East River running pathMe and stress, we don't get along so well. When I'm stressed, I shut things out. I act differently. I'm not the same happy-go-lucky Emily that I like to be. Tell me you know the feeling? Is there nothing you'd rather do when you're stressed than say, "Screw you, stress! GET OUT OF MY LIFE!"?

Whether you're a stressed out gym-goer or someone who bakes to breathe, everyone has their own way of managing stress when times get tough. Sometimes, though, it isn't so clear-cut.

Which is why you're in luck, because I have 5 great places you can go to de-stress, right now, for absolutely free! Starting with your bedroom, and no, not for the reason you might think.

1. The bedroom: No, I'm not telling you to head to your bedroom for a quick shag session with your sweetie. I'm actually suggesting going in there to do a full clean. Cleaning and organizing something enables you to put your thoughts on the task at hand instead of your problems while being productive. I'm sure that windowsill has needed a dusting for months now.

2. Your car: Crank up the music, get in the car, and drive without a destination. This is one of the best places to just be yourself. Who cares if the person in the lane next to you is judging you?

3. A book store: Allow yourself to get lost in someone else's world for a while. Big or small, head on over to a local book store and put your nose in a good book for hours. Just the other day I did this for three hours and finished an entire read cover-to-cover. Best Sunday afternoon I've had in a while.

4. The open road: Running. This is my personal release. When I'm stressed, my favorite thing is to just head out onto the streets for a run without a set path in mind. I love allowing my impulses and the direction of traffic guide me for an hour or however long I choose to run. Plus, running means working out. Like the cleaning scenario, it's a win-win.

5. The kitchen: Following directions for an hour to bake something delicious is the easiest way for you to forget all of your problems. Measuring an even half cup of flour is much less taxing than fretting over what to wear to your girlfriend's bridal shower tomorrow.

Where do you go to de-stress? Do you have any tips?

 

Image via Emily Abbate