4 Budget-Friendly Finds That Help Tame Stress

I’m anxiously watching the weather, hoping my county will call off school for Wednesday. Not because I really care about a day off (especially because we just switch to an online platform for classes), but because we had almost the exact same not-too-threatening forecast two years ago. When I ended up being one of the lucky ones who made it home after “only” a three hour drive capped off with a three mile walk when the roads came to an icy standstill.

Luckily, I’ve stumbled across a few things that have helped me cope with stress this school year. They’re all accessible to small budgets, small spaces and small nibbles of time.

Aromatherapy – Smell Good, Feel Good

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A middle school classroom can develop a certain eau de funk, especially when the kids have PE before my class. And after 14 years of living with it, I decided buy this essential oil diffuser for only $25.99. I did quite a bit of research on the oils. I knew that I wanted lots of variety, which took the more exclusive oils out of my price range. I settled on this set, which has a mix of blends and pure oils.

And I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. In fact, I bought a second diffuser for our bedroom just a couple weeks after the original buy.  I also added a purchase of a Breathe blend from the same company when I felt the first sniffles of the new school year start to move in.

And, I know correlation does not indicate causation, but I have only been sick once this year (and that illness happened when I was out of town and away from the essential oils). I usually play host to at least 3 colds/sinus infections by this point. And even if that’s a happy coincidence, the oils really do help lower my stress (and I even see a difference in my students!).

Coloring Books – Color Me Calm

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Yes, this is a trend. But it’s a trend for a reason. I’ve always used coloring in my classroom to soothe the students when they’re especially stressed (like after a day of standardized testing or when a tragedy strikes close to home). And it works for adults too. When you color, there are no rights or wrongs. Nothing is critical. No decision merits too much thought. It takes you out of your thinky space and into a place of intuition and impulse.

You can find the books almost everywhere now – craft stores, book stores and online. They come in all kinds of designs and most come in at around $10. And trust me, with those intricate designs, that $10 will go a long way!

Do Yoga With Me – Tame the Tension

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I used to subscribe to YogaGlo, which provided amazing quality searchable yoga classes for $18 a month. And then my card expired and with it, my subscription. Instead of updating my card information, I decided to search other options.

And I’m glad I did. DoYogaWithMe is a similar interface as YogaGlo for the low, low price of free! It doesn’t have quite the quality or selection as the other, but it also feels fairly new and seems to be growing. You can choose a class based on style, difficulty and duration. And if you don’t like a class, you don’t have to stick it out or embarrass yourself by walking out early:)  I’d call that low-stress!

Houseplants – Outdoors In

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Kind of like the aromatherapy, I have no idea what took me so long to do this. I had to give up on indoor plants when I got my cat, almost 20 years ago. She’s been gone 10 months now, and I just realized that I could bring back the houseplants.

Finding pots that work for the indoors and are also budget-friendly (cheap) and time-friendly (easy to find) is no easy task. I settled on this line of self-watering (and no leaking!) pots from Fiskars. I found mine at Lowe’s and Home Depot for a lower price than Amazon.

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I’ve kept some this cool blue color and I’ve spray painted others white to serve as herb planters on this plant shelf Brock built for me out of a piece of exterior trim board. It’s too cold to buy the herbs right now, so I’m filling the shelf with blooms from our Camellia bush (yes, in stemless plastic wine glasses because I’m just suave like that!).

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In addition to the plants for the shelf, I scattered them around the house. No pictures yet, because I bought the silliest, smallest plants knowing that they will soon grow into their pots. I love coming in to a home filled with green and growth and life.

So what things do you love that help you relax? Please share!

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6 thoughts on “4 Budget-Friendly Finds That Help Tame Stress

  1. Thanks for the yoga link – I’m on it! I also do the colouring – so calming, and bought oil diffusers for everyone else for Christmas and now realize my mistake (I need one too). The only other thing I would add is that I listen to books on tape (audible.com). There’s still something comforting about having a story read to you.

  2. I’ve been thinking about this post since I read it yesterday. I had forgotten about how much smell affects me, and it was a good reminder to make sure I address that again. I actually think smell is part of why cleaning is so important for me. The smell of the cleaners and of clean laundry makes me as happy as having a clean space. The act of cleaning is also a nice way to de-stress sometimes.
    Music is another way to deal with stress. I have XM radio in my car (just a few bucks a month), and my cable company offers music channels. I take advantage of having some music playing whenever the house feels too quiet.
    Regular exercise is an important part of keeping my stress down. I do have a gym membership, but sometimes I go for a hike instead. Being in nature is another great way to deal with stress.
    Keeping up friendships is another important way to deal with stress.
    Animals help sooth my stress also. Not just my cats, but the birds that I draw in with a bird feeder, and the squirrels that I feed. Both the cats and I enjoy watching them.
    Plants lower my stress as well. I have found ways to have both cats and plants. A few plants are outside, but I also have houseplants. One plant hangs, the rest are on bookshelves where the cats do not go. So far, there haven’t been any catastrophes. I am planning on hanging more plants.
    Hot baths are one of my favorite ways to de-stress. I take one most nights.

  3. Mindful meditation – it works for me! There are low costs books/CD’s that one can purchase and I’m sure there are resources online. I went to some classes, which did cost a bit, but were worth the money. I also find that going for a walk in the sun always calms me and lifts my mood. Even when it is 35 degrees, I’ll just put on my winter coat, hat, earmuffs, and gloves and walk for about 30 minutes.

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