Whether we are getting our kids ready to go back to school, preparing for the holiday chaos, or have insomnia from recurrent work issues, it’s hard to escape stress. It’s simply a part of life. That doesn’t mean we have to give into it, however. In fact, you shouldn’t let stress railroad you, as it can have terribly negative effects on your overall physical and emotional health. Stress has been linked to depression, inflammation, insomnia, and more. Need some guidance on how to deal with it? Read on for five creative ways to relieve stress.

  1. Box It Out

Have you ever felt so stressed out that you just wanted to hit something? Be like Nike and just do it. We didn’t say to hit a person, as that’s never a good idea! However, letting out stress on a heavy bag or against a sparring partner using focus pads can be a great idea. As this article notes:

“Physically, hitting a punching bag produces a response in your body that helps to relieve tension. Symbolically, you may picture the punching bag or pillow as representative of your stress. Imagining a troublesome situation or person in your life and punching at the bag allows you to express anger in a healthier way than becoming physical with another person.”

The article goes on to point out, though, that to achieve the most benefits from exercise, you should also be journaling about your emotions.

  1. Marvel in Music

You’ve likely had the experience in which you were having a bad day and your favorite song or musician was able to turn it around. The effects of music on our mood are undeniable, and it can help you to manage stress, too. An ultra unique way to use music to alleviate stress is by creating your own visuals with a music visualizer. Create abstract geometric patterns that dance and spin in time with your favorite tunes. You can even download your presentations in order to them on sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Sometimes simply occupying your brain and your time with something like this is enough to make your troubles melt away.

  1. Get a Pet

Okay, okay, so this can increase stress if you’re not ready for it. But if you’ve been thinking you’ve been ready for a while and you do suffer from stress, a pet can help. Studies have shown that interacting with animals releases the “feel good” hormone oxytocin. If you’ve got the time to take care of a pet, the financial means, and you’re in a good spot in your life for some extra furry love, this could help you reduce stress in your life. Better yet, adopt a pet that doesn’t have a home, so you’re doing a good deed to boot.

  1. Get Away

Spending long hours at the office and even letting our vacation time lapse is far too often seen as a badge of honor in the United States. When you ultimately burn out and your productivity suffers, no one benefits. Use that vacation time, as that’s what it’s there for. You often return to your desk feeling like a whole new you and ready to work, so it’s a win for all involved. Whether it’s a full-on sabbatical or even just a long weekend jaunt, getting away can make all the difference when it comes to stress reduction.

  1. Find a Hobby

Unwinding in a way that you find enjoyable is the key to stress reduction. Of course, this means seeking out something you actually like doing. Taking up cooking when you know this is something you loathe will likely increase your stress. Think about things that make you happy, choose one (or more!), and go for it. From piano lessons and horseback riding to hiking and doing puzzles, any hobby that takes your mind off of your worries is ideal.

Yoga and meditation are wonderful ways to reduce stress in your life, but the aforementioned are more creative ways to get there. Try one or all of them and see if you notice their positive effects.