Free Forms of Therapy-Updated

This post generated a lot of comments and because the list is dynamic, I thought I’d give it an update in the interest of repurposing evergreen content.

In the technological, fast-paced, over-scheduled climate that we live in, I find myself and others talking about anxiety, stress and looking for ways to slow down. Or maybe it is just the people I talk to  and blogs I read. Either way, everyone is looking for pieces of Zen in their daily lives. While therapy may be a great way to unload our stressors onto a willing listener, most of us do not have the time or money to see a therapist regularly. And honestly, I’m not convinced dumping my thoughts on a regular basis is necessarily my way to peace and harmony, though there are times in life where that is exactly what I need. More importantly, finding ways to “let go” and free myself from those disquieting thoughts is how I find solace.

free forms of therapy

  1. Drinking coffee in the early morning hours when the house is still sleeping
  2. Yoga, yoga, yoga! – this needs little explanation if you’ve read any of my previous posts over the last six months 😉
  3. Blogging/writing-the act of writing is so very therapeutic and the moment you finish a piece that you’re proud of is pure bliss!
  4. Walking and chatting with a friend who asks “how are you?”, means it and is willing to listen to the answer
  5. Eating a Mr. Goodbar in the middle of the day when the toddler is sleeping
  6. Reading a good book-best one recently-The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  7. Walking outside just before bed, gazing at the stars and taking a nice, big, deep breath letting all the stressors of the day go with it
  8. Making a fresh to-do list at the end of the week and crumpling up the messy, checked off one.
  9. Cleaning out closets, cabinets and files
  10. Trying new recipes
  11. Connecting with, inspiring and being inspired by others
  12. Taking a family bike ride
  13. Deleting apps with annoying notifications that create addictions, i.e. Facebook. This one was huge for me and gave me back about 2 hours per day of wasted browsing.
  14. Essential oils-I love my Young Living Essential Oils. I use Stress Away and Joy at various points during the day, Peace & Calming in the evenings, and Peppermint in the mornings to name a few.

So, those are just a few more ways I find some happy each day. How do you find yours?

33 thoughts on “Free Forms of Therapy-Updated

  1. Cleaning definitely relieves me from stress. There’s something about it that relaxes me but I do it in the wee hours of the morning because I do not like talking when I’m cleaning! I cannot do chitchat while sorting out plastic bags and sweeping the floor LOL

    I am still trying to find the courage to do number 13 because I like browsing FB and Instagram while having coffee 😉 Unfortunately, I do it too when I know I shouldn’t be online at all, like 3am. haha!

    • I find cleaning to be stress relieving too, especially vacuuming up all of my dog’s hair. haha! And I love running the dishwasher, probably because I love something other than me cleaning all of those dishes!
      You really should delete it, it will feel so liberating! I was nervous and came up with reasons why I shouldn’t but then I knew that was just the addiction talking. crazy freakin’ FB addictions!

    • aww, sounds so nice. Our old house had this amazing, big clawfoot tub that I loved taking baths in. Now, our small bathtub is the kids tub and just doesn’t seem as inviting with all those toys. I do really love my hot showers though, I guess that is the next best thing…maybe I should burn some lavender candles during the shower 😉

      • absolutely lavender candles! there is also a lovely lavender spray that you can mist your pillows with at night that’s supposed to help you sleep better. I can’t remember the brand — I got one when I stayed in one of the suites at a Marriott, I think, for being a platinum club member (or whatever their top team frequent guests are). I used to travel with it and spray it on my pillows at every hotel! 🙂

  2. I love this list BUT I will say that the therapy I’ve had in the last 2 yearrs has been invaluable to helping me get sane. The role of a therapist isn’t just to listen to your woes but teach you how to work through your triggers so they are no longer triggers. It was a big cost to me initially and a sacrifice of time but it was worth every penny and minute. Now I just see her on an as needs basis. Every so often I need a reboot or I’m floundering so will pop in. It helps me refocus. Interestingly a lot of the things on this list she has suggested to me to do so you are on the right track. Although the big no no for high stress is drinking coffee. I only drink decaf now (except on the rarest of occasions) and it has made the world of difference. 🙂

    • You are so very right, Rachel. I have found so much help in therapy; help and guidance that I would never have gotten from any one or the sum of the things on my list. I would certainly not suggest a person use the above items as a treatment plan. 😀
      I have been in therapy quite a few times on my own and with my husband and it was invaluable to me as well. I am sure a time will come when I will go again. This past year I could have used it immensely but I took the tools I learned from marital counseling to help me get through tough times and then yoga and self-reflection helped a lot too.
      I’m glad you commented because I would not want you or anyone else to think that I was making a statement against therapy. However, there are times I have found solace in the small stuff and needed to realize that there were things that I was making into a bigger issue than need be.
      Yes, you and I have talked about coffee and alcohol not being good with anxiety. I could easily do away with my 2nd cup, but the first would be hard to do without. I’m also trying to switch to tea in the evenings instead of a glass of red wine. As I said to Nancy earlier, my bout with insomnia last spring (tied to difficult personal events) led me to the nightly wine to help with sleep. That little bout was so traumatizing to me. But now its time to take matters in my own hands. And that is mainly what this post was meant to reflect, taking those moments of happy as a form of therapy, but certainly not in place of.
      Much love to you my friend!!

      • And to you!! Your list is truly amazing and really, the point of therapy is to teach us the tools so we don’t have to keep on going back and it looks like you have done just that so BRAVO! I just wanted to say how important it has been for me in getting to the point where I could use just the items on the list. Thanks for your beautiful comment.

        Btw…I honestly have found that decaf works just as well as the caffeinated variety for me as I think coffee was more about the caffeine then the zing. When I’ve tried to drop it all together I’ve found it extremely difficult. But keeping the habit and drinking decaf instead I barely noticed the difference. I think one glass of red at night isn’t too bad. It’s more an issue if you are drinking many glasses every night. If you a thinking of switching to tea any of those sleepy time herbal ones are pretty good I’ve found…from one strung out person to another ;- ) x

      • Not at all! I hope I didn’t offend you either 🙂 It’s such a struggle with this writing thing sometimes. To voice what’s in your heart about something you need to own it but then others can often have a different experience. I find you always kind and balanced in your words.

  3. Walking outside just before bed sounds luxurious to my city dwelling! There is something magical about breathing in the night air. After reading this I hope I can make time to take a hot bath with lavender and rose essential oils. Then jump into bed with clean sheets and read a bit of my book – The Goldfinch. Ahhhh- let’s see if I can do it. Lovely post!

  4. These are amazing! I find cleaning / clearing out clutter to be very cathartic. It seems to remove negativity and bring a sense of newness and peace. One of the things I like most about your list is how simple some therapies can be. Never underestimate the power a good candy bar!

    • Exactly! It is one of the simplest ways to get some happy. Although, I’ve had to pull back on that little therapy, I apparently enjoyed that it a few too many times from Oct-Dec.and can hopefully add “getting on the treadmill ” to the list:) At least there are plenty of other easy ones to choose from. Thanks for the comment!!

  5. A big AMEN to #4 and #13. Good friends fill me up. Big time. I need my time with them. And the whole notification thing. SO annoying. When I finally entered this century and got a smartphone last year, I couldn’t figure out how to turn off all the freaking Facebook notifications. It actually never made me want to check them,…it just made me mad! Thankfully, my husband is much smarter than me and showed me how to turn them off.

    In terms of additional things, my daughter and I have started meditating for about five minutes before her bedtime. It’s really nice and helps push me into a relaxed mode before I hit the hay. Which isn’t always good if I still have things to finish, but I love it. And I think it has been helping her fall asleep, which she typically has trouble doing.

    • That is a great idea! My daughter sometimes has a hard time going to sleep too. What exactly do you do? Breathing exercises? Mine will start a kids yoga class this Thurs for a 5 wk series and I’m hoping it will teach her some useful skills. She loved it as a 3 yr old when they did the breathing ball. I wish I had learned as a kid!

      • So we aren’t following any real “technique” besides whatever I make up as meditating 🙂 She brought it up right before bed one night and I was like…Okay, let’s meditate. So we usually just turn off the lights and sit quietly with our eyes close and just simply pay attention to our breathing. Last time we had candles. Oh la la 🙂 I bet your daughter will learn something in her class. Grace did one after school last year, and I know breathing exercises was part of it.

  6. I should delete a few apps too! Or at least stop them from giving me notifications. This is a great post and I think we should all have a list of our self-care ideas to go to when we need some reprieve. My favorite way to really find solace is to step outside, no matter the weather, take a deep breath and really smell the air. I feel the air, sometimes the breeze, on my skin, and then listen for the birds and sounds of the trees. It’s hard to not feel better after that.

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