If you’re facing a prolonged challenge of any kind, you may be suffering a high degree of stress. But stress can make a bad situation worse, whereas a relaxed approach will help you sail smoothly, even happily, through. Nerves and anxiety can affect the well-being of others as well as yourself, generating gloom and tension all round, so it’s essential to keep on top of your feelings for everyone’s sake. If you’re finding it hard to relax, these tips will help you get back in control and stay calm and serene throughout the challenges ahead:


Share thoughts

If you’re feeling anxious, tell someone. Consult a friend or relative, sharing your concerns openly with them. Unloading your worries this way will relieve your mind, and your listener’s sympathy and advice will reassure you. The sheer act of speaking will release tension, if you’ve been bottling up your troubles in silence. Talking over a problem also helps to put it in perspective, enabling you to get your head around it and think through a solution. You may even find that your friend has more serious concerns to unburden, making yours seem minor by comparison.

Listen to soothing sounds

Music can be extremely therapeutic, as can the sound of the human voice, so search online for calming recordings, or check your radio schedule for content to suit your taste. Radio has the bonus of immediacy, with live presenters and program announcers, while the Internet offers a wide range of listening options for any point in time. If music is your preference, try a few different styles to see which is the most relaxing. You may enjoy Spanish guitar music, brass band tunes or heart-stirring opera singing, for instance, or some laid-back jazz. If you find a speaking voice more reassuring, you might choose poetry or story readings, chat shows or stand-up, among other options. On the Internet you’ll also find recordings of soothing natural sounds, such as the hum of the sea and the purr of a breeze.


Stretching your legs is relaxing and rejuvenating, releasing tension and diverting your mind from gloomy thoughts. The exertion also stimulates your heart and lungs, causing you to breathe more deeply – another calming process. If you have access to a pleasant green space, make regular use of it for strolling, cycling, sports or workouts. For indoor exercise, set yourself a physical movement routine that you can perform in a confined space. This might include squats, press-ups, forward rolls and other gymnastic skills. You’ll find plenty of further suggestions online. Enhance the relaxing effect by playing some punchy background music. You’ll feel serene and upbeat for hours after your activity, and probably sleep better, too. 


Singing is one of the most therapeutic activities you can do. You don’t need to be musical or have a powerful voice. Humming will do fine, but if you feel like bellowing out the sound, clapping your hands and swinging your hips, go ahead. Singing involves drawing deep breaths and letting them out slowly, which has a calming effect on the nerves, while the melody will lift your mood. Think back to your childhood for old songs you used to enjoy, and sing them again. Join in with songs on the TV and radio, too, or seek out your favorite tracks online. If you’re living with anyone else, or speaking to someone by phone or video link, encourage them to sing along with you.

Get busy 

When your mind is engaged in a task it can’t wander away to dark thoughts, so keep yourself busy. Choose activities that you’ll enjoy, so you’ll be incentivized and absorbed. Pursue a hobby, learn a new craft or study a topic of interest. If you’re happiest keeping on the move, play ball games or follow fitness regimes online, perhaps. Home improvements, gardening and decluttering challenges are also pleasing and relaxing to do. Any project you can get your teeth into will keep your mind occupied and loosen that knot inside you.

Eat and sleep well 

Look after yourself as well as possible, to keep your mind and body strong. The fitter and healthier you are, the better you’ll cope with feelings of anxiety. Being in good shape will also help you deal with any knock-on effects, such as headaches or muscle strains. To keep yourself in top form you’ll need to maintain a balanced diet, with a range of nutritious foods incorporating vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Check online dietary advice for guidance and meal ideas. Sleep is also important for your well-being, so allow yourself plenty of time for uninterrupted, quality sleep each night, as well as rest and relaxation by day.


Laughing is wonderfully relaxing, and whatever tickles your humor will also lift your spirits. An easy way to get laughing is to watch a funny movie or TV program. There’s always something funny to giggle at on social media, too, be it a witty comment, a ludicrous photo or a hilarious video. But if you have no time to sit and watch the screen, think back to comical happenings in your life, or see how many old jokes you can recall. There are plenty of humorous books, articles and rhymes to be found, as well. You can often find a funny side to a mishap and problem, too, once you start thinking positively.


It’s natural to feel stressed sometimes, especially when facing exceptional or long-drawn-out challenges. But remember that there are all sorts of ways to calm down. Just pick your favorites from the list above, and feel the tension slip away through your fingers.