April is Stress Awareness Month, and many of us are indeed well aware of how stressed we feel. According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America 2023 survey, nearly one in four (24%) adults say their stress is between eight and 10 on a 10-point scale. That’s up from about one in five (19%) in 2019, before the pandemic.

While some stress is normal and good, too much stress can have consequences on physical and mental health, contributing to anxiety, depression, muscle tension and pain, high blood pressure, sleep problems, memory impairment and more, according to APA. That’s why it’s important to find activities that help you relieve stress. Of course, everyone is different, so while some common “relaxation” activities, like yoga and meditation, may lift tension for one person, they may not appeal, or be feasible, to others. With that in mind, we’ve created a wide-ranging list of 30 low-stress activities to try out during Stress Awareness Month. We challenge you to try out one activity every day in April (they’re quick!). Hopefully, by May, you’ll find at least one or more endeavors you enjoy, and maybe you’ll even feel a little calmer.

Day 1: Breathe deep. Pause for a moment and fill your lungs with air. Now, breathe deeper. Deeper. Deeper. How does that feel? According to Harvard Medical School, deep breathing can help slow your heartbeat and stabilize your blood pressure. It also allows you to focus on your breath, itself, which can help soothe the mind.  

Day 2. Listen to music. Play your favorite artist and lose yourself in the tunes. Sing along at the top of your lungs for added tension relief. 

Day 3. Smell the flowers. Take a walk outside and notice the world around you. Inhale the scent of the flowers, grass and trees. Does your head feel a little clearer?  

Day 4. Stretch. Whether your work entails standing all day on your feet or sitting in a chair, odds are you’ve got some tension points. Stretching can help boost your blood flow and relieve some of that muscle tightness. Here are some stretches from The American Institute of Stress to get you started.

Day 5. Organize your space. Get rid of the clutter in your home and office and you may also find that having a tidy space helps declutter your mind.

Day 6. Get artsy. Grab a pencil or paintbrush and some paper and let your creativity flow! The mere act of drawing and coloring can have a meditative effect for some people.

Day 7. Meditate. Meditating can be a great way to relax, too. If you’re not sure where to start, try downloading an app for beginners or checking out some videos online.

Day 8. Write it down. Some people find that when they write about their worries, it helps them process those concerns.

Day 9. Phone a friend. Talk things out with someone who knows you well. Venting can be therapeutic.

Day 10. Laugh. Watch a comedy, read some jokes, reminisce with friends and family. Laughter soothes tension and helps you relax.  

Day 11. Prep (and eat) healthy snacks. When you make healthy choices, you may feel better about yourself and have more energy. Stock your fridge and pantry with nutritious options to grab and go when cravings arise.

Day 12. Relish a few quiet moments. Find a dim, peaceful space and clear your head.

Day 13. Say thank you to someone in your life. Send a text or email letting someone know what they mean to you. Gratitude feels good for the giver, as well as the recipient.

Day 14. Make a donation. Clean out your closets or pantry and give your excess to someone in need.

Day 15.  Count your blessings. Think of three things you’re grateful for, right now.

Day 16. Make time for things that matter. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to prioritize the activities you value most, whether that entails attending religious services, spending time with family, working out or anything else makes you feel like yourself.

Day 17. Get up to date on your health needs. Medical issues can weigh on you. Make sure you’re being proactive and addressing any health concerns, including staying on top of screenings and vaccinations.

Day 18. Get enough sleep. It can feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. But don’t sacrifice sleep. When you’re well rested, you can be more productive, and sleep may boost your mood.

Day 19. Savor sobriety. Alcohol may seem like a relaxant, but in excess, it can exacerbate stress and mental health issues. If you drink, do so in moderation (that means one drink or less for women daily and two or less for men). Also, commit to a certain number of days each week that will be booze-free.

Day 20. Volunteer. Find ways to help a meaningful organization. Volunteering can broaden your perspective and remind you of what matters.  

Day 21. Move your body. Physical activity relieves stress. It can also boost your mood and improve sleep. Pick an activity you love and get moving.

Day 22. Try yoga. Speaking of moving your body, have you given yoga a try? If you’re a beginner, watch a video or download an app, and see what you think.

Day 23. Take a mental health day. If you have the ability to do so, take a day off. Spend time doing something you enjoy—or doing nothing at all.

Day 24. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself at least as nicely as you treat friends and even strangers. If you notice that you’re getting down on yourself, shift your thinking to be more positive.

Day 25. Ask for help. If you’re carrying a heavy load, consider how you can delegate some of the tasks that are adding to your stress. Could you hire someone to help, or cash in a favor with a friend? 

Day 26. Take a break from social media and screen time. A digital detox can offer some much-needed calm.  

Day 27. Say “no.” Establishing boundaries can feel incredibly empowering.

Day 28. Head to the nearest forest, park or garden. Research shows that nature can be a balm for mental health.

Day 29. Accept that you do not and cannot control everything. But you can control the way you respond to things.

Day 30. Talk to a professional. If you find you’re still having a hard time coping with stress, consider talking to a professional. A counselor or therapist can serve as a good sounding board and can share tips and techniques for stress management.