With cold weather fast approaching, holidays creeping up and the thought of family gatherings making our hearts beat faster, here are 10 stress relieving activities that are simple to do and inexpensive.

Write a gratitude list – write down a list of things that you’re grateful for, such as your friends, your job, and the lady at the coffee shop that always smiles and gets your coffee just right—whatever comes to mind.

Try a new hobby – do something different. It could be a puzzle, filling in crosswords, knitting or taking a cooking course.

Walk – take a brisk walk and focus on your walking and breathing.

Volunteer – sign up for some volunteer work doing something you enjoy. In addition to helping others, this is also a way to meet new people and try something new.

Journal – write down how you’re feeling on a daily basis. Doing this will help you track what days you were more stressed and figure out why.

Meditate – close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes. Just sit quietly and focus on your breathing, taking deep breaths, in and out.

Listen to music – listen to your favourite song. You can also put the song on repeat and sing along.

Garden – plant your favourite flower or herbs and watch them grow over the following weeks. For this time of year a great flower to plant is the amaryllis or the aromatic herb sweet basil. Setting them on a small shelf right by a kitchen window would be an ideal location.

Read – read a book or magazine that interests you or try a new magazine or genre of book that you normally wouldn’t read.

Take a bubble bath – find a scent that makes you smile and indulge yourself.

These are all simple and inexpensive things to do. You just have to make the time to do them. Sometimes we get so busy with our lives doing what we’re supposed to do and always being there for others that we forget we need to be there for ourselves. The more balanced and stress-free we feel, the more we’re able to do, appreciate and enjoy in our life.

image: gardening via Shutterstock