Stress-relief items: Is there a way to calm down that doesn’t involve exercising?

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Is there a way to calm down that doesn’t involve exercising?


I sometimes feel stressed and anxious but don’t always have the time or energy to exercise or meditate. Are there other ways to calm myself that don’t involve medication, alcohol or watching TV?

Our answer

It’s great that you are committed to taking care of your mental well-being in healthy ways. Here are some products that are designed to help relieve stress and anxiety:

A sensory kit – sometimes called a safety kit, motivation kit or serenity kit – is a personalized kit of tactile or sentimental items designed to elicit feelings of comfort and relaxation in times of difficulty. Sensory Kits, on the OT-Innovations website, describes what a sensory kit is and how to create an effective one. Here are a few commercial examples of sensory kits that may interest you:

  • Infinity Cube Fidget Toy from Asmallfish (at Amazon Canada) is a fidget toy designed to relieve users’ feelings of stress or anxiety by having them focus on the complex movements of the cube in their hands. This item costs about $14 (CDN), plus additional shipping fees.
  • Scholar’s Choice is a Canadian company that sells small items to be chewed on to relieve feelings of distress, including wearable necklaces and wristbands. These products start at $10 (CDN), plus additional shipping fees.
  • Scalp Massager (at Amazon Canada) is a small handheld tool that gently massages the scalp – designed to relieve stress through a relaxing, self-imposed head massage. This device costs about $10 (CDN), plus additional shipping fees if ordered online.
  • For those who don’t have the strength or dexterity to use a scalp massager, there are many electronic massagers on the market, such as the HealthmateForever Massage Pillow (at Amazon Canada), which costs about $30 (CDN), plus additional shipping fees if ordered online. Be advised that heated massagers may not be suitable for individuals using medications that affect skin sensitivity or those with conditions with sensory impairment or nerve damage. It is recommended you consult a registered healthcare provider before purchasing a heated device.

Each sensory kit is different, but if you are looking for tactile items to incorporate into your own kit, The Ultimate List of Sensory Products for Adults, on the Harkla website, has an extensive list that may help.

Another option that you may want to explore are weighted blankets, which are made to alleviate feelings of depression, anxiety and insomnia through an effect called “grounding” or “earthing.” HealthLine’s article, Why You Should Use a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety, outlines some additional benefits of a weighted blanket. Some weighted blanket retailers include Hush, Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond and range in price from about $150 to $670 (CDN), plus additional shipping fees. HealthLine’s article, which says a weighted blanket should be about 5 per cent to 10 per cent of your body weight, suggests speaking with a healthcare professional before purchasing a blanket.

To learn more about the benefits of grounding, the article “About Grounding” from Groundology provides research that supports the effects of grounding. The website also provides additional product ideas that you may want to explore.

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