40 Plus Ways to Unwind and Relax

Freelancers are busy. We wear a lot of hats and most of the time we are also juggling more than one project.

The problem is that this can lead to an awful lot of stress if we’re not careful. And too much stress can be the enemy of productivity. The key to reducing stress is relaxation.

That’s why I’ve written this post that includes over forty things that freelancers can do to relax. Some of these will take a few minutes. Others will take a few days. Some may even take a few weeks. But if you’re stressed, it’s worth trying one or more of these ideas.

Unwind and Relax in Less Than a Day

If you’re short on time, here are a few ideas that will help you unwind in less than a day (along with the estimated time for each):

  1. Pray or Meditate (Time Spent: 15 Minutes)–Prayer or meditation is a simple way to unwind. Surprisingly, many people forget to do it.
  2. Read a Book (Time Spent: 2 Hours)–Losing yourself in a good book is a great way to forget your worries and relax.
  3. Watch a Movie (Time Spent: 2 Hours)–Pop some popcorn and rent your favorite movie for a quick escape from your day-to-day problems.
  4. Take a Bath (Time Spent: 1 Hour)–Imagine luxuriating in a warm bubble bath or jacuzzi? Try dimming the lights and lighting some candles.
  5. Take a Nap (Time Spent: 45 Minutes)–A short power nap can be a great way to refresh yourself.
  6. Take a Walk (Time Spent 1/2 hour)–Whether it’s a short walk around the block or a quick hike through the nearest park, walking is a great way to reduce stress.
  7. Work Out (Time Spent: 30 Minutes)–Many freelancers find that a quick work out eases tension.
  8. Clean Up (Time Spent: 2 Hours)–De-cluttering a cluttered workspace or home can make you feel better.
  9. Have Lunch with Friends (Time Spent: 2 Hours)–Every freelancer should plan on getting out from behind the computer regularly.
  10. Listen to Music (Time Spent: Varies)–The healing and relaxing properties of music are well documented.
  11. Go Shopping (Time Spent: At Least 4 Hours)–If shopping relaxes you, head for the nearest mall.
  12. Go to the Art Museum (Time Spent: 3 Hours)–Get inspired by wandering through the works of the masters.
  13. Treat Yourself (Time Spent: 2 Hours)–Whether it’s a pedicure or a new software program, treating yourself to something you enjoy can relax you.
  14. Go to a Garden (Time Spent: Half a Day)–Spend some time enjoying plants and flowers.
  15. Take a Coffee or Tea Break (Time Spent: 1 Hour)–Brew yourself a pot of coffee or make yourself some tea.
  16. Go Swimming (Time Spent: 2 to 4 Hours)–Almost everybody loves to swim. Head to your local pool.
  17. Plan and Cook a Special Meal (Time Spent: 4 to 6 Hours)–When was the last time you baked your favorite food? Why not make it today?
  18. Walk Your Dog (Time Spent: 30 minutes)–There’s something special (and relaxing) about the relationship between a dog and its master.
  19. Go Fishing (Time Spent: At least Half a Day)–It doesn’t matter whether you catch anything. Just hanging out at your local fishing hole can help you to unwind.
  20. Get a Massage (Time Spent: 1 Hour)–If your muscles feel tight, a trained masseuse can help.
  21. List Your Blessings (Time Spent: 1 Hour)–It’s hard to be stressed if you’re focused on what’s going well. Make a list of everything that you are thankful for.
  22. Eat Outdoors (Time Spent: 1 to 2 Hours)–Pack a lunch and take it outside to eat. There’s a reason everyone loves a picnic.

Of course, if you have more time to relax there are even more options for unwinding.

Unwind and Relax in a Few Days

Here are a few things that you can do to unwind in a long weekend (up to four days):

  1. Get Out of Town (Time Spent: 3 Days or more)–Literally. There are a lot of vacation specials that you can get at the last minute online.
  2. Do a Staycation (Time Spent: 3 Days or more)–If you can’t afford to get out of town, don’t worry. Be the tourist right where you live.
  3. Proclaim a Technology-Free Weekend (Time Spent: 2 Days)–Spend a weekend without your computer, phone, and other electronic devices.
  4. Go Camping (Time Spent: 2 to 2 Days)–A camping trip may be just what you need to get away from your day-to-day stresses.
  5. Join a Tour Group (Time Spent: 2 to 3 Days)–Many cities have regular tours for vacationers. Try joining the one in your own town.
  6. Visit Your Favorite Out-Of-Town Relatives or Friends (Time Spent: 3 Days)–While spending time with the wrong family could be stressful, think about how good your favorite relatives make you feel.
  7. Take a Road Trip (Time Spent: 2 to 3 Days)–Just get in the car and drive. Stop at anything interesting along the way.
  8. Explore Your Roots (Time Spent: 2 to 3 Days)–Go back to the town where you (or your parents) were raised and revisit familiar sites.
  9. Visit a National Park (Time Spent: 2 to 3 Days)–Many U.S. National Parks have cabins to rent.
  10. Take the Family to a Theme Park (Time Spent: 2 Days)–Find the nearest theme park and plan on spending a few days there.

Changing your life habits can also help you to unwind.

Unwind and Relax in a Week, or More

Here is a list of good habits that will help you relax over time. Try devoting a few hours a week to these activities:

  1. Volunteer–Volunteering on a regular basis can help you to put things in perspective.
  2. Take a Class–Learn something new just for fun.
  3. Start a Hobby–What are you interested in outside of work?
  4. Take Your Dream Vacation–Save your money and take that ultimate vacation you’ve always dreamed about.
  5. Start a Garden–Many people find gardening relaxing (and you get a bonus of fresh flowers or vegetables).
  6. Start an Old-Fashioned Journal–Even if you have a blog, it’s not quite the same as keeping a diary. Try old-fashioned journaling.
  7. Remodel Something–There’s nothing better than fixing something up.
  8. Get Crafty–Try your hand at a craft.
  9. Pay off a Bill–Finances are a top source of stress. Target a bill and start to pay it down so that you can ultimately pay it off.

Your Turn

How do you relax and relieve stress?

Share your tips in the comments.

Image by eagan