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    12 Things We Tried That Actually Helped Us Feel Better During Stressful Times

    They worked for us, and maybe they'll work for you, too.

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    1. Putting a new set of sheets on my bed that are incredibly soft, so that all the time I'm spending in bed is as luxurious and comfortable as possible.

    Kaysey Davis/BuzzzFeed

    "I don't know about you, but I've been spending way more time in my bed these days. Working from home has turned into me sitting in bed with my laptop instead of using my desktop computer on the other side of the room. Also, there is nothing more relaxing than an afternoon nap, and I've been indulging in a few of them lately. It's made me appreciate my sheets in a whole new way. I was looking for a new duvet cover and got this one from Ikea because I was drawn to the dark green colour. But after using them for the last couple of months, I've realized that these sheets are so soft and get softer every time I wash them. They're made with a blend of cotton and lyocell, but they have an almost satiny kind of feel to them. They feel and look so luxurious that I've been looking for any excuse to stay in bed." —Kaysey Davis

    Get the duvet cover and pillowcases for $39.99+ (available in sizes twin-king), and the fitted sheet and top sheet for $34.99+ (available in sizes twin-king), all from Ikea.

    2. Spraying some Deep Sleep pillow spray on my pillow right before I go to bed, which helps alleviate my nighttime anxiety and lets me drift off to sleep a lot more easily.

    Sarah Rohoman/BuzzFeed

    "I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression since my early twenties, which I've largely been able to manage in my everyday life through medication and therapy — but I continued to have a lot of anxiety around sleep, falling asleep, nightmares, insomnia, and waking up. I’ve tried different vitamins, supplements, and behaviour and routine changes, but the one thing that’s really helped me fall asleep more quickly and with less anxiety is this Deep Sleep pillow spray.

    I'm very much into aromatherapy, and I've found that by pairing the scent with my nighttime routine, it signalled to my brain that it was time to start winding down for the night. I love lavender, so that definitely helps, and I can see a definite difference between the nights I use it and don't use it in terms of anxiety about sleep. This has also really helped with the panicky feeling I usually get when I wake up — once I'm able to identify the smell, it gives my brain something to focus on and helps me calm down." —Sarah Rohoman

    Get it from Sephora Canada for $34.

    3. Cooking some comfort food with the Vegan Stoner Cookbook, which includes recipes for all kinds of delicious vegan dishes that I always love, whether I'm smoking pot or not.

    Alice Prendergast/BuzzFeed

    "This book is obviously awesome for those times when you’ve indulged in some wacky tabacky, but it’s also great for when you’re low on ingredients and want some top-notch comfort food. Each recipe only requires five or six ingredients and the instructions are super easy to follow. It includes recipes for plant-based goodies like fried tofu tacos, shepherd’s pie dumplings, lasagna, and coconut macaroons (basically, all the things you want to be eating in quarantine) and don't take a ton of time to prepare. Whether you're into weed or not, you'll probs love this cookbook, because it's so user friendly." —Alice Prendergast

    Get it from Urban Outfitters Canada for $18.95, or the Kindle version from Amazon Canada for $10.99.

    4. Using this flawless skin tonic that actually does what it promises, and has reinvigorated my love affair with beauty products. Who doesn't love a smooth, glowing complexion?

    Victoria Kuglin/BuzzFeed

    "My favourite thing to do when I'm feeling down is to really go hard on my beauty routine, and let me tell you — I've gone completely off the deep end. I'm talking MULTIPLE. STEPS. And while there are a few classics that are always in my rotation, my mom introduced me to this Phytomer Oligomarine Flawless skin tonic — and HOLY COW, I am never going back. Thanks to a whole pile of natural marine ingredients, my skin has literally never looked better. I use it as a toner after cleansing, and I'm left with impossibly soft, visibly fresh, radiant skin. There's even a splash of witch hazel in the formula to help purify and tone, which means stress breakouts are a thing of the past. I don't know how I went this long without it. I feel way more confident going make-up free, and I no longer dread looking into the mirror whenever Aunt Flo comes to town. Goodbye, pesky pimples, and hello, complexion of my dreams. THANKS, MOM!" —Victoria Kuglin

    Get it from Strawberrynet for $53.50 (originally $76).

    5. Getting a crochet hook and learning how to do some basic crocheting, which helped me relax and resulted in a super-cute cushion cover.

    Imaan Sheikh/BuzzFeed

    "I wanted to take a break from eye-intensive screen-based activities (Netflix and my Nintendo Switch had me hooked) and do something mindlessly repetitive, so I bought a crochet hook and some coral acrylic yarn, and turned to YouTube for basic crochet lessons. I started with a small coaster design, but had so much fun, that I kept going till it turned into a gigantic cushion cover! It was oddly thrilling to create and made me feel productive, because now I have a giant pillow I use to rest my legs in bed or park my tush on on the hard floor. Currently, I’m crocheting a big blanket little by little every night before bedtime, and I highly recommend it as an anxiety reliever. It’s uncomplicated, plus you get a blanket at the end! The feeling of creating something by hand is pretty unmatched." —Imaan Sheikh

    Get three crochet hooks from Michaels for $6.99, and check out their selection of yarn here.

    6. Making a habit of using this jade roller that not only helps in the absorption of all your skincare, but feels really frickin' good. Is it just a gimmick? Is it a passing fad? I don't know, and I don't care, because trust me when I say that rollin' this baby has really improved my self-care game.

    Victoria Kuglin/BuzzFeed

    "I pop this little gem in the fridge for a few minutes, and then slowly roll it over my face in the morning and before bed. Sure, there's no such thing as 'instant pay-off' with this, but what I really, really love about it is that it's a ritual that I do for myself and myself only. I take the time to enjoy the facial massage, and give myself permission to relax (even if it's just for a few moments). That said, I've definitely noticed that my face is less puffy (thanks, lymphatic drainage!), and that the effects of my skincare are decidedly amplified. And as someone who suffers from headaches and TMJ-related issues, I can confirm: Regular jade rolling helps alleviate facial tension, and relaxes those pesky, tight muscles. Headaches = banished." —Victoria Kuglin

    Get it at the Detox Market for $42 (also available in opalite and rose quartz).

    7. Watching a movie on TV and giving myself an at-home manicure, whether just using some basic nail polish or going all-out on some fancy nail art.

    Kaysey Davis/BuzzFeed

    "My favourite way to relax is by treating myself to an at-home spa treatment, which usually includes a face mask of some sort and a DIY manicure. I'll put on a movie and then spend the next hour or so doing my nails. It's a fun, mindless activity, but it helps me channel some creativity if I feel like doing nail art. One of my favourite nail polish brands to use is Essie. They come in so many different shades and it's so affordable, I usually buy two or three at a time. I'm currently loving this minty green colour (called 'Express To Impress') from the Expressie nail collection. The shade is bright, fresh, and very calming. And it only takes about a minute for the nail polish to dry, so I don't have to spend a lot of time drying my nails between and after coats." —Kaysey Davis

    Get it from Shoppers Drug Mart for $8.99 (originally $10.49).

    8. Using a really good vibrator, which I won't go into too much detail about, but let's just say I'm feeling pre-tty good lately.

    @womanizerglobal / Via

    "You know what makes you feel better when you’re feeling down? Sex. OK, I’m not gonna get too into the nitty-gritty details here, but if you’re single or want to add a little ~spice~ to staying home with your partner, I would highly recommend ordering yourself a vibrator ASAP.

    This clitoral vibrator from Womanizer is a bit of an investment, but it's a) super cute and b) can be used both solo and with a partner (giving you more ~bang~ for your buck). It uses sorcery (also known as air pulse technology) to rev you up, and changes its rhythm every time you use it so you'll never get bored. Order this and prepare to kiss all of that pent-up sexual aggression you’ve been holding onto buh-byeeee." —Alice Prendergast

    Get it from Lovehoney canada for $219.95.

    9. Folding origami, which has become a meditative practice for me as I try to make all my folds as precise and clean as possible. And at the end, I get a pretty crane or something!

    Sarah Rohoman/BuzzFeed

    "During a recent bout of quaran-cleaning I came across some stickers and origami paper I had picked up at a dollar store in Tokyo a few years ago. With way too much time on my hands at the moment, I decided to try and make a classic paper crane via a YouTube tutorial.

    At first, I found the precise folding and instructions to be a little rage-inducing, but once you get into the groove of it, it's oddly meditative. It's kinda bonkers how you can transform one little square sheet of paper into so many cool creations just by folding and coaxing the paper into certain positions. I'm particularly proud of the black-and-white polka dot flower I made — it took three tries, but it was so satisfying once I finally got it right. In total, these three creations took me about two hours to make, including a few fails, but I'm so excited to try out new tutorials and see what else I can make." —Sarah Rohoman

    Get a 78-pack of origami paper from Ikea for $4.99.

    10. Nabbing myself a pack of dual-tip markers, so I can do something with my hands (that isn't scrolling through the 'gram), while also helping me tap into my creativity when it feels like I'm completely devoid of original thoughts. The wide, brush-like tips are so incredibly satisfying. And the super-fine side makes it easier than ever to colour inside the lines.

    Victoria Kuglin/BuzzFeed

    "WHAT A GAME-CHANGER. Instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media (which I realized was contributing to my stress), I can now focus on something else, something that occupies my hands AND my brain. And there are few things more satisfying than dragging a fresh, vibrant marker across a blank page! It's gotten to the point where I'm colouring anything I can get my hands on — receipts, cardboard boxes, instruction manuals. I can't get enough. I'm not going to lie, I thought that the 'adult colouring' fad was kind of silly, but now it's become part of my nightly routine. I'm sleeping better, I'm less stressed, and I'm spending less time on my phone. Maybe our preschool teachers knew something we didn't, because colouring is honestly awesome." —Victoria Kuglin

    Get a pack of 36 from Staples Canada for $30.79.

    11. Doing at-home exercises in my apartment on my super padded yoga mat, so my knees and other joints don't hurt from all the squatting, jumping, and stretching I'm doing.

    Alice Prendergast/BuzzFeed

    "Naturally, all gyms and studios are closed right now, and not being able to move like I typically do was really starting to get me down. Therefore, I had to implement some sort of fitness routine at home (not ideal, but everything is burning so I really can’t complain). Nowadays, I typically do HIIT, barre, and/or restorative yoga using videos and apps (I particularly like the Down Dog's and Barre3's offerings) from the comfort of my yoga mat in my living room.

    What yoga mat, you ask? It’s the Arise mat from Lululemon and it gets me through an intense sweat sesh of burpees, jump squats, and more without wrecking my body. This is seriously one of the cushiest ones I've ever used and has the right amount of padding to keep you from bruising your bod when attempting new moves. Also, if you want even more cushioning for a pose that's hard on your limbs, you can just fold it over and give yourself double the padding (an awesome trick for low lunges). Now, please excuse me while I get more endorphins pumping through my body." —Alice Prendergast

    Get it from Lululemon for $78.

    12. Or getting out of the house for a (safe and socially-distanced) jog — and wearing a good pair of running shoes to help with the impact on my legs and feet. Bring on those endorphins!

    Getty Images, Under Armour / Via

    "Something that's helped my mental health immensely over the last couple of months has been going jogging (don't worry, I go early in the morning and maintain a very safe distance from the few people I do encounter). When I started, I could barely run for more than a couple of minutes at a time, but I worked through an eight-week 5K program (there are a ton of 5K apps, but I personally love the Running Mate 5K101 program) and am now working my way up to running a 10K. It's amazing how quickly my endurance increased, and those post-workout endorphins are AWESOME. I'm feeling more powerful already, and I just feel good about myself.

    I did have some early problems with shin splints when I ran, but two things really helped: one, changing my posture (shoulders back!) and my stride (pick up those knees more!), and two, wearing running shoes with a lot of cushioning. These runners from Under Armour are fantastic, because they provide cushioning if you need it, but the shoes themselves are light and not clunky at all. No more shin splints, and I actually look forward to jogging now." —Kat Angus

    Get the shoes from Under Armour for $80 (available in two colours and sizes 5-12W), and get the 5K101 program from Running Mate for $8.99 USD.

    You, after maybe trying a few things from this list:


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