This week, I’ve been feeling more than a bit overwhelmed by work stress and have been in need of some active self care. Because, as much as I love running Let’s Eat Cake, it can be stressful from time to time.
Especially when my ADHD also decides this is a good time to go wild and I go full hey did you see that movie with the balloons and should I repaint my kitchen or just get a motorcycle?
And, when it comes to self-care or decompressing techniques, the Internet mostly provides low energy ideas. Getting out into nature, journaling, meditating. Taking a long bath with a glass of wine and a book if you aren’t the type to topple all of that into the tub. They’re all great tips for stress relief.
But they don’t really work for me.
Maybe it’s because I’m an earth sign with a fire rising sun and moon (it’s not). Or maybe it’s because when my insides feel like they are buzzing and I want to leap out of my skin, doing yoga, or taking a nap is not going to solve this problem. In fact, it usually makes the problem worse.
What does work are active things that get my blood pumping, coursing through my body like it’s on a speed wash cycle. So, if you’re the type that could use some ideas on how to de-stress that aren’t “go meditate,” here’s some that I’ve compiled.
If you’ve got more, by all means, throw ’em in the comment section. And if you have the winning lotto numbers for next week, that’d be cool, too!
20 Physically Active Self Care Ideas
1. Have S-e-x.
Even better? Make it primal. The kind that annoys the neighbors, and leaves you and your partner hot, sweaty, and totally spent. Flying solo these days? Grab a toy or your own digits and get busy.
2. Go Bowling
Physically throw something. Not the dishes (more on that on a moment), but a heavy ball down a lane. At pins. Repeat.
3. Go to a Rage Room
I’m on the fence about these as they seem pretty wasteful, but if you really need to get that energy moving out of your body, in the poignant words of Fred Durst, “break stuff.”
4. Howl at the Moon
Literally. Ideally in the woods. Or in your car. Or, at least somewhere someone isn’t going to call the authorities.
5. Bounce on a Trampoline
Exercise meets play. Not only will your calves get a workout, you’ll also burn off some of that intense energy. In a pinch, a bounce house could also work. Move it, kids.
6. Go Running
Sprints are probably going to be a bit more effective here than running long distance. Unless you can run long distances at sprint speed. Hey, Usain Bolt. Nice to see you.
7. Play Skee Ball
Like bowling, but with smaller balls. And sometimes tickets. And prizes. Now you’re not only getting out your stress, you’re getting rewarded in giant stuffed animals for getting out your stress. Win-win. Except for the panda that now lives in the back of your closet.
8. Go to the Driving Range
Playing golf doesn’t have quite the oomph you might need. Hitting one ball after another after another, however, might release some of your tension.
9. Play Tennis or Pickleball
Run around on a court and thwack balls to the other side of the net. Sure, squash also works. You went to where, Harvard?
10. Watch Sports
I should be specific: not golf. Unless you’re the type to yell at the screen while watching golf, which is a whole other problem entirely. Think, football, basketball, or my personal favorite, hockey.
My best friend likes to do the chicken dance when she’s stressed. I encourage you to try it. Or, put on a rock, pop, punk, or EDM playlist and dance around your house. Or at a club. But not in the street, no matter what Van Halen says.
12. Jump in Puddles
Same idea as the trampoline, but with water. And no sneaking into your neighbor’s yard.
The more you get into it, the better. Shoulder pads not included.
14. Go to an Amusement Park
This idea is a bit more expensive, but if you live near Six Flags, Cedar Point, Disney, Busch Gardens, or Universal Studios, book a day and go ride the rides. If you hate riding roller coasters, go on the kiddie rides. Sure, they’ll all make you want to throw up, but are you still stressed? Probably not.
15. Take Photos
Getting out and about and taking photos is less active that most other things on this list, but exploring somewhere new and activating your creative mind can help get you out of your head.
16. Play Catch or Fetch
Throw around a ball with your dog or someone else’s dog or your friend. Or someone else’s friend. Or your kid. Or, no, probably just your kid.
17. Try Axe Throwing
Unless you are really really klutzy. Then, just watch Thoren Bradley do wonders with his axe.
18. Play a Sport or Take a Fitness Class
Again… not golf. Basketball, fencing, boxing, roller skating, soccer, kickball, dodgeball, or any other active sport can take the edge off. At worst, maybe there are beers after.
19. Try the Circus Arts
Fire dancing, aerial arts, and trapeze are all movement-based, physical activities that require a fair amount of energy and focus. At worst, you’ll learn a neat party trick. Sorry, a new neat party trick.
20. Go to a Range
Whether you’re launching arrows at hay or aiming for clay pigeons, both archery and shooting ranges can help you release a little of that overflowing energy.
Your landlord won’t approve of this one, but if you own your own home and a wall needs to go… physically knocking it down (while wearing the right safety equipment) can be cathartic.
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