrote a song, or composed a short story? If you can't remember, consider tackling one of these art projects today at your own pace.
- Do a DIY home improvement project.Putting a little work into your home can be an immensely fulfilling activity (plus, it's usually a good use of time and energy in the long term if it cuts down on maintenance costs.)
- Read a book.Real, honest-to-goodness paper books can be a rarity today. There's nothing quite like sitting by the fire with your favorite paperback for a few hours, so consider this relaxing option.
- Play some video games.There's nothing wrong with vegging out on the couch for a few hours with your favorite game. However, if this is something you already do on a regular basis, you might want to consider devoting your time to a hobby you get to pursue less often.
Try your hand at an easy recipe.Filling up with a great meal can be a very satisfying way to chill out. If you want to practice your cooking skills (and save money compared to eating out), try cooking yourself (and/or any friends who can spare the time) a nice filling meal. There are literally thousands of high-quality recipes available online. A quick search engine query for your favorite dish should reveal dozens of good results (or, alternatively, try browsing our wide selection of recipe articles.)
- If you don't feel like cooking, don't hesitate to get a table at your favorite restaurant or order take-out. Chilling with good food is too satisfying an experience to ignore!
Run errands at a leisurely pace.Just because you're taking a chill-out day for yourself doesn't mean you can't get anything done. Don't be afraid to deal with any long-term issues that need taking care of with your free time. Not only is it satisfying in the short term to accomplish meaningful tasks, it's also a good way to reduce stress in the long term. After all, every duty you take care of today is one that you won't need to worry about tomorrow. Below are just a few examples of things you may want to consider:
- Paying bills
- Sending letters/packages
- Applying to jobs
- Dealing with customer service problems
- Taking care of government/civic duties (i.e., going to the DMV, voting, etc.)
Watch a movie.Movies are the ultimate form of passive, chilled-out entertainment (unless, of course, you choose a horror film or a high-octane thriller.) Try curling up with a loved one or some friends in front of a screen for a few relaxing hours at the end of your day to enjoy an old favorite or a new selection.
- If you have time, you might even want to plan a movie night with your friends. You can pick a theme (i.e., creature features, etc.) or go freestyle — it's up to you.
- Though it can be somewhat pricey today, heading to the movie theater/cinema with friends can be another way to enjoy a movie. If your friends aren't available, you can still go by yourself, though some people don't like this. Try looking for matinee showings to save money if you don't want to shell out unneeded cash.
Enjoy a night out (or in!)Some people enjoy ending a chill-out day with a fun night on the town, while others prefer to stay in and get to bed early. The ideal end toyourday of chilling is up to you (and no one else!)
- Don't feel pressured to go out if you don't want to — your friends will still be around tomorrow if you skip one night to get some sleep.
- Conversely, don't be afraid to enjoy a single night out with your friends if it's been a while since you've had the opportunity to cut loose. The exception, of course, is if you have major obligations the following day, in which case staying up late and partying can leave you too exhausted to function.
If you're old enough, enjoy your favorite intoxicant (responsibly.) Let's face it — with daily stresses from work, school, and/or personal commitments, it can sometimes be easiest to relax with a little chemical help. This is OK as long as it's not overdone. For instance, a drink or two with friends at the end of the day isn't likely to be a problem for most people. There is even some evidence to suggest that moderate alcohol consumption (on the order of one pint of beer per day) can actually have some minor health benefits.
- Keep in mind, however, that getting over-intoxicated can be a major stress. For instance, not only can heavy drinking lead to hangover, nausea, and other unpleasant physical symptoms, but also poor decision making, which can lead to long-lasting stresses (like jail time) if you're not careful.
Mellowing Out in a Stressful Situation
Stop what you're doing and take a quick break.Often, you may not have the luxury of being able to plan an entire day around the mission of chilling out. Whether they're caused by work, school, personal relationships, or some other outside force, stressful feelings and thoughts can occasionally pile up and become intensely unpleasant. In these cases, it's not enough to plan a day off in the future — odds are that you'll want reliefnow.Start by taking the earliest opportunity to stop what you're doing, leave your stressful situation, and give yourself a brief opportunity to do nothing.
- Removing yourself from the source of your stress — even just for a little bit — can be a huge help in relaxing. It's well-known among psychologists and business experts that semi-frequent short breaks can be a huge boon to creativity and morale, leading workers to be happier and more productive in the long run.
Get "out of your own head." Chilling out in a stressful situation is often just as much about your thoughts as it is about your actions. If you feel yourself getting stressed and agitated, don't let these negative thoughts overwhelm you. Try to think about your problems from a logical, detached perspective. Try to figure out why exactly you're stressed out. Is it because you believe you're being treated unfairly? Because you've been given too much to do? Because you aren't able to do things how you'd like them to be done?Thinking about your thoughts, rather than just focusing on the way you feel, can completely change the your attitude in a matter of minutes and even sometimes give you unexpected insights.
- For example, let's say that you're almost ready to leave work on a Friday afternoon when your boss pops into your office and gives you an unexpected assignment for the weekend. At this point, as you feel the frustration building inside you, you can either give in to these feelings and fume over this injustice for the entire weekend or (preferably) start to think about why this peeves you so much. For instance, is it because you feel like your employer doesn't adequately reward you for the time and effort you put into your company? If so, you may want to make a long-term effort to find a new job or negotiate for a better arrangement.
Talk your problems out.You never have to deal with stress alone! If you have the opportunity, try talking to someone else about the issues that are giving you stress. Explaining your problems to a friendly listener can help you understand them and psychologically "vent" by opening up about your negative thoughts. However, the American Psychological Association (APA) notes that it's important to talk to someone who's a patient listener andnotsomeone who's likely to make you more stressed out.
- For example, in the situation above, it might be a good idea to call home after work to vent about your problems with a parent or sibling. On the other hand, it's probablynota good idea to talk to your annoying roommate about it — especially if tensions are already high because he's behind on rent.
Make an effort to smile and laugh.The last thing an angry, stressed-out person usually wants to hear is, "Hey, turn that frown upside down!" However, as obnoxious as it may seem, there's a kernel of truth to this advice. Smiling (and other "happy" behaviors like laughing) actuallycanmake you happier because they trigger the release of chemicals in the brain responsible for elevating mood. By contrast, frowning and other "unhappy" behaviors can have the opposite effect, increasing negative feelings.
Release your built-up energy in a constructive way.One good way to deal with pent-up stress is to channel it into an outlet where the extra energy and tenseness will do you some good. For example, feelings of anger and frustration can make it easy to complete a long, intense workout (on top of this, exercise is a good way to moderate stress levels and improve your mood — see below for more information.)Other good ideas include channeling your energy into creative pursuits, like writing or playing a musical instrument.
- In our example with the unplanned weekend workload, a constructive thing to do in this situation might be to head to the gym after work rather than go straight home. Here, we can take out our frustrations in a healthy way by going for a run, lifting weights, or, if we're really mad, clobbering a punching bag.
Try meditation.Though it may sound pretentious or obnoxiously "new-age" to some, meditation skills have been proven to help some people manage feelings of stress and otherwise chill out. There's not really any single "right" way to meditate, but, in general, meditation involves removing yourself from distractions, closing your eyes, slowing your breathing, and focusing on untangling your stressful, worrisome thoughts. Some people hold complicated yoga poses while meditating, some mentally visualize ideas or images, some repeat a simple word or mantra aloud, and some even meditate while walking around!
Above all, make a plan of action and follow through with it.While all of the tricks above can be extremely useful if applied wisely, the most satisfying way to get rid of stresses for good is todeal with them.It can be tempting to run from stresses at work, school, or home, but confronting them head-on is usually the quickest path to relief. Plus, the satisfaction from doing a good job can lead to lower stress in the long run even if you have to buckle down at first to achieve it.
- In our example situation, the best course of action is probably to complete our assignment as quickly as possible Friday night or Saturday morning so that we'll have plenty of time to do the things we want to over the weekend. When we get back on Monday, we may want to meet with the boss to discuss an arrangement that will avoid these sorts of "crunch time" scenarios in the future.
- Resist the urge to cope by procrastinating. Delaying work now just leads to more stress later, especially if you have to scramble to meet a deadline. Once you've completed your task, you'll be able to appreciate your chill out time fully without lingering worries about how you'll deal with the commitments you've put off.
Living a "Chill" Life
Get outdoors.Above, we've dealt with specific, individual ways to chill out. However, this isn't telling the whole story — in order to truly live a chilled-out life, you'll want to adopt habits and behaviors that encourage a happy, relaxed state of being. One sure-fire way to do this is to make an effort to regularly spend time outdoors. It may seem clichéd, but large-scale scientific studies have proven that spending time outside — especially getting moderate exercise — noticeably elevates mood.
- Though the connection between time outdoors and a good mood still isn't 100% understood, sunlight seems to be a key part of the equation. In fact, studies have shown that being exposed to bright (artificial) light in the morning when it would normally be dark out can help people with Seasonal Affective Disorder feel better.
- For long-term benefits, try making outdoor activity a part of your weekly schedule. For example, going for a short hike every Saturday morning is a good way to get yourself feeling relaxed and energized for the rest of your weekend.
Get plenty of exercise.As noted above, a single session of exercise is a proven, fast-acting cure for stress in the short term. However,regularexercise is also a great way to promote a relaxed, chill attitude in the long term. Though the biology behind the process isn't perfectly understood, scientific research has demonstrated that habitual exercise can act as a buffer against the sorts of unhealthy problems that can result from stress, especially depression.
Get plenty of rest.The way we sleep can have a major effect on the way we feel when we're awake — just think back to the last time you pulled an all-nighter and try to remember how you felt the next day. While a single night of missed sleep can make you feel bad for a day or so, consistently getting insufficient sleep can be a major source of stress in the long run. In fact, people who consistently get poor sleep have elevated risks of suffering from stress-related disorders like heart disease, stroke, and more.For the best chance at a healthy, chill life, make an effort to get enough sleep every night (most health resources recommend about seven to nine hours per night for adults.)
- It's also important to recognize that the relationship between sleep and stress works the other way as well. In other words, just like a lack of sleep can lead to stress, stress can itself can make it difficult to get to sleep.
QuestionI don't want to get upset or angry over small matters and I want to not care about others people business. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAvoid things that trigger you and don't keep anger inside you. The more anger you keep, the easier will it be to trigger. Buy a punching bag if you have trouble letting go of the anger.Thanks!
- Change your position: Research has shown that horizontal positions are more chilled than vertical ones
- Some people swear by the idea of a "power nap," claiming that short naps of about 15-20 minutes are a great way to relax and re-focus during a stressful day. However, some people find it hard to fully wake up after a short nap.
- Other good ideas for chilling out include:
- Watching the rain or clouds.
- Having someone else read a book to you until you fall asleep.
- Washing your face with cool water.
- Drawing, doodling, or sketching. Don't worry about what the end product of your drawing is.
- If you find yourself jittery and frantic after drinking coffee or tea, try switching to decaf — for some, caffeine use can cause stress, especially if it becomes an addiction.
- Rainymood is a great website. You can listen to rain and rain makes everything better.
- Chilling can seriously increase your creativity (as long as you don't overdo it and slip into laziness.) Daydreaming, sleeping, and relaxing can help recharge your creative juices, so try knocking off for an hour or so the next time you feel a case of writer's block.
- Don't let a desire to chill out distract you from important things (like work.) Instead, if you're in the middle of major tasks, take a 10-15 minute break every hour to chill. For shorter tasks, wait until you're 100% finished before chilling.
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