My 10 Favorite Ways to Relieve Stress and Unwind

Rosewood Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen

Stress – it’s something we are all familiar with and all experience at one point or another.  Whether it be at work, at home, at school, or somewhere in between…  3 years ago I found myself in desperate need of new stress relieving tactics.  My old ones weren’t working and my cortisol levels were through the roof.  I had just broken up with my serious boyfriend of almost 8 years and my business was expanding rapidly.  I was absolutely devastated from the break up and completely overwhelmed with the thought of running a business by myself.   The stress started to affect not only my mind, but my body.  My weight fluctuated and my sleeping patterns became disrupted.  I felt helpless!  I’m a problem solver.  When I come across a problem, I do everything in my power to fix it.  Stress is tricky though because there’s not just some “magic pill” or solution that will get rid of it immediately.  Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the best doctors, naturopaths, healers, and nutritionists in the world.  I wanted to share what I’ve learned thus far and some of my favorite ways to relieve stress and unwind!

  1. I meditate for 20 minutes every morning.
    There seems to still be a weird, pre conceived notion out there about meditation (which I’ll admit I had too  before I took this class.)  It’s becoming increasingly more talked about though, and now there are drop in studios, apps, etc.  I personally find “transcendental” or “vedic” meditation the most effective.  You can read about the benefits here and see why Oprah and basically every top CEO and athlete meditates.
  2. I switch up my exercise depending on my mood.
    For a while, I was only doing intense exercise i.e. boxing, running and Soul Cycle and I was actually increasing my cortisol levels.  I’ve now learned to balance my routine with yoga and pilates.  I was also doing BBG at home, but I found that group classes and great music make me a happier camper.
  3. I took a serotype test and avoid (for the most part!) foods that cause inflammation.
    Trust me I still love pizza, ice cream, and french fries – couldn’t ever give those up completely… But for years, my stomach hurt after almost every meal.  It was stressful not knowing what foods were triggering this!  My friend Annie referred me to her doctor who did a serotype test (beware because many food allergy tests are not accurate) and I found out what was causing inflammation.  Even if a food is deemed “healthy” it doesn’t necessarily mean it works for YOU.  Once I eliminated things like chickpeas, cashews, and blueberries (random I know) my stomach problems disappeared which was a relief.
  4. I take a 30 minute epsom salt bath with a drop of this oil at least once a week + read a book while I soak.
    Not only are baths relaxing, but epsom salt baths remove toxins and give your body the magnesium it needs.  I put on a face mask too (gotta maximize that bath time!) and read a book (I just finished this one – highly recommend – Betty is the cutest!)
  5. I get acupuncture once a month.
    I went here when I lived in NYC.  You can read about all of the benefits here.  I’ve also done cupping before which is AMAZING and I found it actually had a stronger effect (in a good way) than normal acupuncture, but it did leave large red circles on my back for over a week.  I definitely got some weird looks when I wore a tank top.
  6. I bought a standing desk and anti-fatigue mat.
    An anti-fatigue whhhhaaat?  I know it sounds funny.  But let’s be real, we all spend hours a day sitting.  Sitting in a car, sitting at a desk, sitting at the dinner table.  I started developing back pain and horrible posture from sitting so much until I finally decided enough was enough and ordered this mat and this desk.  They were total game changers!!!   I feel more positive, productive and my digestion is way better.
  7. I get reflexology and a Thai massage once a month.
    You can read about the benefits of both here.  The place I used to go in NYC was a hole in the wall and nothing fancy – but it was $25 for a 1 hour massage!!!!  If you don’t want to get a massage – I have this lacrosse ball and run my foot over it while I’m at my standing desk (which is a tip I picked up from a physical therapist.)  It works wonders.
  8. I’m a firm believer in therapy.
    My dad has been a psychologist for almost 30 years so I am a huge advocate of talk therapy.  You do not have to be depressed to go to therapy.  Pyschologists are wonderful when you want a neutral opinion and sounding board that isn’t  a friend or family member.  Not all psychologists are the same – and not every one will be for you so meet with multiple people until you find the right one for you.  I hear from too many friends that they “hate therapy” because they had one bad experience with a therapist they didn’t click with.  It’s just like anything in life – you need to shop around to see what works best for you!
  9. I do a Reiki session once a year.
    You can learn more about Reiki here.  I had no clue what I was signing up for the first time I tried it, but just went in with an open mind.  It was amazing and I’m a believer!
  10. I try to spend an hour in a sauna, steam room or float tank once a month.
    All are such great ways to relax and detox.  Grab a girlfriend and make a spa day out of it!

I left a few obvious stress relieving tactics out like call a friend, have a spa day, catch up with family, take a walk, watch a funny movie, binge watch Netflix, book a trip, dance, retail therapy etc. because I know you gals probably already know those ones/are doing them!  Anyways, I hope I gave you a little insight into how I relieve stress and unwind!  Please let me know if you try/like any of them! xx

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  • Olivia says:

    Your post are my absolute favorite! I love these tips! Thank you

    March 22, 2017
  • La Bijoux Bella | by mia says:

    Such a calming post … I love anything that brings peace to the mind and soul. Love the reflexology massage too! Beautiful post and essential tips for our wellbeing. :)
    Merci for sharing.

    💋LA BIJOUX BELLA💋 | BY MIA | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    March 22, 2017
  • SS says:

    Kat, do your research. How very irresponsible to post about your “allergy” testing by a naturopath with a business degree. I am sure your “doctor” rakes it in. As a board-certified allergist who has to deal with true allergies all the time, I am so frustrated by naturopaths and chiropractors who hijack our specialty for personal gain. I do not doubt that your stress was affecting you, but the IgG testing you likely had was bogus and is not standard of care. Stick with what you know best… fashion and decorating. That being said, I hope you feel better and less stressed.

    March 22, 2017
    • replied:

      Hi SS!

      I am not seeing where I said that a naturopath gave me an IgG test? A certified doctor from this practice gave me a serotype test which tests the blood for inflammatory foods.

      As women, I think it’s important that we support one another to grow, evolve, and learn about any topics that may interest us. The beauty of a personal blog is that I can share whatever topic I find relevant or helpful to my readers. I am not asking you to agree with the way that I’ve chosen to relieve stress, so feel free to skip over this post or any like it next time!

      Have a wonderful rest of your week!


      March 22, 2017
  • Ewa Macherowska says:

    Nice post dear :)

    March 22, 2017
  • Anna White says:

    Great post! I love acupuncture too! XO –

    Anna |

    March 22, 2017
  • Grace Atwood says:

    I love this post Kat – and so very timely as I’ve been a bit stressed out. It’s fun to see you branch out a bit from the usual fashion content!

    Totally with you on switching up your exercise, I had the same experience with Soul Cycle!


    March 22, 2017
    • replied:

      Miss you friend! Lol’ing thinking about that time we took a Tracy Anderson class and were the most awkward dancers ever!! ;)

      March 22, 2017
  • Amy says:

    I’ve never tried acupuncture before but I’m intrigued! ♥

    Amy // Snippets of Amy

    March 22, 2017
  • Masha says:

    These are awesome tips! I hadn’t heard of a few of them, but they sound really interesting and I can’t wait to try!

    White Silk, Black Leather

    March 22, 2017
  • Alyssa says:

    This is so amazing! I love hearing everyone’s tips to relax. xx

    March 22, 2017
  • Marina Oetiker says:

    Love this post as I have been working on finding new ways to relief the stress myself. I just began meditation a few weeks ago and love it. Signing up for my first yoga and meditation class this month and want to join some Zumba class! Also want to commit to doing sauna once a week as I have been reading about so many benefits it will bring you. Will have to try the place you mentioned with a $25 massage 💆 🙂 Glad to see you are enjoying the Cali life!

    March 22, 2017
    • replied:

      Thank you love! Hope all is well in NYC! xx

      March 22, 2017
  • Henry says:

    You’ve written the nice post, I am gonna bookmark this page, thanks for the info. I actually appreciate your own position and I will be sure to come back here.

    March 23, 2017
  • Madeline says:

    Meditation is such a life changer!Definitely going to try adding epsom salts to my bath soon.

    Madeline x
    Madeline Loves

    March 23, 2017
  • Victoria says:

    Kat, I really enjoyed this post! I had a similar experience with high intensity exercise last year, when like you I realized it was actually creating more fatigue and cortisol. Crazy how we’re sold this package of intensity equalling strength and true “fitness” and it’s actually not that way for a lot of people. And, totally agree with you re: therapy. A good therapist is literally life changing!! I know you know this given you just moved closer to the ocean, but going to the beach on the reg is the most soul-cleansing thing ever! I feel like I’d be a mess without weekly trips to the beach.

    March 24, 2017
  • Weekend Reading. - The Stripe says:

    […] Kat had some really great advice on how to de-stress and unwind. […]

    March 25, 2017
  • Bianca S says:

    All of these options sounds fantastic! Great article and a lot of helpful tips that I will definitely try at home. I recently read a book I wanted to recommend called “The Worry Free Mind” ( It’s fantastic because the authors teach you how to break habits that have been developed over the years by something as simple as shifting our focus and attention. Within each chapter they provide a “try it now” section and a quick summary of the chapter along with a power thought. I find myself going back every now and then for a refresher. Our brains are “wired” a certain way and this book shows a new way to think and handle emotions and thoughts that can typically lead to stress and anxiety. I really hope you will check it out!

    March 28, 2017
  • Mimie says:

    Thank you so much for this post! The stance you take in being so open and honest is refreshing because a lot of the time, things look and seem absolutely perfect but you’re human too! This resonated with me greatly as ‘be navigated through life and stresses began to come up. I’m definitely going to incorporate this into my life as well.

    Wishing you health and happiness,


    March 29, 2017
  • Emily Piskulick says:

    i love this post — such great advice! xo

    April 5, 2017
  • MK says:

    I just moved to NYC and I feel like it was fate for me to run across this post! Thank you for sharing :)

    April 8, 2017
  • Sihle says:

    Hey Kat, I have just discovered your blog on Instagram, I cannot stop looking at it each day, such beautiful and classy inspiration.

    May 17, 2017
  • MK says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you have a place in NYC you recommend for Reiki?

    June 25, 2017
    • replied:


      I don’t unfortunately sorry! I’ve only gotten Reiki on trips out of state but I am sure if you do a little research you’ll find an amazing person in the city!


      June 26, 2017
  • hannah Pflederer says:

    love your website! keep it up <3

    June 26, 2017
  • Karen says:

    Hi Kat, do you have any therapists you’d recommend in LA? I am struggling with a long term relationship ending and the “keeping busy” advice that everyone gives isn’t helping much. I find myself not sleeping and taking steps back when not around company.

    January 1, 2018
    • replied:

      Hi Karen! I did a google search in my neighborhood and called several therapists that popped up in the search to see if their specialty and hours would work for me! I suggest doing the same OR seeing if your health insurance company has any in-network therapists since therapy can be quite expensive if you’re paying out of pocket! Remember to test out a few therapists before deciding on one as they all have different styles/vibes/personalities and it’s important to find one that meshes with you :) Good luck!

      January 1, 2018
  • With Love From Kat // #WELLNESSwithKAT says:

    […]  Over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to learn from these experts, try countless stress relieving techniques, test out different diets (everything from paleo, to vegan, gluten free, low carb, and […]

    April 27, 2018
  • Bianca says:

    These are all very relaxing. I wish I can do the same.

    April 3, 2019
  • Aika says:

    Love this post! I usually watch Korean dramas or variety shows, play mobile games, or spend some quality time with my loved one to relieve stress and unwind.

    June 6, 2019