Sense & Centsibility Blog
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6 cheap or free ways to reduce stress

Everyone deals with stress at some point in our lives. Stress can be brought on by health issues, our jobs, money, relationships, and everything in between. Even though we can't always prevent stress, there are free and cheap coping mechanisms to help reduce stress.

Listen to Music

Music is a great way to forget about life for a little while. Take a drive and crank up the volume or just find a relaxing spot in your house. Try to just focus on the songs...and singing along works great, too.

Get a Massage

Make an appointment when you don't have other commitments or find a place that takes walks-ins if you want to go right away. While there's a cost associated, it doesn't always have to be super expensive. Some malls offer chair massages or find a place that offers 30 minute massages. You'll reap the benefits even if it isn't an hour or more.

DogChill With Your Pets

Our pets can calm us down just by being in the same room or by petting them. If you're up for it (and the weather cooperates), play with them outside in your yard, take dogs to the dog park, or take them for a walk.

Get Any Kind of Exercise

Although this option may be the least popular for some, exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. It doesn't have to be a huge time commitment either. Take a 15 minute break at work and go for a walk or do a few different exercises before or after work, like jumping jacks, lunges, or sit ups as a few examples.


This might sound like something you would never do, but it is worth trying because you can do it almost anywhere and it doesn't cost a thing. You can also meditate for short or long periods of time. Just google simple meditation techniques to find the right one for you...there are even apps for that.

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep is really important to our health and lack of sleep can make stress worse. The best way to get good sleep is to create a nightly routine and stick to it. Choose a bedtime that allows you to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Then, do whatever you can to make sure that the light, TV, phone, etc. is off by your bedtime. Have some herbal tea (Sleepytime tea is my favorite!) a couple hours before bed, read, take a bath, stretch, etc. Determine what works best for you to relax and try to stick with that routine.

Read a Book

Use your eBook reader of choice, get a book from the library, or swap books with friends. Try to set aside a little bit of time daily to read. Take a break at work, get up a little early and read with your morning coffee, or read right before bed if that helps you to decompress. I find that I fall asleep more easily and sleep better when I read before bed.

Use some or all of these techniques or find your own. Regardless what you choose to do, practicing stress reduction should help you be both physically and mentally healthier.

If your finances are causing you stress, call LSS at 888.577.2227 for your free budget counseling session. Your counselor will work with you to create a realistic spending plan and action plan with steps to take to achieve your financial goals. Don't want to call? Click here to GET STARTED with your online session.

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling