Unhealthy levels of stress increase the chances of disease, psychological problems and poor quality of life. If you’re struggling with excessive stress, you’ll hopefully find some helpful sites among these online stress management resources.
Some of these resources help with short-term relaxation or distraction; others promote habits and strategies for managing stress long-term.
Exercise At Your Desk – From WebMD, suggestions for exercises you can do in your office. (It’s a good idea to consult with a doctor before trying new exercises.)
Using exercise to improve mental health – A HelpGuide.org feature on exercise that’s helpful to anyone, but specifically addresses people who experience depression, anxiety and unhealthy stress levels. It includes advice on making time for regular exercise and physical activity. (Bonus links: the site’s Stress Management Guide and Relaxation Techniques Guide are also worth checking out.)
Fun & Games
Drifting Afternoon – The whole purpose of this short game is to make a kitten leap onto floating circles as it runs across a sunny, breezy field.
Virtual Bubble Wrap – Not quite the same as real bubble wrap, but it’s amusing and might help you release some tension.
Making Art & Music
Mr. Doob’s Harmony – You can make some interesting designs and beautiful sketches with this browser-based program, regardless of your artistic ability.
Sketch Toy – Sketch or doodle with this browser-based program, which allows you to make your sketches vibrate (this can either be relaxing or freak you out, so take care…)
Tone Matrix – Create simple patterns of sound that play on a loop. This is relaxing and fun to play around with for a short while.
11 Self-Massage Tips from Buzzfeed – Try whatever feels good to you, and make sure you have tennis balls on hand.
Stress Relief Face Rub – This is a YouTube video of a self-massage applied gently to your face.
Meditating and Visualizing
Calm.com – Relax or meditate with the help of different nature images and sounds.
Free Guided Meditations – From the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC).
Guided Visualization Exercises – From the University of Houston Clear Lake Counseling Services.
Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – From Palouse Mindfulness, a free 8-week course on mindfulness practices that can help you manage and reduce stress.
7 Cups of Tea – Discuss your stress and anxiety for free with anonymous trained listeners. The site also has resources to help you better understand unhealthy anxiety and other problems.
Understanding & Strategizing
6 Myths About Stress – From the American Psychological Association.
Making a Personal Stress Management Plan – From Fostering Resilience, print it out and add your own ideas.
Stress Management Tasks – From the University of Surrey.
5 Ways to Reduce Stress Through Journaling – Keeping a journal is, for many people, a useful stress relief strategy (and it has other benefits, like improving your understanding of yourself and life more generally).
The Thoughts Room – Write the thoughts that are weighing on you, and watch the words crumble away.
(The top photo is mine, and the bottom one is by Ted Hood and has no known copyright restrictions; both photos link back to their sources on Flickr.)