De-Stress Series: 10 Easy Ways to Help Find the Calm You Need by Emma-Louise

Woman at desk who needs to De-Stress

Daily stress and overwhelm is a problem for many people. Stress impacts both our physical and mental health, reduces our ability to think clearly, impacts our relationships and much more. Having many different approaches to reduce and minimise stress gives us options no matter what the situation.

So, here are 10 Easy Ways to Help Your Clients (and You!) Find The Calm You Need:

Share these in a workshop, coaching session or as homework ideas.

1) Plan to get to all your appointments and commitments 15 minutes early

When we plan to get somewhere early, we are really allowing time for unforeseen problems and interruptions along the way. This means that if you get caught in traffic or held-up you'll still be on-time.

And if you do actually manage to get somewhere early—fantastic, you get some YOU time. Read your novel, meditate, review your To-Do list, make those phone-calls or simply relax for a moment and enjoy the view.

Far from 'wasting time', when you get somewhere early you get essential 'alone' time to recharge your batteries—or deal with a couple of minor tasks while you wait.

2) Connect to your observer/wisest self

Two great questions to ask to connect to our observer and wise selves are, "What would ________ (insert your name here) do now?" and "If I were an expert in time management (or the area of your stress), what would I recommend to myself right now?"

Use this technique to create some distance from the self that's whizzing around or feeling pressured and create your own wise 'observer'.

3) SLOW wayyy down!

Many routine tasks COULD be more enjoyable if only we weren't trying so hard to get them out of the way.

For example, when I rush cooking a meal it feels like a chore, but when I allow plenty of time and relax into it, it becomes a pleasure. This could apply to many routine tasks like emptying the dishwasher, walking the dog, even washing the dishes.

When we stop seeing the activity as something to be completed or hurried through to get to the next thing, it gets easier and less stressful. Washing the dishes can become quality time with a loved one, or taking the trash out can become an opportunity to look at the stars or listen to birdsong!

Enjoy where you are... When you slow down, you honour yourself and the present moment. You'll have more fun in your life—and this helps you handle stress more positively and easily.

4) Loosen your grip

We hold on tight when we don't trust that things will work out. Think of your busy life as a slippery eel, the tighter you try to grip it, the more likely it is to shoot out of your hands. Plus there's a risk that you might kill your eel!

There is a peace that comes when we can let go.  Check out this Letting Go Coaching Exercise >>

Controlling is tiring. And trying to stay on top of everything is exhausting. Focus on your absolute priorities, let go of the rest. See what happens.

5) Take the helicopter view

Imagine you're in a helicopter, flying along and looking down at your life. What do you see from up there that could help you find clarity and calm?

Or try starting at ground level. Take off and keep zooming out, gradually getting further and further away, getting more and more perspective on your life. What do you notice?

You can also discuss this with a friend, meditate on it or write in your journal.

Perspective is an incredibly valuable tool. When we step back, we see possibilities, connections and we get to see valuable breathing space around our lives too...

6) Switch off the technology

At home? Switch off the computer, TV, radio, smartphone, home phone ringer, maybe even your wifi!
In the office? Switch off social media, music, email, any programs you're not using, your cellphone and desk-phone ringer if you can—anything EXCEPT the one thing you are working on.

Removing distractions allows the mind to settle without all the extra added stimuli. You may be surprised at the peace you feel just knowing that nothing CAN disturb you, until you want it to...

7) Have a whine (yes that's whine, not wine!)

Sometimes a good whine or whinge allows us to get that negativity and stress out of our system.

Keep it brief (5-10 minutes maximum) and you'll want a listener who can nod and sympathise without trying to fix you (a coach would be ideal!).

Let the person you've chosen know you just need to complain, whinge and be unreasonable and most importantly—feel heard without judgement, suggestions, comments or advice. And then go for it. Once you're finished, if you can, share something you're grateful for OR identify a silver lining. This isn't to negate what you've said or pretend the problem isn't there, but to create a 'state-change' from complaining back to daily life again.

Complaining has such a negative reputation—especially in the personal development world, but denying what we feel just means we bottle it up. So, find someone safe to vent to and consciously let it out. Remember that a problem shared is a problem halved...

8) Get Cleaning!

If you're stressed and not being productive, take time out to do some cleaning.

  • In the office? Clean your desk, file papers, dust the monitor, sanitise your phone!
  • At home? Do some housework - whether it's the dishes, cleaning the front of your kitchen cabinets, organizing the garage or dusting your bedroom.

Not only are you getting distance from your stress and allowing your mind to settle, but you're doing something useful too!

9) Catch it early!

Learn to recognize the valuable signals your body sends you.

Do you know what your 'signs of stress' are? For example, one of my top stress signals is that I start swearing.

Early warning signal examples could range from grumpiness, jaw or neck tension, sinking feelings, sweating, a dry or tight throat, reaching for the chocolate or snacks, feeling frustrated or helpless to jiggling your legs or drumming your fingers.

To learn more about the signs of stress, check out our first ever and possibly most popular infographic: The Effects of Stress & Warning Signs >>

Get to know your unique stress signs—then you can take a break or use one of these other techniques before your stress escalates.

10) Have (or plan to have) a good laugh!

Over and over it's been proven that laughter is good for us. In fact even anticipating a laugh can kick-off positive changes in our bodies and reduce stress hormones.

So watch a funny movie (I love Monty Python!), head out to the comedy club or open-mike night, phone a friend who makes you laugh, check out your favourite Youtube video or take your dog to the park with his favourite toy.

Life Balance and Self-Care Tools, Forms, Exercises, Templates in a Folder

Life Balance & Self-Care Toolkit

What makes YOU laugh out loud?

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Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

Image of Stressed Woman at Desk with Laptop by Creativa Images via Shutterstock


  1. Lalitha

    Very thoughtful and informative article!

    "Take a Helicopter view" and "Have a Whine seemed" is interesting and I haven't thought about it. Very well presented.

    Coming to your question..

    What makes YOU laugh out loud?

    Watching comedy shows and especially the old ones like "Bill Cosby", "Seinfield"


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