31 Ways to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less


4:03 p.m.
To get oxygen flowing again, sit up straight and interlock your fingers behind your head. Pull your elbows back, stretching your upper back and chest muscles. Bring your elbows forward. Repeat.

4:27 p.m.
Still craving that Snickers? Pop a few (that's three not a whole bag) Hershey's Kisses instead. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have discovered that consuming small sugary snacks (note: not artificially sweetened ones) can relieve stress.

5:10 p.m.

Squeeze in your last 10 minute exercise session on the way home. If you commute via mass transit, get off at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way. If you drive, go shopping on the way home and carry those groceries yourself.

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5:53 p.m.
Ditch the starchy suit and pumps for drawstring pants and a terry hoodie the minute you walk in the door.

6:16 p.m.
Sip a nice Shiraz (or any other red wine) to help you unwind: It contains antioxidants that mop up free radicals molecules that can damage cells and are often released when you're under stress.

6:42 p.m.

Snuggle with your kitty. Studies show that bonding with a pet even, believe it or not, a goldfish can help lower anxiety. How do you bond with a goldfish? We don't want to know.

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6:51 p.m.
So you're not the Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis. For ordinary mortals, less is more. Prepare a simple, healthy meal that doesn't require many ingredients. See "Ten Foods, Forty Recipes". And take leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

8:00 p.m.

When you flick on Lost, grab some knitting. Researchers at the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston found that repetitive activities can help calm your nerves.

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9:05 p.m.
Stress makes chronic skin conditions like acne worse, but honey can make them better. The bee's pride and joy is a moisturizer, antioxidant, and antiviral all in one sticky package. Spread a thin layer on your face and neck, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off with tepid water.

9:20 p.m.
Who said you had to do yoga on the floor? Run a bath and lie back with the balls of your feet propped against the far end of the tub. With your heels touching and toes splayed in a "V," let your knees fall open and your hands float loosely at your sides. Inhale, allowing the buoyancy of the water to arch your back gently. Pull your elbows down behind you and place your forearms on the tub bottom. Let your chin sink toward your neck and take two deep breaths. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders. Next, with your feet hip-width apart, push your toes against the far end of the tub. Raise and lower your heels, stretching your calves. Breathe in as your heels move up; breathe out as they touch the tub.

9:45 p.m.
Gently caress your guy all over until he puts down the remote. Scottish researchers have found that couples who indulge in regular sex have lower blood pressure than those who don't.

10:12 p.m.

TiVo The Daily Show and go to bed. A 1997 University of Chicago study found that sleep deprivation reduces resistance to stress.

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10:31 p.m.
Keep a notepad and pencil bedside to write down any to-dos that are weighing on your mind it will help you let go of anxious thoughts and drift into la-la land.

10:40 p.m.
To ease your body into sleep, tense and relax all your muscle groups sequentially. Start with your toes, move to your calves, then your knees and thighs, and keep going until you get to your face. Deep relaxation has been shown to decrease anxiety.

11:00 p.m.

If you toss and turn for more than 15 or 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a calming activity, such as reading or meditation or, what the hell, just fire up the vibrator until you feel ready for oblivion.

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