5 Free Apps & Resources To Help You Relieve Stress

Adapted from photo by kk+ via Creative Commons

I can always tell when I’m stressed. My neck starts to ache, my shoulders are tight, and I get bitchy cranky. As part of my self-care journey this year, I try to listen to what my body tells me. Last year, I would totally ignore the signs of stress. I’d push through and worked until I crashed and burned. Not a recipe for healthy living.

It’s not healthy in the long run to be constantly stressed. I learned that the hard way. I let my stress control me. I stayed up in the wee hours to work, woke up early to take my daughter to school, and came home to chase my 3 year old around. Rinse and repeat. I was so exhausted and cranky that I was no fun to be around. Eventually my body wore down and I got sick. Yuck!

Now I’m working hard to make time to relax and relieve stress. I’m not always good about letting go of stress, but it’s a work in progress. I’ve discovered some free resources that you can tap into as well on your journey for a less stressful life.

Yoga on the beach during Blogalicious Miami. Wish I could do it everyday

I’m making more of an effort to do yoga at least once or twice a week. I always feel calm and relaxed afterwards. I skipped doing yoga for over a week and I can definitely feel the difference. My schedule doesn’t really allow me to take yoga classes. My husband doesn’t have a set schedule and I’m not dragging myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to head to a gym. What’s a gal to do?

  • Borrow yoga DVDs from your library. I can’t believe it just occurred to me that my library carries workout videos. My library loans them out for 3 weeks so it gives me time to try out different instructors and types of yoga. My current fave is Rodney Yee’s Yoga For Beginners. There’s more than yoga DVDs at my library too: Jillian Michaels’s 30 Day Shred (tried to get my husband to do that but he was on to me), walking works, even some Bollywood dance workouts (not for me).
  • CurvyYoga.Com A Twitter friend turned me onto Curvy Yoga after I complained that my boobs and belly were in my way when I tried certain poses, like Child’s Pose. A whole knew world opened up for me. Founder Anny Guest-Jelly encourages us to “grab life by the curves.” Her Curvy Yoga movement demonstrates how to adjust poses based on your body, and teaches us to own our curves. She has an entire page full of free yoga videos and practices. I signed up for her newsletter and she offers great tips each week. She’s also offering a fee based program where you can get 2 yoga videos a month for a low fee.
Photo by Moyan Brenn via Creative Commons
Better Sleep
While I may not get my 8 hours of beauty sleep each night–ok, I have to laugh. I’m lucky if I can get 5 or 6 hours. Sometimes when I finally lay my head on my pillow, my brain will not cooperate. My mind is racing with ideas, thoughts, and random to-dos. That’s one of the reasons I cannot sleep with music on, especially if  it’s not instrumental. However, I’ve found meditations and apps to help me fall asleep more quickly and sleep better.
  • Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep App (Android). I’ve become a fan of falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the beach or a crackling fire. It helps me block out my thoughts and just focus on the repetitive motion of the waves. Sort of like meditating. I like this app because I can set a timer so it will stop playing after a specified amount of time. This way it doesn’t drain my phone’s battery.
  • Musical Therapy for Sound Sleep App (Android). This app gives you a few more options than Nature Sounds. Instead of just nature sounds, you program the relaxing musical tracks to play in order, shuffle, etc. It also has a sleep timer as well as an alarm clock timer. I haven’t tried the alarm clock timer yet because my kids make great alarm clocks.
  • Relaxation & Meditation Music(Amazon Sampler) offers a 16 different tracks so you’re sure to find one that will help you relax and get some rest. It’s free on Amazon and you can download the tracks directly to your phone or computer.
Not Free, But Highly Recommended
I use these weekly, if not everyday. While these resources are not free, it’s worth the investment for a bit of stress relief and relaxation.
  • Wine or a cocktail. Sometimes you need a liquid refreshment to help you kick back and relax. I love having a glass of wine with a dose of reality television.
  • Leonie’s Divine Dreaming Meditation Kit is my favorite meditation when I can’t relax enough to fall asleep. It comes with a spoken guided meditation and one that’s just instrumental. It’s a bit hippie dippy/new age-y so it’s not for everyone. The meditation kit is $49.95 but if you join Leonie’s Amazing Biz & Life Academy for access to this meditation kit and all of her e-courses, etc.
  • A hot bath accompanied by trashy magazines or a good book definitely melts away my stress. One of my favorite bath salts is Biggs & Featherbelle Flower Soak which contains flower petals, lavender and geranium essential oils. You can also sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil in your bath along with some epsom salts. Lavender will calm you. If you want to feel revitalized, try some orange essential oil instead.
What do you do to relieve stress? I’d love to hear how you relax.
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