Therapy is great and all, but sometimes we need helpful tools that we can use at home (or at work, or in social situations) to help relieve anxiety and get through a stress-ridden moment.  At-home activities for anxiety relief  can help you in between therapy sessions to help calm you, help you feel safe, and help you remember what you talked about with your therapist so it can be useful outside of session. 

At-home remedies can include different types of activities, so we’ll offer examples of a few. For example, sitting quietly may help one person while it exacerbates anxiety for another. We all need different options!  These are some of our favorite at-home activities to help relieve anxiety. 

1. Drink some tea.

Our favorite calming teas include peppermint, chamomile, and lavender. Some tea companies have specific calming teas – e.g. Celestial Seasonings ‘Tension Tamer’ or Pukka’s ‘Relax.’ These teas usually include peppermint or chamomile as their base. 

Why does drinking a calming tea help relieve anxiety? Well, it helps your body relax, which can help your mind relax, rather than getting stuck in a spiral in which both your body and mind get more and more tense until you feel like you can’t calm yourself at all.

2. Stretch.

Many clients report that anxiety starts in their body, or manifests physically once the anxious thoughts are in the driver’s seat. By stretching or doing yoga, you can regulate your breathing as well as release hormones that can help your body and mind relax. 

You can check out our favorite stretches and yoga positions from theEveryGirl.

3. Sit in the sunshine (or somewhere warm!)

Getting some real sunlight has some surprising health benefits, from lowered anxiety to better sleep. (All of these things are connected, by the way.) You can read up on the benefits, but regardless – take a few minutes to close your eyes and soak up some rays and fresh air. You won’t be disappointed. 

4. Answer some questions to get some distance from the problem.

(BONUS: journal about these so you have your thoughts to help you out when you’re feeling challenged by anxiety again another time.)   

  1. What does anxiety (or the problem) want for you? For example, does it want you to enjoy your day, or does it want to spoil your personal restoration time? Does it want you to feel confident, or does it want you to question yourself? 
  2. If you were to name an intention of taking action, what would it be? E.g. ‘calling out anxiety’ or ‘untangling myself from anxiety’ 
  3. What does it say about you, as a human being, that this problem isn’t okay with you? Perhaps it might say something about what or who you value in your life, or how you need to be spending your time. 

5. Use your own carefully crafted positive affirmations.

I get asked about the effectiveness of positive affirmations fairly frequently. To be transparent, I only believe in positive affirmations and find them helpful when they are affirmations that you’ve come up with and are specific to you and what you need. The more specific, the better. 

If you repeat random affirmations, like “I will make a lot of money,” they don’t do very much — and they sound a bit empty. An affirmation such as, “I make my own decisions and I’m happy with what I’ve chosen” when you’re battling doubt that starts from comparison to others sounds much more helpful, doesn’t it? 

We can work together in counseling to come up with your own positive affirmations, but for now, here are a few tips: 

  1. Use the third person and speak to yourself directly.  Studies show that when you speak to yourself in the third person, you’re more likely to be nice to yourself.   
  2. Think of what someone else has said to you – a teacher, a mentor, a friend – that helped you. They gave this to you, so use it! It can be your affirmation. 
  3. Be specific. A vague affirmation does not point you in the right direction because it’s too broad. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the phrase to feel – and be – meaningful. 

6. Take a bath with epsom salts and your favorite candle (or scent).

Just soaking in a warm bath with a lavender candle can be relaxing, but add in some epsom salts and you’re on the way to total relaxation. Epsom salts are magnesium salts, and magnesium can help with anxiety and depression. Aside from that, it helps your muscles relax, which can help your mind relax as well. Prepare to feel calm and sleepy – just make sure you use enough salts + soak long enough!