Mar 08, 2024 • 5 min read • By: Polly Clover

13 Fun Activities to Relieve Stress Even If You’re Busy


Over 50% of people experience stress throughout their days. Although stress is common, addressing it can help you find relief for a happier and healthier life. In this article, we’ll share fun activities to relieve stress, even if you’re busy.

Below, we’ll share stress relief activities, including ideas you can incorporate into your daily routine and some ideas for a self-care weekend, such as fresh air, a spa treatment, and taking a vacation. 

Why are fun activities to relieve stress important?

Most people find that at least the occasional stress is common. However, high stress levels can lead to severe medical and social concerns, so it’s important to manage stress before it becomes too overwhelming and a health risk. 

When you have fun ways to relieve stress, it’s easier to prioritize it. We commonly hear about managing stress through exercise and adequate rest. While these practices are vital, research shows that engaging in fun activities can improve your physiological and psychological well-being.

What fun activities can I do to relieve stress?

Fun activities are generally those with intention that you enjoy, so this looks different for everyone. What activities do you enjoy doing? What makes you feel playful and happy?

As people age, this can be difficult to identify. We become so busy with daily obligations that it’s common to lose sight of what we enjoy.

Below, we’ll share ideas for enjoyable stress-relief activities to inspire you.

1. Make a new recipe

Do you like to cook? If so, making new recipes can be the perfect stress reliever. The idea for this to be fun is to do it with intention. Play some music and take your time making a recipe – no matter how simple or complex, depending on how much time you have. 

Preparing and cooking food is ideal for stress relief because it allows you to connect with your five senses, which is scientifically proven to calm your nervous system.

man cutting vegetables

2. Have a dance party

A dance party is great for almost anyone because it can easily fit into your daily routine. You can break out in dance while you’re getting ready for your day, during your daily workout, or on your Saturday morning. 

Create a playlist of all your favorite dancing songs so you’ll have it handy. Dancing is also a great workout, which is effective for improving your physical and emotional well-being.

3. Spend time with loved ones

Not only can loneliness cause stress, but having a social network can help strengthen your resilience during stressful situations. 

Prioritizing time with loved ones can be difficult, so plan ahead or schedule a recurring date with your partner or a friend. Time with loved ones can be as simple as having dinner together or meeting up for a walk or play date with your little ones.

4. Treat yourself to a spa day

Not only are spa days one of the most fun activities to relieve stress, but they also have many wellness benefits. Spa treatments can relieve anxiety, boost your mood, strengthen your immune system, and offer pain relief.

You can plan for a relaxing day at your local spa or create an at-home spa day. Shop Oakwell Cosmetics for relaxing spa items, including a cozy candle, spa robe, and nourishing skincare products.

Oakwell Cosmetics Spa Gift Basket
Oakwell Cosmetics Spa Gift Basket

5. Do a new exercise routine or class

Some people often feel forced to exercise, so finding a routine you like can make it more enjoyable. Check out your local gym’s class schedule, or find an exercise on YouTube you can do at home. 

Even if you don’t usually want to work out, you may find it rewarding if you can find exercises you like. You might also make it more fun by doing it with a friend and then spending time together afterward. 

6. Redecorate your space

If you like organizing and decorating, sprucing up your space can be one of the best ways to relieve stress. Not only does changing up your surroundings often feel refreshing, but it also allows you to declutter, which psychologists say can clear your mind and reduce stress.

There are also many science-backed decorating ideas that create a calming environment, such as:

  • Adding plants to your space
  • Removing unneeded items
  • Creating a relaxing area with a candle, blankets, and pillows
  • Using colors to improve your mood (e.g., warm colors like red and orange for comfort or cool colors like blue and green help for relaxation)
  • Having a screen-free space to help you disconnect and unwind

7. Play a board game

What better way to relax than by finding your inner child and playing a board game? You might grab a solo board game and play it after a stressful day. You can also plan a board game date night with your partner, children, or friends for a fun social activity.

8. Get fresh air

Fresh air and nature have been proven to increase oxygen levels, which boosts your body's happy chemical, serotonin. This can lead to lower stress levels and reduced anxiety.

While most of us know how important spending time outdoors is, we don’t often prioritize it. Make your time outdoors fun by doing something you enjoy, like having a picnic or reading in the park, taking your dog on a walk, or going on a hike.

people sitting on a bench at the park

9. Start or tend to a garden

Hobbies and plants are both fun activities to relieve stress, so combine the two and start or tend to your garden. Gardening is another excellent way to spend time outside, so this ties well with getting fresh air.

If you don't have an outdoor area for a garden, you can also create a space for plants inside your home—even if it's just a few plants on a shelf.

10. Plan a vacation

People who take vacations from work usually have lower stress, more motivation, and fewer health concerns. Prioritize time off, and get out of town if you can. Exploring a new place can help you disconnect from daily chores, recharge, and find a new sense of rejuvenation and motivation. 

While a longer vacation at least once per year is ideal, a day trip can also be beneficial, depending on your schedule and budget.

11. Play tourist in your own city

If you’re unable to plan a vacation, you can also play tourist in your own city. You can get some of the same benefits as you would traveling out of town, and people don’t often have time to explore what their city has to offer.

Plan a day or afternoon to see and do things in your city you’ve never done before. Eat at a new restaurant and do a couple of tourist activities. You could even enjoy a staycation and book a hotel for the weekend.

12. Have a movie marathon

One of the most fun activities for stress relief is sometimes staying at home in your most comfortable pajamas with a good snack while watching a movie – or a few.

A movie marathon for the day can be the perfect way to relax and enjoy yourself when you’re feeling especially stressed. Parent Trap, School of Rock, and The Help are some of our favorite feel-good movies!

13. Doodle in an adult coloring book

If you have a lot of things going on at once and feel like your mind is over the place, it can be difficult to settle down. Coloring is one of the most effective ways to distract yourself and calm your mind. It can also relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and increase your motivation.

You can get an adult coloring book or a children’s coloring book for a fun way to bring out your inner child.

Fun Activities to Relieve Stress: Conclusion

We hope you found these ideas helpful and are inspired to have more fun enjoying stress relief activities. 

Whether it’s getting fresh air, treating yourself to a spa day, or spending time with loved ones, there are many ways to feel better throughout your days.

While many stress relief activities can easily tie into your daily routine, try to schedule a bit of time for fun as often as possible. Once it becomes a part of your routine, it’ll become more natural, and you’ll look forward to calming activities you enjoy.

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