Did you know that there’s an entire subreddit dedicated to the act of eating oranges in the shower? r/ShowerOrange calls it an “enlightenment of the soul.” Basically, you take a nice, hot shower and tear into an orange—the water just washes the juice and stickiness away. Sounds… weird, of course, but users swear that it’s so relaxing and enjoyable that it changed their lives. So it got me thinking. What are other “unusual” ways to manage stress that fly under the radar?
Let’s go beyond a good walk or a quick meditation session. I asked female entrepreneurs for the creative, uncommon or downright weird ways they lower their workday stress. From hula-hooping to body hacks and virtual reality to aerial arts—let’s dive in!
Flip things on their head
Alli Hill, Founder & Director, FreelanceSpeak:
I’m a huge fan of inversion therapy. I installed a yoga trapeze in my home office and I hang upside down at least once every day. Being a frequent sitter, inversions help to decompress my spine and stretch my back. It feels amazing! It also takes a good bit of focus, so it helps me to clear my mind and stop thinking about work, clients, deadlines and anything else that stresses me. When the pressure is on, just hang upside down and look at the world from a different perspective (literally).
Develop kitchen inventions
MaryAnne Hoekstra, CEO, Gastronotherapy:
I de-stress by making different types of chocolate bark with fun flavor combinations, like “pecan-coconut,” “peanuts and smoked salt,” or “pistachios and dried cherries.” It relaxes me and takes me out of my anxious head!
Find a change of scenery
Roz Miller-Choice, The Expert Maker:
My work as a personal branding strategist, speaker and TV host is often overwhelming. When my stress level is off-the-charts, I do one of the following:
1) Book myself into an area convent. At my favorite convent, the nuns have taken a vow of silence. My accommodations are very minimal. There’s a bed, desk, desk chair and lamp. Meals are included. No one is talking, including me. The peace and quiet restore me.
2) Drive through the countryside. There’s something about rolling hills and farmland or passing through small main streets with simple general stores that makes me relax.
3) Visit a garden center. Looking at blooming plants reminds me that flowers bloom without effort. It’s a quick reminder that I need to chill out and stop working so hard.
Time to play on!
Dr. Amanda Holdsworth, CEO, Holdsworth Communications:
I’m a female entrepreneur and I’ve finally found my perfect street reducer: LEGO sets!
My girls have always loved LEGO Friends sets, but it wasn’t until we were in Demark at a science museum with a LEGO exhibit where we were challenged to build a sustainable product out of LEGOs that I fell in love with creating them myself. I spent more than an hour fiddling with trying to bring my imagination to life. A few days later, at a LEGO store in Copenhagen, I saw some incredible kits that I later ordered for myself. I recently built a retro typewriter out of LEGOS and am now working on a miniature Vespa kit.
My husband said he has NEVER seen me sit still for so long unless I’m working. I literally feel the stress melt away as I follow the directions along.
The power of movement
Isa Gautschi, CEO, M.Isa Messaging:
I’ve taken up rollerskating and pole dancing for stress reduction. There’s nothing quite like zooming around on wheels or twirling high up on a pole to unstick your mind from work anxiety and force you to be present and connected to your body. It’s also nice to have the reminder that even when you fall on your ass, you can still have a blast. You can do hard things. You can learn and do better next time.
Plus, you can impress people with your bruises because they’re marks of your daringness! Double plus, confidence is attractive AF. People wanna be your friend and work with you just to be around that vibe.
Engage your pressure points
Elisa Bender, Co-Founder, RevenueGeeks:
As weird as it may sound, I always massage my ears and sometimes even the back of my neck to lower work stress. Your earlobes have specific reflex points that help you feel relaxed. This technique is extremely effective in helping me calm down in only a matter of minutes. It makes the blood flow to my head, making me feel more alert and calmer.
What’s more, is that it also releases natural endorphins, which elevate my mood and make me feel happier. I also get to focus more on the work at hand and amp up my productivity rates. Although this method is very unconventional, it’s worked wonders in helping me relax and decompress from work stress.
Pick up the hula hoop
Cara Palmer, Founder:
When it comes to destressing from work, I like to get outside and move. Walking is a great way to clear my head and develop new ideas, but sometimes I need something more high-energy to blow off steam.
That’s why one of my favorite stress-relief activities is hula hooping. It may seem childish, but there’s something about the rhythmic movement and the challenge of keeping the hoop up that helps me to focus and let go of all the stresses of the day. Plus, it’s a great workout!
When I’m feeling especially stressed, I’ll add in some fun tricks like spinning around inside the hoop.
It takes my mind off work, but it also reminds me of how much fun I can have when I’m not bogged down by stress.
Dive into a new reality
Orleatha Smith, Co-Founder, Sip Herbals:
I work from home and bought an Oculus VR to use during my afternoon break. Virtual boxing is the perfect destresser! I end up working up a sweat in just 15 minutes and feel a million times lighter and more energized to take on the rest of my day.
The power of sensory hacks
Alice Li, Owner & CEO, First Day:
I believe that nowadays, everyone feels stressed and anxious from time to time due to the constant workload and the looming deadlines that need to be met at all costs. But nothing compares to the frenzy you feel daily if you own and operate your own business. As a small business owner, you’re always trying to do so many jobs by yourself. The stress level from this can be mind-boggling.
Whenever I find myself in this situation, my number one stress reduction strategy is watching ASMR videos. It might sound like a guilty pleasure, but there’s some scientific proof that ASMR helps in de-stressing and relaxing.
If you’re not familiar—ASMR means the tingling sensation you get on your scalp which moves down your neck when you find something soothing.
ASMR helps me destress because I’m actually able to experience this tingling sensation when I watch those videos. They’re calming and soothing and help me forget whatever I am worried about in that instant. This lets me get back and try solving the problem I’m facing with clarity and improved focus.
Infinite possibilities to make and create
Sherri Arnaiz, President & Creative Director, Sherri Arnaiz Digital Creative <|> Marketing:
I’m a fundamental maker and builder (and maybe a compulsive one), so to relax, I love to work with my hands and tangible materials. It helps counter the heavy technical side of my day job.
About five or six years ago, I learned about the concept of makerspaces, but had never joined one. I was lucky enough to find one here in Tucson, and my mind has just exploded with creativity. Wow! I wish I hadn’t waited.
There are so many interesting people making fascinating and beautiful things. It’s the opposite of peaceful because my mind is completely and totally sucked into all the possibilities of this place.
I’ve worked for myself for over 20 years, so I have all kinds of conventional ways to destress—but this has been a revelation! Who knew injecting my creative side with steroids would bring me so much on so many levels?
Here are my exploits with the laser cutter!
Bring relaxation and pleasure to daily routines
Dr. Rose Schlaff, DPT, WHC, IF, Pelvic Physical Therapist and Pleasure Coach, Be Well with Rose, LLC:
After spending the last six years helping women and queer leaders overcome work stress so they can experience more pleasure in and out of the bedroom, I’ve seen that courageously reclaiming pleasure on a daily basis is the key to health, wealth and happiness.
For me, that looks like keeping a playlist of songs I like to dance to and a playlist of songs I like to sing to. Music is a powerful de-stressor for me. I also find there’s no better way to shift into a different headspace than grabbing my favorite vibrator and erotic novel—sex is great at lowering stress, solo or partnered!
Many of my clients, however, find it’s difficult to jump from work mode to sexy mode, so I recommend creating a ritual to shift the energy. This means changing into comfortable clothes, washing your face, taking a bath, making a cup of tea, diffusing your favorite essential oil or lighting a candle get all help signal to your brain that the workday is done.
If you’re partnered, you can also decompress together by practicing eye gazing, synchronized breathing or even hugging one another for at least three deep breaths.
Enjoy a circus act
Christy Summers, Founder, Daytime Hero:
My favorite way to unwind and lower my stress is by getting in the air. What do I mean by that? Pole and aerial arts. Think circus… but at a level that’s attainable to those of us who don’t have our whole lives to invest in the discipline.
If I need an exceptional butt-kicking workout, I’ll focus on conditioning or power tricks. If I need to feel inspired or creative, I turn to choreography and dance to whatever style of music fits my mood. And if I need general movement but I’m feeling drab, I focus on flexibility and recovery techniques.
My favorite apparatus is Pole, followed by Aerial Straps. Both are great workouts that don’t feel like workouts. Taking a class or training on my own not only boosts my endorphins for reduced stress but also tones my body, helping me build muscle for long-term health.
An extra bonus: I also teach pole and flexibility. Teaching is amazingly rewarding and a huge stress reducer as I’m invested in someone else’s personal journey. I can cheer them on while they learn something new and challenge themselves both mentally and physically.
De-stress with… stressful content?
Nina Joanna, Productivity Expert & Founder, Goals Calling:
I like to watch stressful documentaries to de-stress. It may sound twisted, but watching documentaries about student loan debt or unemployment reminds me of the fact that life is full of challenges and you can survive even the direst situations. Besides, seeing someone with bigger problems than yours really puts things into perspective.
Follow the biofeedback
Mari Tautimes, Entrepreneur, Author and Keynote Speaker, Mari Tautimes, Inc:
When I’m stressed, I do one of three things (or all three, depending on how much I need help):
1) Peloton ride: I love aggressive workouts to “work it out”—whatever the “it” is. It makes me feel empowered, it puts my body in a better “chemical” state and it makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself and accomplishing something. Because of the music and inspiring instructors, I also feel like I’m dancing and receiving therapy at the same time.
2) HeartMath Institute: I have a monitor that I attach to my ear that tracks my coherence. Coherence is how well my heart connects to my brain. When we’re super stressed, we tend to live in our brain, we take shallow breaths and we are limited in our physical capacity to be creative and receptive. I know it sounds “woo-wooish,” but it’s been a powerful technique for calming down, realizing what’s possible and appreciating all of the good in my life.
3) Mood Meter App: It’s an app that helps me articulate how I’m feeling and asks the question about whether I want to stay there. From there, it helps me figure out how to move into a better place emotionally. It’s a great app to have on the journey to emotional mastery.
If you need even more content on how to relax, browse our resource hub of stress-reducing strategies.