arm in yellow sweater reaching out into sunset

You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup: 3 Easy Ways to Relieve Stress + Anxiety

This time last year you might have rolled your eyes at all the ‘self-care’ buzz- maybe even brushed it off as just marketing hype. But wellness trends tend to catch-on for a reason.

And here we… are mid-2020 holding onto our precious self-care routines for dear life.

The importance of taking care of you mind + body can’t be emphasized enough… especially during stressful times.

Below are three easy ways to relieve stress and anxiety so you can be at your best- for yourself, and for the people who love and need you the most.

Grab Your Favorite Book

Nothing helps get my mind off of a stressful situation like a good book. It’s literally transcendental- the perfect way to disconnect from the real world and plug into a different one for a short time.

I compiled a short (and by no means comprehensive) list of some of the best books I’ve read that have helped me destress and relieve some anxiety:

  • Where the Crawdad’s Sing | Delia Owens 
  • Then She Was Gone | Lisa Jewell
  • The Girls in the Garden | Lisa Jewell
  • Into the Water | Paula Hawkins
  • All the Light We Cannot See | Anthony Doerr
  • Everything I Never Told You | Celeste Ng
  • The Vanishing Half | Brit Bennett
  • Such a Fun Age | Kiley Reid
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing | Jesmyn Ward
  • Little Panic | Amanda Stern 
  • Devotions | Mary Oliver
  • A Walk in the Woods | Bill Bryson
  • The Alchemist | Paulo Coelho
  • Trick Mirror | Jia Tolentino
  • American Dirt | Jeanine Cummins
  • A Visit From the Goon Squad | Jennifer Egan
  • The Tiger’s Wife | Téa Obreht
  • Renegades | Marissa Meyer

Laugh it off

It’s true what they say; laughter is the best medicine.

Science even tells us that laughter can:

  • Stimulate your organs. Laughter can enhance your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles, and increase the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A good laugh can fire up and then cool down your stress response, and can increase (and then decrease) your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety.

If you’re looking for a mood boost, turn on a Netflix comedy special, scan the comedy channels on Spotify or even call someone who makes you laugh- you’re guaranteed to feel better in no time. 🙂

Give Yourself an At-Home Facial

When we’re stressed, we tend to hold that tension in our face- particularly in the jaw and eyebrows. Eventually this tension can create patterns- leading to pain and possibly even sagging, wrinkling skin.

You may already know this, but facials feel good– and not only that, but there are actually studies that prove how facials can reduce stress and anxiety and make you feel better all around.

If you’re stressed or anxious, it might be time to crank up your self-care routine and add “at home facials” to your wellness toolkit.

Here are some of my favorite (thorough) articles on all-things at-home facials:

How to Give Yourself a Spa-Level Facial at Home

How To Give Yourself A Facial At Home

The Best Products for Giving Yourself a Facial at Home

How to Give Yourself a Relaxing At-Home Facial

How to Mimic Your Professional Facial at Home

How To Give Yourself A Rejuvenating Spa-Quality Facial

Also, I’ve listed a few at-home facial must-haves below- but you can always simplify if you’re tight on time or resources.


Diffuse either uplifting or calming essential oils (whatever you’re needing to feel in the moment, support your mind + mood with the appropriate aroma!). Try vetiver or lavender to relax your nervous system or lemongrass, bergamot or jasmine to lift your spirits.

You can also burn a candle made with essential oils (remember to alwayssss avoid artificial fragrances!) or light an incense to set the mood.


Treat yourself to a tall glass of water, and infuse it with something fresh for the ultimate spa experience. Some of my favorite infused water blends are orange + rosemary, lime + mint, strawberry + basil, or cucumber + lime. 

You could also brew a hot cup of (non-caffeinated!) herbal tea to promote healthy skin as well as reduce stress and anxiety (like we covered above).


Personally, music is one of my most-essential relaxation tools. For some people that may be classical music (not my cup of tea) or it may be something more upbeat. Whatever you prefer, get some tunes going to set the mood and get you in the best mental headspace for relaxation.

One of my favorite sounds is the crackling of a fire (I use the Asana Rebel app for their sounds) or you can easily search your favorite music app for spa-like playlists to help create the most relaxing atmosphere possible.

Do you have a go-to stress relief activity that works wonders for your mental health? Share it with us below!

For more mental health tips check out our Mental Health board on Pinterest- and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!


  1. Alyson Parris

    I love all the tips you have here! Reading and unplugging from screen is definitely one thing that helps me reset my mind. I also recommend ‘One to Watch’ by Kate Stayman-London – it’s fun and easy to read. I have All the Light We Cannot see on my ‘to read soon’ list!


    1. veronica

      Thanks so much, Alyson! Unplugging from tech is *so* important- that’s a great tip 🙂 I’m adding that book to my Amazon cart right now!! You’re going to love “All the Light We Cannot See”- promise!


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