What can I do right now that will help?

We've developed a "cheat sheet" - simple things that can help you in the short-term reduce your stress and get your mind off of your worries. Some of them, when done on a regular basis, will reduce your stress for longer periods of time. Experiment. If one thing doesn’t seem to work, give it some time. If it still isn’t working for you, try something else. What have you got to lose … except maybe a little stress!

If you think of something that should be on this list that isn't, please email us below so we can add it to our list. Maybe you will be able to help someone else with their stress.

  1. Take a hot bath. Better yet, a bubble bath! Go on, you know you want to.
  2. Clean your closet.
  3. Go for a walk.
  4. Call a friend or family member and talk about your troubles. Ask them about their troubles. It might help to get your mind off of your own for a while.
  5. Sit down and write a list of 25 good things about your life. They can be simple, like “I love my dog.” (Or cat.)
  6. Make your bed.
  7. Do your laundry.
  8. Go for a jog.
  9. Ride a bike.
  10. Organize your notes for class, but whatever you do, don’t read them! ; )
  11. If you can afford it, get a massage. That’s a good one! Check out our "links" page for low-cost massages in Austin.
  12. Read a book (not related to class or work). Maybe a good trashy one!
  13. Surf the ‘net. Oh wait; you’re doing that now!
  14. Go to a movie.
  15. Talk to your religious leader/advisor and seek spiritual support.
  16. Breathe. Seriously! Many people inadvertently hold their breath when they’re stressed. Take five minutes, close your eyes, and only focus on the sound of your breath.
  17. Eat something. Many people skip meals when they’re stressed. Maybe your body is hungry and you can’t tell because of stress-induced “butterflies” in your stomach.
  18. Have you tried all of the previous suggestions? Really? Okay, try some push-ups or sit-ups. Physical exertion is great to get your mind off of your worries.
  19. Fine, go ahead and watch t.v. for an hour…but only for an hour!
  20. Go for a swim. The best thing about swimming is that you can't hear the outside world under the water. (Thanks to anonymous poster!)
  21. Explore the Stress Recess web site and try some of the relaxation exercises like yoga, diaphragmatic breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.


This site is designed to be a work in progress. We are constantly refining and improving it based on your feedback and suggestions. Your message is anonymous, so please feel free to let us know what you think!