Techniques to calm down when going through stressful times

April 3, 2023

First of all, I’m not an expert in these things, but I’m happy to share the techniques that helped me when going through difficult times. As some of you know my father died in 2018. It has been a really hard time as this was very unexpected and caused a lot of trauma I need to work through.

I think the following things help as well when going through a lot of stress and rough times. Trauma and tough times can happen to anyone and it is sometimes part of life.

Location change – Meditation and long walks

I was happy to be soon able to travel to New Zealand. The new location helped me to get away from work for a while and to spent my days with long walks and meditation. I was lucky to live by the beach and having an office that offered a life changing meditation during the morning hours in the office. The meditation was kind of a hypnosis. It was not easy for me to take part in it, but people offered me to not talk to me and leaving me alone while I was dealing with the trauma.

Make space for Grief

Sometimes it might take a few days or weeks until you have some time to grief. For me it took me about 6weeks to have enough time and space to go through the grief. Just before it was just like going through a tunnel and just surviving daily life but once I landed in New Zealand I was allowing myself to go through the trauma and allowing all the feeling. I new that otherwise the feelings would to me at some point anyway. Shira Gill, the author of “minimalista” had the same advice in the recent post about grief.

Body scan

Another pretty good meditation technique is doing a body scan. I learnt about it in the German podcast “Beste Freundinnen”. You lay down or make yourself comfy in any other way and go in your mind through your body. From head to feet to feel where then tension is and to connect with your body. It takes just a few minutes. For me this works pretty good just after waking up or when going to bed.

Loose clothes

It helped me to wear loose clothes to take this part of tension away from my body. Many years ago I started wearing clothes out of natural materials like cotton or bamboo. Love it. Soo much better that artificial materials.

Do you have a favourite drink?

My calming down thing is tea with soy milk. Love it so much. Whenever I’m having a tea I do enjoy a few minutes me-time. For you it could be a yummy self-made lemonade or any other hot or cold drink.

Being surrounded by water

Our body consists of more than 50% water. So water is such an important element for us. Personally I love long showers whenever I’m stressed. It is probably the thing that helps me most and makes me relaxed within a few minutes. For other people it could be having a bath or going for a swim. Many female friends all over the world were recommending as well toughing their body and especially gently toughing their breast while in the shower to relax. It might sound weird and not appropriate over here, but well, just give it a try.

Talk with friends & surround yourself with “good people”

This one took me a few months. In the first weeks I was not able to talk to anyone. But I was so happy to be surrounded by many great people. I remember a bus driver really caring about me the day after the police came over to tell me about the thing that happened. My body was still so stressed and I was full of tears but he was just checking on me, even when I was not able to talk. Another person was this New Zealand policemen who was really taking so much care when my car stopped on the middle of the highway and I was still having so much trauma in me plus having to deal with the upcoming situation. He must have been well trained in mental health. There is so many that are just there for you. Sometimes it is close people and sometimes they are just some strangers. During these times you realise who your truly real friends are. A big thank you as well to Sarah at this point.

Don’t stress yourself with unnecessary things.

Honestly, going to some sports club etc might be pretty good, but sometimes too many classes and having no time to yourself can cause as well a lot of stress. So you might skip these classes to make some time to yourself and keep it simple. A nap or a walk might be better for you than some extra appointment.

Reading a book, a magazine etc.

For me I do love reading magazines. Could do that all day long. Do what makes you calm down. Some drawing, doing pottery etc.

Pursed lip technique

This technique is used to make you focus on your breathing and helps you to get calm. I think quite often we use it automatically in stressful situations: Inhale and then gently move your lips like blowing out a candle and breathe out all of the air gently through pursed lips.

Furthermore you might know what helps you best. Do what feels good and don’t hesitate seeking for help. I myself found the existing mental health support hotlines really good. They exists in most countries, are free and anonymous. Make sure to get some help.

All the best.



Photo: Namicreative