72 Five Minute Stress Relief Ideas

  1. Cuddle your pet
  2. Do 20 star jumps
  3. Drink warm milo
  4. Walk around your house
  5. Smell your favourite perfume
  6. Stretch as high as you can
  7. Try to touch your toes
  8. Sing
  9. Dance to an upbeat song
  10. Be silly
  11. Look at a photo of a happy time
  12. Have a shower
  13. Have a snack
  14. Draw something simple & silly
  15. Go outside
  16. Listen to the birds
  17. BREATHE slowly & deeply
  18. Play an instrument
  19. Talk to a friend
  20. Scream
  21. Fake laugh for two minutes
  22. Laugh at something funny
  23. Watch baby animals on youtube*
  24. Moisturise your skin
  25. Wash your face
  26. Pray
  27. Talk to your siblings
  28. Do something nice for someone
  29. Send someone a text saying you appreciate them*
  30. Pretend you’re 5 years old
  31. Cry
  32. Shake your body
  33. Draw every noise you hear
  34. Listen to upbeat music and try not to move
  35. Skip
  36. Roll your shoulders and your head
  37. Write a list of all the things you are looking forward to
  38. Write a list of all the things you can do to relieve stress
  39. Change your clothes into something more comfy
  40. Watch a K-Pop video and try to copy the dance moves*
  41. Visualise your life after the thing causing you stress is over
  42. Write a letter to yourself
  43. Meditate
  44. Remind yourself about times you have gotten through stress before
  45. Take control of unhelpful thoughts – rationalise panic
  46. Tell yourself you can do this
  47. Organise your workspace*
  48. Try to think of a vegetable for every letter of the alphabet
  49. Do nothing*
  50. Write a poem
  51. Write down all your thoughts and worries
  52. Brush your hair
  53. Brush your pet
  54. Rock yourself gently
  55. Ask your parents/siblings for a hug
  56. Smell the flowers in your garden
  57. Take a break
  58. Write a list of your strengths (what would your best friend say about you)
  59. Do 20 sit ups / press ups
  60. Make a list of everything you have to do, PRIORITISE them and put together a schedule
  61. Try to balance on one leg
  62. Do a handstand against a wall
  63. Identify the source of stress & problem solve it if you can – ask is this worth stressing over?
  64. Make a song up as you go along about being stressed
  65. Write out motivational quotes*
  66. Make fun of this list
  67. Do some calligraphy
  68. Close your eyes and listen to your breathing – try to slow it down as much as possible
  69. Blow bubbles
  70. Blow up balloons & whack them around your bedroom
  71. Lie on the floor and tense then relax all your muscles
  72. Ask for help…

*has the potential to send you into a procrastination spiral so stay away from if you cannot trust yourself.

Originally written for The Wallflower Project.

Do what you did when you were 10…

I recently read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchin Rubin and there’s a few things that have stuck with me from that book. Firstly – “the days are long but the years are short” meaning stop, look around or the world may pass you by (I think this really should be credited to Feris Bueller), secondly “happiness comes from growth” and thirdly if you’re looking for something to do to increase your happiness levels think back to what you liked to do when you were 10.

May crept up on me really quickly and I hadn’t really thought about what my May challenge was going to be. I flirted with learning French. Cookery. Blogging. Making videos (I even made one). But although I want to do more of all of these, I just didn’t feel like it right now. Then another truism from the Happiness Project crept in… “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”… voila – my friend has been dragging me to a fitness class on Sundays & today i discovered the art studio next door… And bought myself a calligraphy set. I already have a random assortment of stuff waiting to be used – I bought a sketchpad in Sabah Christmas 2016 which has been left untouched. A pencil case full of felt tip pens thrown into the cupboard. I’ve even got a book on how to do whimsical lettering I bought over a year ago… the time is clearly now. May is also mental health awareness month so doing something incredibly mindful & for no other reason than enjoyment seems to be the way to go. So here is my first attempt at hand-lettering- a quote from the Wizard of Oz. It’s clumsy as owt but I hope with a little practise to get better. Here’s to trying!

Making a calm down glitter jar

Today I’ve been making calm down glitter jars with some of my students. These are great for anxiety because mindfully watching the swirls of glitter can help bring you back into the present moment. Anxiety lives in the past or the future. People generally worry about things that have happened or things that are going to happen. This little jar can help stop those thoughts, even just for a couple of minutes.
What do I need?

  1. a water-tight jar
  2. Clear multi-purpose glue (liquid)
  3. Hot water
  4. Food colouring
  5. Glitter

and if you are anything like me, paper to scoop up any spilled glitter!


How do I make one?

  1. Fill your jar to around 80% with hot water (I use it straight out of our water dispenser so its pretty near boiling – it has to be hot enough to melt the glue)
  2. Add a touch of food colouring – the more you add the darker it becomes. As this forms your overall colour make sure you are happy with it.
  3. Add glitter. There needs to be enough to swirl around but don’t overload it at this point – you can add more later if needed.
  4. Stir in the glue to fill the rest of the jar. Keep stirring until the glue has dissolved into the water.
  5. Put the top on (ensure it is secure) then tip and shake it gently. If the glitter falls to the bottom of the jar too quickly you need more glue. Add extra glitter if you need to.
  6. Leave to cool.
  7. Optional: super glue the lid on if you are giving this to younger children as I can imagine them tipping it out all over your carpet won’t be much fun.

Ideas for its use

  • Shake and watch the patterns as the glitter moves around
  • Count the number of glitter flecks you can see
  • How many colours of glitter can you see in the jar
  • Watch how the glitter floats and hangs in the air, imagine yourself doing the same
  • Shake the jar and breathe slowly and deeply while watching the glitter slowly fall to the bottom

Here’s a video if you need it:

How to make a Glitter Jar

See you soon.

Peter Pan Homesickness

Its that time of year again. People are selling up their belongings. Students are leaving to go on study leave. Both saying goodbye to friends and looking on post July to new postings, new jobs, university, new friends, new lives…

And us? The stayers are left in limbo watching the chaos around us. The frantic selling of toasters, of cars, of the remnants of lives. My house is populated with clothing that will never fit, a sewing machine I will never use, lettered ice cube trays, half bottles of cleaning sprays, jewellrey, bags, reclining chairs, kitchen appliances, books, towels, a lamp… items that didn’t make the transition with their owners. Owners, friends, who are scattered across the globe. Owners who used to fill my home with noise and laughter now leave inanimate objects in their place.

And we say “see you soon, yeah?” And we mean we look forward to seeing your posts on Facebook. Seeing the sanitised version of your messy new life. Cue photos of new friends in new places; laughing and smiling to ease the transition. To ease the homesickness for a place that no longer exists.

Leaving sucks but staying without you is harder.

The Poetry Slam: Challenge 1. Jan 2018.

I can feel my breathing getting shallower and quicker. I’m nervous. I never get nervous. Six teachers, well five teachers and me – the only female – are sat on stage in front of maybe 200 students and staff… well maybe 100 but the lecture theatre seems full. No one comes with a banner for me like they do for Mr DJ Hanks to my right. No one chants my name loudly in support like they do for Mr Sargent the PE teacher. But I get silent smiles and silently mouthed “go miss!” – which comes with the territory of school counsellor. My heart warms. I’m supposed to be second up and my name isn’t called, DJ Hanks is up instead. My nerves worsen. He has TWO poems. One that is quite serious and the other, a brilliantly funny shout-out to all his amazing students. I’m cursing myself for thinking no-one would take this seriously.

What if I forget my lines? You’ve practised this loads and your poem is on the floor

What if my legs give way and I fall over? You’ll be fine, your legs are fine

Why did I write something so cynical? Cos you’re a woman and a counsellor – they will be expecting fluffy

Why can’t you ever write anything warm and positive?! Hahahahahaha

Ah no, they’re calling my name… Deep breaths, deep breaths, you’ll be great…

I walk up to the mic – I should’ve taken it off the stand and walked with it. But I left it there. I feel exposed. My poem is on the floor. I open my mouth…

What is this voice?! Where is the confident, angry voice I rehearsed with?! What is this overly emotional, pleading, sounds like she is going to cry voice?! And why do I feel like I am going to cry?? It’s okay, it’s okay. Don’t cry, don’t cry. Dramatic pause after each line. Deep breath, regain your composure. Look at friendly faces in the crowd! Ms Thacker is over there and is smiling and nodding. Focus!!

I end without tears and have never been so glad to sit back down in my life. The host thanks me for “a particularly emotional performance”. I chuckle. I vow to never do this again.

I come third.

Maybe I will.