over 60 tools to distract, relax and help you cope...
Follow along with a breathing meditation to help you calm down or center your thinking.
We hold stress and anxiety in our bodies. Movement can reduce stress chemicals and increase feel-good chemicals in our body. It can also make our brain’s “fight or flight” system less reactive in the future.
Coloring is a great way to calm and distract yourself. Empty your mind of worries as you focus on your picture.
Don't have any coloring books or markers at home? That's ok! You can color and do art activities online.
Virtual Reality Hot Air Balloon
Click on this Hallmark video and watch through Youtube. (Turn down your volume- it beeps loudly at first.) Listen to the music quietly while you virtually soar through the air. Use the arrows in the top left corner to look up/down or left/right.
15 Min Physical Activity
Sometimes, the best way to distract ourselves and re-set is to get moving and sweat. Let your emotions come out through your body. Try to spend 15 to 20 minutes on physical activity.
Use this meditation to let go of future worries and stay in the now.
Yoga for Uncertain Times
There are several FREE yoga videos in this series.
Try this one for loneliness.
Use items that you have at home to make fidgets or sensory items.
10 Minute Meditation
Find a quiet place. Turn your volume down so that you can listen quietly.
Reflexology is a traditional medicine used to improve health through pressure point massage. Give it a try- even if you do not believe in the science, the massage will feel great!
Create a Calm Space
Create a calm down space for each person in your home.
Click here to see a "fort" that Jacinta Moss created for her son. She hung a blanket and added calming activities. He loves it! (Jacinta is Co-Chair of our Family Service Committee.)
Scents & Emotions
Think about how a lemon smells...or cookies just out of the oven or freshly mowed grass. How does it make you feel? Certain scents can help us feel calm or happy. Give it a try with some items that you have at home!
This technique works for kids AND adults! It can hep reduce anxiety and stress.
Regular hugs work too! Spend some time snuggling a pet or getting/giving a hug to your family or friends.
Fidgets are another great way to calm down, relax, or distract yourself from stress. Turn down your volume and then try this virtual fidget spinner. The more you spin, you can unlock new fidget spinners.
Marika Reese was RCCMHC's Family Engagement Director in 2019. She returns here to share some ideas about resilience and how to practice mindfulness & deep breathing.
Many people have a tradition of sacred drumming in their culture. Drumming can be used to celebrate but it can also be use to soothe or to heal. Drum along and think about your heartbeat and the rhythm of your breath.
Blowing bubbles or blowing on a pinwheel can help us to slow down our breathing and our heart rate so that our bodies feel more calm. Download this FREE app for a virtual pinwheel. Then, blow on your cellphone and watch it spin!
Sometimes just watching a video of fluffy puppies is enough to give your mood a boost.
A very slow and peaceful movement exercise to practice awareness and focus breathing. Helpful to reduce stress and anxiety
Self-Compassion and mindfullness. Setting the mood for self-care. Watercolor and reflective writing.
Real-life fairies! Relax to these nighttime sounds and twinkling firefly lights.
Laughter is the best medicine!
Sometimes we don't feel like laughing. But science shows us that even when we pretend to laugh, chemicals are released in our bodies that can reduce pain and stress.
Unplug and spend some time in nature... bird song, the crunching of pine needles underfoot, the fresh smells of trees and flowers, and a gentle breeze... aaah.
Have a Warm Drink
Sometimes it feels nice to hold a warm cup in our hands. Use a recipe from this video or snuggle up with your favorite warm beverage. Stay away from caffeine if possible. Try cocoa, cider, warm milk or herbal tea.
Rocking can improve mood, reduce pain, relieve stress, and help with sleep. A rocking chair is the best... but you can also try rocking yourself in a seated position or while lying on your side.
Try Hot or Cold
Try both of these to see what works best for you. (You might be suprised.) Some people like to use a heat pack or warm bath/shower. Other people might like to splash cool water on their face or hold an ice pack or cold bag of peas to the back of the neck.
Try Hand Mudras
Yoga mudras are an ancient practice. Some people use yoga hand gestures as they meditate or focus their intentions. It can be a nice distraction to practice and hold these different hand shapes.
Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets and lap pads can help with anxiety, sleep etc. But they tend to be expensive. Try making your own with a stuffed animal! Add rice, beans, poly pellets or other heavy material.
Is social distancing driving you crazy? Do you miss being around other people in a crowded cafe or restaraunt? Play this video for some background noise or close your eyes and escape into your imagination.
Get a Change of Scenery
When you need to calm down or if you are feeling stuck... try changing your scenery. Go to a different room, change the lighting, add music, open a window etc. If possible, you might even go for a drive or visit a friend/family member.
Feel Better with Shaving Cream
Shaving cream is an inexpensive sensory item that can help you relax. Squish it, draw in it with your finger, or use it to make marbled paper! After your paper dries, add your favorite inspirational quote.
Be Kind to Yourself
This meditation is good for kids and adults and can be done from a chair. May I be Happy-- May I be Healthy-- May I be Safe-- May My Life Be Filled With Joy.
Turn off Fight/Flight/Freeze
Try Alternate Nostril Breathing to help stimulate parasympathetic nervous system activity. This can reduce anxiety and negative stress reactions in your body.
What foods bring you comfort? Watch this video for some ideas.
Do you need food or supplies for your family? Text us at 1-800-565-2575 and we will help!
Relax Muscles to Sleep or Nap
Do your muscles feel tight? Do you have trouble falling asleep? Try this simple visualization to soothe the mind and relax the body.
Your Happy Place
If you feel like you need to escape for awhile, take a vacation in your mind. Search Youtube for the word "ambiance." Visit a tropical island, a cozy cabin, an ancient library, a winter cottage, a seaside market, the Shire, Hogwarts and more!
Shake It Off
Try this whole-body technique to literally shake off stress and worries. This video is shared by local youth through the Irreducuble Grace Foundation.
Strength, Courage and Wisdom
If you need a reminder that you have whatever it takes to make it- to adapt- it's been inside of you along. Listen quietly or turn it up!
This can work with any food you have at home. Engage all your senses and pay full attention to what you are eating. This is a good distraction and can also help you feel calm.
You can use a stuffed animal or anything that can sit comfortably on your stomach while you practice this mindful breathing exercise. Hint: try this at night to help you fall asleep.
Use your eyes to turn off your stress response. TRY THIS: Look at a large area of your room or look outside. Relax your eyes to see above, below, and to the sides of you-- but keep your head still. This will tell your brain to let go of your body's hyper-vigilance and arousal to help you feel calm. Learn more about how to use your eyes to help your mental health.
Looking at images of nature can help our brains to relax and de-stress. This gets harder to do in winter. How can you bring nature indoors? Try hanging a nature photo, growing a plant, or watching a nature video.
Indoor Plants & Gardens
Indoor plants have been shown to help our moods. This Pothos plant is inexpensive, and it can survive under or over watering. It can even live in the dark! No Pothos plant? That's ok! You can also grow plants from vegetable scraps!
Try to give all of your attention to the fish tank in this video. What do you notice? How many fish can you count? Can you find the black fish? Turn up your volume to hear the bubbles and hum of the tank.
Feel Calm & Sigh
Need a quick way to "re-set" your nervous system back to CALM? Try this easy trick. It starts with two breaths in and then one long sigh.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
When we are stressed-out, our muscles tighten up. Sometimes we have so much stress in our bodies that we don't even notice how tight our muscles have gotten! This video will help!
Practice a New Skill
Our brains are not good at doing two things at the same time. So if you want to change how you are feeling, give your brain something else to think about! Visit this webiste of Extreme Indoor Activities to distract yourself and learn a new skill.
1-Min Relaxed Breathing
This is an easy breathing exercise to try. Just do what the fish does! It only takes one minute.
Mind & Body Workout
Try this in the morning or any time you want to feel more alert, balanced, and ready to try new things.
Some people like a steady humming sound (like a fan) to help them relax.
Relax with Bob Ross
Bob Ross was a painter on TV in the 80's. He is known for his gentle voice and happy spirit. Bob will help you remember to "just relax and let it flow." Watch the paint turn into an actual picture and remember that sometimes we need to take a step back to see a different perspective on our lives.
Be a Rainbow
Helping others can decrease stress and increase feelings of happiness. Be a listening ear, say a kind word, help with a chore, share a skill or volunteer. Try this: do 1 extra kind action every day for 7 days and then see how you feel.
Take a virtual kayak trip and listen to the sounds of water and nature.
Live in the moment with this calming exercise. Look around and think of 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
Hopes, Dreams & Plans
Listen to a song that makes you feel hopeful. If the present moment doesn't feel good, make some plans. What could you look forward to this week? This month? In a few years?
Check out this page just for YOUTH!
Visit our family page to find crisis & mental health resources, local services, cultural connections, circles of support, and more.
If you are looking for more resources, try our Community Bulletin Board You will find mental health and calming resources, basic needs support etc.