Health

15 genius products people swear by for stress relief

Need to unwind or relax? Let these be your guide.

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar / Gravity

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If you haven’t heard of the “Sunday scaries,” it’s a term given to that feeling of pre-Monday trepidation before the work or school week starts up again. No matter who you are or what your daily routine looks like, it’s natural to feel angsty, at least in manageable bouts (if it feels unmanageable, consulting a doctor is the best practice). For days like Sundays—or, say, a particularly rough Wednesday—when your uneasiness feels acute, these products may help you refocus your attention, settle down, and recharge to face any challenge life throws you.

1. A weighted blanket for cuddling up

Gravity Blanket
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

Cozy up with the Gravity Blanket to calm yourself down or fall asleep.

Weighted blankets are much more than a faddish trend—they actually work. Laying the heavier-than-most blanket over your body mimics the feeling of receiving a hug or being held and, in turn, may calm the nervous system. These blankets can help you unwind and fall asleep easier and they come in a variety of sizes, weights, and colors to suit your bed or couch. Consider our favorite, the Gravity Blanket, which we love for its high-quality feel and washable cover, or our Best Value pick from YnM, a great option on a budget.

2. An adult coloring book that redirects your focus

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book
Credit: Johanna Basford

Pick up your favorite markers and spend time with the Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book.

If you’re someone who likes to channel stress into creativity, this coloring book is for you. The popular Secret Garden book has dozens of floral designs ranging from simplistic to extremely detailed. When you want to distract your mind, grab a set of drawing pens and get lost in the pages.

3. An oil diffuser for creating a calming atmosphere

InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Create a soothing atmosphere with the InnoGear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser.

Oil diffusers are not cure-alls, but aromatherapy is thought to help improve physical and emotional health. Our favorite oil diffuser from InnoGear is easy to use and can run continuously for up to nine hours. To experiment with different scents, snag a multipack of essential oils, like this one from Artnaturals, which includes lavender, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree, frankincense, sweet orange, lemongrass, and eucalyptus.

4. A kit that teaches you a soothing craft

We Are Knitters
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Learn the craft of knitting with a kit from We Are Knitters.

It’s no mystery that crafting projects have a calming effect. Needlecrafts especially offer an artistic outlet as well as a rhythmic movement pattern, and they result in the creation of something beautiful you can treasure and be proud of. If you’ve never tried one, we suggest learning to knit, crochet, or do needlepoint with kits from We Are Knitters. You can choose from dozens of stylish hats, scarves, sweaters, and more, filtering among four skill levels. Next time you’re stressed, plop down with your kit, which includes all the materials you need and instructions.

Shop We Are Knitters kits here

5. A yoga mat for stretching and meditating

Lululemon Reversible Mat 5mm
Credit: Reviewed / Bethany Kwoka

Plop down on the Lululemon Reversible Mat 5mm when you want to stretch out.

Sometimes the best remedy for an anxious mind is to get your body moving with yoga or stretching. For a worthy workout surface, or for a place to sit still as you meditate, we suggest our favorite yoga mat, the Lululemon Reversible Mat. Our tester says the 5mm mat is soft enough to be comfortable on your hands, feet, and knees but firm enough to keep you supported.

Get the Reversible Mat 5mm at Lululemon for $78

6. Epsom salts for relaxing in the tub

Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt
Credit: Dr. Teal’s

Upgrade your bath with Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt.

There’s something simply satisfying about turning an everyday task like bathing into a moment of self-care. When you feel tense, draw a bath and add the Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salts, which are scented with lavender and claim to ease aches and pains while soothing your mind and body.

Get the Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt on Amazon for $4.87

7. A set of fidget toys for restless hands

Sensory Fidget Toys Set
Credit: Small Fish

Keep your restless hands busy with the Small Fish Sensory Fidget Toys Set.

If bouts of nervousness tend to occur during times when you’re supposed to sit still, like in a meeting or during your commute, a fidget toy may help. This variety pack comes with 22 sensory toys, like mesh balls, stretchy strings, a Rubik's-like cube, and more. Keep one in your bag, at your desk, by your bed, or anywhere else you’d want to reach for it.

Get the Small Fish Sensory Fidget Toys Set on Amazon for $17.55

8. A journal that prompts thoughtful responses

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration
Credit: Meera Lee Patel

Take the pressure away from journaling with the Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration.

It’s well known that writing down your feelings can help you make sense of them and provide emotional release. But diaries—or rather, the pressure of the blank pages—can bring about unintended stress. The “Start Where You Are” journal includes inspirational quotes, writing prompts, list-making templates, and spaces for drawing that make it feel fun and low-pressure. There’s no need to write every day or to map out what you want to say—just start where you are today.

Get the Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration on Amazon for $11.19

9. A reusable drawing board designed to for doodling

Buddha Board
Credit: Buddha Board

Practice the art of letting go with the Buddha Board.

If you’ve never used a Buddha Board, you’re missing out. The concept is simple: Dip the bamboo brush into the tray of water and draw on the “canvas.” Your creation will appear in dark “ink” but will soon evaporate, making the slate blank again. You won’t end up with a final refrigerator-ready creation, but the company says watching your painting slowly disappear can help you “practice the art of letting go.”

Get the Original Buddha Board on Amazon for $34.95

10. A tea that helps you prepare for bed

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea
Credit: Celestial Seasonings

Relax with a hot cup of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea.

Never underestimate the power of a good cup of tea. It’s not a panacea for all the ill in the world, but sipping on a warm, fragrant drink is a pleasantry that can lift your mood and help you find calm. The popular Sleepytime tea from Celestial Seasonings is caffeine-free and has flavors of chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, tilia flowers, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn, and rosebuds.

Get the Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea on Amazon for $13.44

11. A face mask that alleviates headaches and cools the skin

PerfeCore
Credit: PerfeCore

Chill out with the PerfeCore Facial Mask when you feel overheated or achy.

If anxiousness causes you headaches and the sensation that you’re overheating, a cooling mask may be the chillout you need. Store the PerfeCore Facial Mask in the freezer to keep the gel beads on ice and pull it out when you want instant relief from tension-related headaches and skin flushing.

Get the PerfeCore Facial Mask on Amazon for $17.99

12. A book of word searches to distract your mind

Brain Games
Credit: Brain Games

Distract your mind with the Brain Games: Everyday Mindfulness Word Search book.

A fun mental challenge can help alleviate negativity and give you a clear objective to focus your mind on. This Brain Games book features 84 word search puzzles on a variety of themes that’ll keep you engaged even when you’re stressing. Whether you’re commuting, on a lunch break, or at home after a long day, crack open the book for a quick sleuth session.

Get the Brain Games: Everyday Mindfulness Word Search on Amazon for $7.98

13. An app for guided meditation

Headspace
Credit: Headspace

Practice guided meditation with the Headspace app.

Meditation is a helpful skill to learn if you often experience racing thoughts or restlessness. Not sure where to start? The Headspace app offers a library of themed courses, daily meditations, sleep sounds, and bedtime exercises to get you into the practice—and it's free to try.

14. A back massager to work out any kinks

Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
Credit: Zyllion

Work out the uncomfortable kinks in your back with the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager.

If daily life causes your muscles to clench and knot, you’ll love the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager. The plug-in pillow heats up and uses deep kneading rollers to dissolve tension. Plant the pillow in a chair or on the floor behind your back or neck and get ready to zen out.

Get the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager on Amazon for $49.95

15. A jigsaw puzzle for a hands-on activity

Ravensburger
Credit: Ravensburger

Work on a jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger any time you need to relax.

The best thing about a puzzle is that it makes you feel like you’re being productive and making progress on something, while finding joy as you add each individual piece. Plus, you can make it as short- or long-term of a project as you want—as long as you start it on an otherwise seldom-used table or use a portable surface specifically for the hobby. Snag a jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger, which offers an enormous variety of vibrant, scenic puzzles with a wide range of pieces, to work on whenever you want to loosen up.

Shop Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles on Amazon

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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