My 5 Go-To Ways to Destress

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been talking a bit about stress/anxiety and the like and how it tends to get worse for me at night – a lot of you agreed that seems to be the trend for you, as well! Boo anxiety. I’m sure pregnancy hormones and the looming major life change that’s about to happen hasn’t helped the situation… the uncertainty of everything that’s about to happen has a Type A woman with control tendencies feeling… unsettled. #selfawarenessisimportant Hah but I’ve developed a few go-to techniques that alleviate stress and help clear my mind – or at least distract from the worry – almost instantly.

Here we go….

1. At-Home Spa Night

Skincare has become one of my favorite… can we call it a hobby? Trying new products, seeing what works and what doesn’t, paying attention to ingredients and how my skin reacts. I’ve gotten pretty diligent about sticking with a morning and evening skincare routine – something I have to admit I wasn’t always good about. But now I find this 5 or 10-minute process of self-care to start and end my day really relaxing. Knowing I’m doing something good for myself helps me destress. Plus the process itself is calming and the products smell oh so good…

Routine aside – there’s ALSO the at-home spa nights I’ll treat myself to! I’ve been doing these for a few years now. It’s an amazing way to spend a night in, especially if Dan’s ever out of town.

I try to make this happen at least one night a week – sometimes as my Friday or Saturday night plans, but usually after a rough day or when I’m feeling like treating myself to some R&R. The main difference between morning routine and spa night is the sheer amount of time spent and the number of products used. Plus I’ll light a scented candle, put on music relaxing, grab my favorite robe, sometimes add in a steam shower or bath, and just extend the skincare process… usually with a mask and exfoliating treatment!

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been using a few items from Colleen Rothschild–all heavily focused on providing maximum moisture to the skinall made without Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates, Triclosan, Formaldehyde, PABA, Animal Products, Toluene, and Benzene.

My at-home spa night skincare routine:

  • Step 1: Cleanse with Balancing Gel Cleanser –> not too drying
  • Step 2: Exfoliate with Dual Enzyme Polish –> gentle enough on my super sensitive skin
  • Step 3: Mask it up with Intense Hydrating Mask –> my skin feels so dewy after using
  • Step 4: Lightest moisturizing layer with serum Face Oil No. 9 –> goes on light but packs a punch
  • Step 5: Apply this ultra rich moisturizer Extreme Recovery Cream –> a little bit goes a long way. Will be taking this with me to the hospital as I’ve heard the rooms get super dry!

I’ve talked about it before, but I have had crazy dry skin that’s been made severely worse by this never-ending winter (and dry heat constantly running in the house) and 10x more by pregnancy. The Recovery Cream is one of the few moisturizing products where I don’t feel like I need to apply it twice for it to really do its job.

If my skin ever gets back to its usual, less insanely dry self, I’d swap out the Recovery Cream for Sheer Renewal Cream. Bonus points the packaging is beautiful. 🙂

GET 20% full-priced items at Colleen Rothschild using code: ALAINA20!


2. Design Scheming in Photoshop

I know I’ve mentioned we’ve been looking at homes, most of which require some updating (some which require a lot). And any time we find one we’re remotely interested in, I get to work scheming up how I’d make it our own. So many of you message and ask what app I’m doing these mock-ups in but it’s actually a decently complex process I do in Photoshop involving a lot of layers, cutting, copying, and about a dozen other processes to transform a photo of the place. (Fortunately after years of working in the program, I’m pretty fast at it, but I wish there was a more simple method like an app I could share!)

I’ll usually do this process to a main room like the living room or kitchen – and I edit in details, change colors, flooring, appliances, to get an idea of what it could be. They’re usually pretty scrapbook looking but they definitely get the point across.

Case in point: we recently looked at this timber loft. It was in great shape but had a very standard build-out, bedroom walls that weren’t enclosed, and the kitchen and baths were quite outdated. So I looked on Pinterest for inspo, and dreamed up what this place could be if done right. The verdict was it could be really cool.

This kind of design process is really fun for me! Another hobby if you will. The focus and task at hand distracts me from any other worry or stressor going on. If only I could pour myself a glass of wine while I did it, I’d really be in heaven. 🙂


3. Swimming

I’ve never been an avid fitness enthusiast. Spending 45 minutes on a machine watching the time slowly go by as my muscles start cramping and I swear was never my idea of… fun, per se.

I do like yoga. I like running. I do love dancing but can count on one hand the number of dance classes I’ve taken in the past decade. Sad.

But swimming?! Oh how I love swimming. I am a fish in water. Not a ton of pool options around Chicago but  the Equinox Gold Coast location has a really nice one that I’ve been using during this pregnancy and as soon as I jump in and get going, stress just melts away. And getting to the gym to swim is easy because it’s fun – I WANT to go swim. It doesn’t feel like a chore or something I dread.

So I guess my advice is what people have always said to me… you just need to find the thing that works for you. The thing that gets you moving that you actually enjoy doing. Don’t force yourself to get on an elliptical for 45 minutes if it makes you miserable.


4. Comedy Binging: Friends, The Office, Mindy Project

Yes. I am listing TV as a stress reliever. More specifically – COMEDY. It works, people!

I’ve touched on this in Instagram stories but whenever I feel stress or anxiety or worry creeping up–normally at night–I just need to turn on one of my go-to comedy favorites and it kind of turns the worry off. The familiar characters and easy humor almost resets my stress and reminds me not to take things so seriously – particularly whatever it is that has me worried. I especially love how Mindy Lahiri handles stressful situations… she literally brushes every possible thing off and it reminds me to do the same.


5. Cleaning and Organizing

This is the Monica Gellar in me. Sometimes if I’m stressed or overwhelmed, the simple act of completing a task helps me feel like I’m making progress. Cleaning the house, organizing a mess that has been sitting around or an area that’s gotten cluttered, vacuuming… it brings me peace. 🙂 Anyone else?

What are your go-to methods for relieving stress? Do you do any of these? Or have other ideas for me?


This post was in partnership with Colleen Rothschild but all of the opinions within are my own (as always)!

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