• Nineteen Magazine

18 Ways To Relax Without A Screen

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

It's 2020 and almost everyone's favorite way to relax is with a screen in front of their face. Unfortunately, though, studies have shown that the blue light from your phone, tablet, or laptop actually keeps your brain active making it a less than ideal way to wind down, especially before bed. If you're in the habit of falling asleep while scrolling through Instagram or find that YouTube is not really helping you destress, we recommend trying out these 18 ways to relax without a screen. All of which are guaranteed to refresh your body, mind, and soul.

Take A Bath

Ok, so showers are fun, but baths are the way to go if you're really looking for a way to kick back. Not only does the warm water help relax your muscles, having some time to just be truly alone is good for you. If you want to take things up a notch, add some bubbles, a bath bomb, or Epsom salt. Candles and the folklore album are also recommended.

Color A Picture

Adult coloring books have been trending for the last five years or so and by the looks of it, they aren't going anywhere soon. Anyone who has spent some time letting their mind wander while enjoying a coloring page or two will tell you that is a very therapeutic experience. You might be thinking that this isn't for you because you lack art skills, but think again! As long as you can pick up a marker, pen, crayon, or colored pencil, you can do this. Most coloring books on the market are way simpler than the one pictured above. Some of our favorites are The Bob Ross Coloring Book and The 1990s Coloring Book: All That And A Box Of Crayons (Psych! Crayons Not Included.)

Go For A Stroll/ Run/ Hike/ Bike Ride

Did you know that when you exercise your body releases chemicals that make you feel good? The expression 'runner's high' is completely true. Plus, getting outside for a little extra Vitamin D and fresh air will make you feel like a new person.

Bake Some Cookies

For some people, baking can be stressful, but for others, it can be a great way to relax. Truthfully most adults should be able to follow a simple cookie recipe without much difficulty, and there isn't really any way to mess it up unless you go rogue. Baking is a good way to feel productive and the act of creating something you or others might enjoy can actually boost self-esteem. The best part, of course, is enjoying your fresh-out-of-the-oven treat with a cup of coffee once it's done!

Write In A Journal

This might seem like a totally dorky idea, but unless you try it you won't be able to know if you love it or not. Writing a daily, weekly, or even monthly journal entry can help you get your thoughts out and understand how you are feeling. If you are not feeling up to the task of recording the ups and downs of your life just yet, then consider some of these other ideas to fill your journal:

Write down your favorite quotes

Try writing a poem

Write down the lyrics to your favorite song in cursive

Make a list of things you're grateful for

Make a bucket list


Read A Book/ Magazine

Reading is the best way to escape this world momentarily. If you let your imagination run wild with a good book, you will find yourself forgetting your troubles quickly. And don't feel bad if you are reading the Fault In Our Stars of The Hunger Games for the millionth time, if it helps relax, then go for it!

Magazines can be relaxing to read as well with one caveat. Make sure that if you are reading a magazine you are reading it because it makes you feel good about yourself. Lots of people often compare their bodies, their clothing, their careers, their relationships, or their homes to those portrayed in magazines. If you find yourself playing the comparison game, drop the magazine and get yourself a copy of The Notebook.

Give Yourself A Mani/Pedi

Lots of people express how they enjoy painting their nails, but the mani/pedi experience doesn't have to stop there. Invest in a foot bath, pumice stone, and some of your favorite Bath & Body Works lotion to up your at-home spa treatment.

Play A Musical Instrument

Most people will agree that music can have a great effect on a person's mood. If you know how to play a musical instrument, try playing some of the most peaceful songs in your repertoire and see if it helps bring down your stress level. If you don't know how to play a musical instrument, we would highly recommend investing in a starter keyboard, guitar, or ukulele. The repetitive motion of your hands on the keys or strings has been shown to help will relaxation. Additionally, developing a hobby will let you have something to look forward to after work and can boost self-esteem.

Look Through An Old Photo Album

Reminiscing over some of your favorite memories is a great way to develop gratitude for the blessings you've experienced in your life and take you back to a time when everything seemed a little less complicated. It can also help you look at your life from a big picture perspective. Look at your life through a wider lens, will let you see the little worries of today for what they really are- little worries.

Play A Board Game or Card Game

Who said that board games had to be boring? We think that they can be a great way to connect with others and have some lighthearted fun. Board games can also help bring back some much-needed nostalgia.

Try Knitting

Knitting is not just from old ladies. Lots of young people are beginning to try it as a mental health coping mechanism. The rhythmic and repetitive motion of knitting can help you feel more relaxed and you might be able to make some awesome baby booties for that baby shower coming up.

Reorganize A Drawer Or Closet

I think we can all admit that when a space that was once extremely disorganized and messy gets put in order, it leaves us feeling very satisfied. Not everyone enjoys cleaning and organizing, but it can help people feel more relaxed because they will have a neat and tidy space to live in.

Go Swimming

Swimming is another aerobic activity that will make your body release those 'feel good' chemicals we talked about earlier. If you are not such a strong swimmer or if you are feeling a bit lazy, grab your favorite floatie, and just catch some rays.

Do Yoga

We strongly encourage everyone to take at least one yoga class in their life. Yoga exercises will help stretch those muscles you normally don't use and release that tension you've been carrying around in your back and shoulders. An extra benefit of practicing yoga is that with daily repetition you can increase your strength, balance, and flexibility.

Play Your Favorite CD

As we previously mentioned, music can greatly affect mood. If you're feeling down, reach for that old Up All Night CD you've been meaning to get rid of and dance like no one is watching.

Cloud Watch

Cloud watching is probably the most cliche activity on the list, yet it is truly calming. There is not too much to explain with this one. Find a sunny spot under the blue sky, layout your favorite beach towel, and let your imagination go crazy.

Look For Wildlife

There's a reason why pet therapy is so popular. Our connection to animals as humans is an important part of what makes us human. Take a walk around the park or just sit on your patio and keep a lookout for wildlife. Butterflies, birds, squirrels, bunnies- you never know what you are going to find once you start looking.

Visit Your Favorite Coffee Shop With A Good Friend

There is nothing more cozy and peaceful than a nice convo with a good friend in your favorite local coffee shop. Whether you're a hot cocoa kind of person or you like your coffee straight-up black, it doesn't matter. It's being with another person you care about in a low-key environment that makes this activity so relaxing. Just make sure you steer the discussion away from work stresses and focus on the positive!


Thanks for checking out this list of 18 ways to relax without a screen. Let us know what your favorite way is to relax in the comments.

#relaxation #relax #destress #calmingactivites

Image: https://www.instagram.com/sophiaskitchentherapy/