Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress - retail therapy, binging on junk food, drinking tequila, etc. - but there are countless avenues to explore for a healthier and happier lifestyle. Now, when I say “stress” I’m not talking about the short bursts of stress that can actually have a positive impact on our lives by motivating us and helping us perform under pressure. I’m talking about the long-term, toxic stress in our lives that result in mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Burn-out. If we constantly run in “emergency” mode, our bodies and minds will pay the price. Whether there’s an illness in your family, a mountain of bills, or that overbearing boss, it’s time to take action and bring your nervous system back into balance. If you haven’t guessed already, learning how to cope with stress is one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves. We just so happen to live in a city that is chock-full of adventures for us to explore, and it has something to offer for everyone!
Naturally, most people like routine and I do as well, to an extent. However, if I have too much of a routine and no wiggle room for a spontaneous day then I will go crazy. Some of my favorite memories have resulted from stepping out of my comfort zone and not knowing what was 30 minutes ahead of me: “It feels good to be lost in the right direction.” Sure, we have work and responsibilities that we need to keep up with… but isn’t that what the weekends are for? Climb a mountain, drive with no destination, take a new bus not knowing where it’s going. Simply get lost. I decided to rattle off just a few, simply solutions to add a little flare to your life while reducing stress at the same time!
FOR THE ADVENTURER:
FunCheapSF - Here’s a website that makes finding an adventure effortless! They keep up with posting events going on in the Bay Area that day, week, and month. This will give you the chance to explore a new hobby or activity without breaking the bank. And as always, if you’re unsure about something, Yelp is your best friend. You’ll find yourself trying things that have never crossed your mind and maybe you’ll even find a new hobby! Corgi races? I didn’t know that existed but I’m sure happy that it does!
TIP: Try something new each week! Exploration is good for the soul.
Find a Good View! - I don’t know about you, but there’s something about being on top of the world that gives me a rush. When you take a step back from the chaos that is San Francisco, and step into a place without car horns and your daily routine, you’ll find a wave of tranquility wash over you. And a view doesn’t necessarily translate to being up high in the clouds. One of my favorite views in the Bay Area is just across the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands. It’s sea level and has a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate and ocean. Kirby Cove can be reached by car (when the campground is open) or foot which requires a little hike down to the beach, but you won’t regret it. It can change your mood right around just by seeing it.
TIP: I bring my Eno hammock wherever I go because you can hang it up just about anywhere with trees! Some wine doesn’t hurt either.
FOR THE FOODIE :
Make it an Event! - For those of you who like to eat, drink, and be merry, Eventbrite has plenty of options for de-stressing! Instead of binge watching West World with a bag of chips and a beer, you’ll find that attending an event centered on food and/or drink will distract you from the actual eating and drinking part! You’ll still get the comfort that food and/or drink provides you, but the social aspect will cause you to eat slower, and therefore, feel full faster. Boom. Plus, it’s typical for these types of events to either provide samplers or smaller portions of food instead of an entire dish. Who doesn’t like to try a little bit of everything?
TIP: Classes are offered too, so whilst you’re satisfying your stress by eating and/or drinking, you can learn a little something to take home with you too.
FOR THE SHOPPER :
People deal with stress in a variety of ways - retail therapy - so instead of relieving stress by only spending money, make something out of it! When you’re stressed out and feeling a loss of control, shopping sometimes helps restore that sense of control again and alleviates some stress. Here’s some food for thought: become a mystery shopper and get reimbursed for your spendings by helping measure a business’ quality of service. Getting paid to shop? Sounds like a double stress reducer to me! Although, it’s not for everyone so read up on these tips before you decide to take part. If you’re not into mystery shopping, SF is full of Farmer's Markets, Flea Markets, and Street Fairs for you to explore! Indulge your senses with different smells, sights, and sounds.
FOR THE EXPLORER :
Go On a Roadtrip! - Find your inner Lewis and Clark and set out on a road-trip for the weekend… and even walk the same trails as them at The Columbia River Gorge (only 600 miles!). Lucky for us here in San Francisco, we’re not too far from both the Oregon border and Southern California! If you’re feeling real adventurous, set off with no destination the first night and see where the roads take you! You’ll end up driving through towns you never would have known existed and meeting new people with all kinds of stories to tell.
TIP: Talk to the locals and get the inside scoop. New scenery is great for opening the mind and getting the creative juices flowing.
Go Camping! - We all know nature has been proven to help soothe the soul, so obviously, camping is a great de-stressor. And you don’t have to go far to get it! Our Bay Area backyard is filled with amazing spots for a card game to break out under the redwoods or stick your toes in the sand with a good book.
TIP: Half Moon Bay has a great campground right on the bay! If you reserve early enough, you can even grab a spot along the beach and wake up to a view of the Pacific Ocean! Hard to beat.
Long story short - de-stressing and happiness don’t have to break the bank or even require long and stressful planning, even in a city as costly as San Francisco. When we find outlets that work for us, it’s easy to flip those negative ways of coping with stress into positive ones that can create lifelong memories. Grab a friend and an open mind to unlock everything our beautiful world has to offer. What are you waiting for? Get out there!