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Using stress relief products can help relieve the everyday challenges of life. Some may even make it easier to live with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns.
However, stress relief products are not a suitable substitute for proper mental healthcare. They may be an essential part of self-care, but if a person has concerns about a mental health condition, it is important to seek professional help.
Some stress relief products are ideal for use at home, while others may be better for use at work.
This article will look at 11 types of stress relief product a person can try. It will also discuss when a person should see a doctor if stress is becoming unmanageable.
According to one study, making lifestyle changes could improve mental health — and one of the most effective changes a person can make is to focus more on self-care.
Focusing on self-care may help a person feel more in control and better able to cope with a wide range of challenges.
Some stress relief products may be useful in a working environment. These include:
Fidget spinners are a popular occupational therapy tool to ease anxiety. They are especially beneficial for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and anxiety disorders.
That said, parents and caregivers should exercise caution when letting their children take fidget spinners to school. One 2020 study found that children performed worse in a 5-minute math test when they had access to a fidget spinner. However, the researchers note that if children take more tests with fidget spinners, this negative effect on test performance may decrease.
People interested in using fidget spinners should weigh the risks and benefits, then assess how well these items work in their own lives.
Some may find significant relief, while others may find that the devices are a distraction from important tasks.
Some fidget spinners include puzzles, such as the D-FantiX cube. Meanwhile, the SCIONE fidget spinner is a regular shaped fidget spinner with stainless steel ball bearings.
- The D-FantiX cube fidget spinner is available for purchase online here.
- The SCIONE fidget spinner is available for purchase online here.
Noise canceling headphones
Ambient noise can be very stressful, even when a person does not consciously notice the sounds. For example, the sounds of a busy office, traffic, and screaming children can all distract a person and make it more difficult to get a moment of peace.
Noise canceling headphones can fade out these sounds, so a person will be able to enjoy a quieter environment or the music of their choice.
Depending on a person’s needs, some headphones — such as those available in the Bose line of products — come with built-in Alexa control, as well as noise canceling technology.
Blue light-blocking glasses
Devices such as smartphones and laptops emit blue light, which can strain the eyes.
According to a study in the International Journal of Endocrinology, blue light may also disrupt a person’s natural circadian rhythms, affecting sleep and causing levels of the stress hormone cortisol to rise.
Some glasses block blue light without affecting vision. A person can wear these while working on their laptop or other device.
Like regular glasses, blue light-blocking glasses have many frame styles. Some are more delicate (such as the SOJOS cat eyeglasses), whereas others (such as the Gamma Ray glasses) have a chunkier frame.
People also have plenty of product options for relieving stress at home. For example, a person can try:
Weighted blankets provide gentle pressure, offering a cozy, cocoon-like setting where a person can sleep or relax. Once, healthcare professionals primarily recommended them for use by autistic children.
A number of studies suggest that weighted blankets can help calm autism-related anxiety. One 2014 study found that autistic children and their parents preferred using weighted blankets at bedtime.
Weighted blankets may also support adult mental health. A 2020 review found that these products can help ease anxiety in certain settings.
These products are available in many different fabrics and varieties. Chenille blankets, for example, are soft and fluffy, whereas fleece may help a person stay warm on a cold night.
The weight of the blanket also varies. People with more body weight need heavier blankets. Most guidelines recommend using a blanket that is about 10% of the person’s body weight.
Some blankets allow for customization. For example, when a person orders the SensaCalm blanket, they can have a monogram sewn into it.
Another feature of some blankets, such as the Layla blanket, is that they require no covering and are washable as they are.
- The Layla weighted blanket is available for purchase online here.
- The SensaCalm weighted blanket is available for purchase online here.
Note: Never place a weighted blanket on a baby under 1 year old.
Evidence suggesting that aromatherapy eases stress is very limited.
For example, one 2014 systematic review found some evidence for the stress-relieving benefits of aromatherapy, but all of the studies presented a high risk of bias.
People who choose aromatherapy may find that certain aromas, such as lavender, help ease their anxiety. Others may prefer combinations of fragrances or scents that trigger fond memories.
The InnoGear diffuser is easy to clean and set up, which makes it useful for experimenting with different fragrances.
Note: People should be aware of who else in their environment is inhaling essential oils. Some are not safe for pets, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or children.
Massage can help a person feel more relaxed. It may also help ease muscle pain and tension.
Passive massage devices allow a person to get a massage while working, reading, or relaxing.
Some devices may focus on certain areas, such as the neck and shoulders, while others may focus on the entire back.
- The Naipo shiatsu back and neck massager is available for purchase online here.
- The FIVE S FS8812 vibration massage seat cushion is available for purchase online here.
Adult coloring books
Adult coloring books may offer a form of meditative creativity that relieves stress. Preliminary studies suggest that they may also relieve some symptoms of depression and anxiety.
There is no “right” way to color. People should select designs that they find soothing.
Coloring books that are challenging enough to keep the mind engaged but easy enough to prevent stress and frustration are a good option.
Adult coloring books are available in many designs and themes, with some focusing on Disney illustrations and others featuring intricate nature designs.
- The Disney Dreams collection coloring book is available for purchase online here.
- The Color & Frame coloring book is available for purchase online here.
Sun lamps offer natural UV light exposure when a person cannot go outside or does not want to.
According to the Nation Institute of Mental Health, light therapy can be especially helpful for those with seasonal affective disorder. This is a seasonal form of depression that many doctors believe happens due to reduced exposure to natural light.
Some sun lamps can be free-standing, while others are small enough to fit on a desk.
- The free-standing Baltoro sun light is available for purchase online here.
- The Miroco light therapy desk lamp is available for purchase online here.
Some people find that journaling improves their memory for daily events, helps them develop solutions to problems, or offers an outlet for their emotions.
Try committing to just 15 minutes of journaling per day. Alternatively, try using a gratitude journal to log the day’s positive developments.
Keeping track of to-do lists, deadlines, obligations, and bills can be exhausting. However, a person can clear space in the brain for other things by planning each day in advance.
No single planning style works for everyone, so consider a versatile system that allows creativity.
A traveler’s notebook makes it easy to add a page that is double spread, while the Filofax notebook has a ring binder mechanism for individual pages.
- A traveler’s notebook is available for purchase online here.
- The Filofax notebook is available for purchase online here.
A gel mask can help a person relax for a meditation session.
Put the mask in the freezer for a cooling sensation that eases tension and facial swelling. Alternatively, warm it up for a gentle, soothing feeling on the face.
Self-care strategies are important, but they are not a suitable substitute for professional help.
Mental health issues are very real but very treatable. A person should see a mental health professional if:
- They have symptoms of depression, anxiety, trauma, or compulsive behaviors, and those symptoms do not improve with self-care.
- They have thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
- A child experiences a traumatic event or shows symptoms of depression or anxiety.
- Mental health medications cause significant side effects or do not offer relief.
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can call 800-799-4889.
Self-care is an important part of a person’s mental health treatment, but it is not a replacement for professional help.
People need access to a wide range of mental health services and should seek additional support if their stress feels overwhelming or if stress relief products do not work.