I'm making an assumption, but I think it's safe to say that 2020 has been a little stressful. Throw in a major election on top of it all and viola! People are at their wits end.

Stress, as we know, is terrible for us. According to healthline.com, stress can cause headaches, heartburn, insomnia, high blood pressure, and so much more. So, here are 5 easy things to do in Kalamazoo to relieve your stress.

1. Yoga 


Confession: I am terrible at yoga. I can't touch my toes, I get lost in my thoughts most of the time and frustrated with the fact that even the beginner moves feel difficult. But, yoga has been proven to relieve stress levels. And according to Yelp, Down Dog Yoga Studio is the top rated in Kalamazoo. They're offering online yoga classes 7 days a week to remain safe during the pandemic. You can find class times, pricing and more on their website.

2. Pick up a good book


Finding the time to read when you're an adult is challenging to say the least. When I was a kid I would, easily, read a new book a month. Now? It's a miracle if I get through a few chapters of one book in a month. But, it does provide a kind of escape which might be useful in dealing with stress. This is a Bookstore and Bookbug, rated 5 stars on Yelp, is described as an independent, community bookstore. They even have a little cafe where you can enjoy coffee, tea, and sandwiches. Find all their information here.

3. Hang out with an animal


Are animals the cure for every sad/stressed out feeling? In my book, yes. But, I'm no scientist. However, at healthline.com, they say that "Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood". Good enough for me. If you have a pet at home then this is easy for you. Just go home and cuddle your pet. If you don't, you still have options here in Kalamazoo. You can volunteer your time at the SPCA of SW Michigan to hang out in the cat room or help them with walking dogs. If that seems like too much of a commitment, you can book a day at Kzoo Cat Cafe where you can drink your coffee and play with cats at the same time.

4. Take a sniff of your favorite candle


Aromatherapy has long been used for stress relief. I mean, how many of us know someone currently selling essential oils? It's a booming business right now because a lot of people believe that it works. Personally, I'm not sure. But, I do know that my mood is instantly a little better when I walk in to my favorite candle burning in my home. Locally, you can pick out your new favorite at Kalamazoo Candle Company. And if you don't like one of their scents you can make your own!

5. Get outside and take a walk


This is my go-to when I'm feeling stressed out. Wandering through a nature trail and listening to the birds with the breeze on my face as I block out the rest of the world is my happy place. Kalamazoo has a plethora of nature trails, hiking and biking trails and nature preserves. In fact, there are a few hidden gems you should check out before it gets too cold.

There are a lot of different ways to relieve stress. For more inspiration, click here.

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