Posted by on 5/3/2020 to Let's Talk: Relax, Soak and Unwind after Work
Fun Stress Relief Activities for Groups
Stress can hit you at any time during your life and let's face it, everyone learns to cope with it in a different way. There are many things that you can do as an individual to try and combat the stressors that you face.
Let's Briefly Talk Stress, Shall We:
The Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) discusses stress, as a response of the body in which brain chemicals, called hormones are released. These stress hormones travel throughout the body, oftentimes resulting in an elevation in heart rate, breathing, and tensing of the muscles. This reaction is a natural occurrence of the body, called "fight-or-flight" response.
If this is a natural occurrence why or under what circumstances is it bad?
Good question, this system of "fight-or-flight" is natural and helps prepare the body to protect itself during states of stress, so short durations of this is in fact, okay. Examples of when the body may respond could be as simple as performance at work or school, all the way to a traumatic life event (like a divorce or natural disaster), NIH explains. People face stress everyday in their lives in some fashion, which is relatively normal.
However, long-term stress and activation of this pathway can become harmful if sustained. According to CAMH, long term impact of stress can both increase the risk of mental health problems and medical problems (like cardiovascular, digestive, immune, sleep and reproductive health issues).
Related Article: Ways to Cope & Deal with Stress During COVID-19
What are common healthy ways to manage these stressors?
Some of the more common healthy ways of coping with daily stressors include, healthy eating, physical exercise, distancing yourself from social media or traumatic news stories, talking or sharing your problems with others (friends, counselor or doctor), and avoiding things like drugs and alcohol.
Trying to face stressors alone is not always the easiest thing. Surrounding yourself with friends or family members that are in a good state of mind and active in their own lives, really helps us when times get tough, and can help us get through stressful points in our lives.
What follows in this article are ways that you can cope with or deal with stress, not by yourself, but in groups. These are our top 7 fun group games and/or activities that may add the little bit of relief you need in those stressful moments.
Probably one of the most well known stress relievers that's not just effective, but fun to do in groups, is group meditation. One of the best parts of this ancient tradition is it's versality and the fact you can practice anywhere (like walking meditation), and you need very little equipment to do so.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and is still used in many cultures all over the globe. Many may think meditation only has it's place in religious or spiritual ways, but this is not the case. Meditation can be practiced by anyone, to help anchor ourselves in the here and now, as well as to support lowering stress levels, understanding pain, improving focus, mindful.org explains.
A well known style of meditation is one that uses some sort of guided audio or voice, especially in group sessions, or if you're new to the practice. This process otherwise known as guided meditation, can be vital, as the "meditation leader" can really help to talk you through a session in a way to keep you on track and focused. Some other forms of meditation include that of; transcendental meditation, mantra meditation, and body scan meditation, just to name a few.
Much like the practice of meditation, yoga is another mindfulness practice that can yield stress reducing results, as well to help find inner peace. The convenience factor of yoga makes it a favorable activity, as it can be practiced not just in a studio or gym setting, but you'll find many online groups, and yogi's practicing at their home, using services such as YouTube to stream sessions. The focus of many paths or styles of yoga focus on postures (called asanas) and breathe (called pranayama) as you journey through each routine.
Yoga in a group setting can also be rewarding in that you have like minded people around you wanting to achieve similar goals. Group yoga can promote cooperation and build deeper connections among yogis. Paths of yoga include; Hatha yoga, Hot yoga, and Vinyasa yoga to name a few.
So grab your yoga mat and get to it!
This is a really fun activity that you can do in small or large groups. Heck, you can even find apps to help put together clues or give you treasure hunt ideas. Make small clues and send texts to your group of friends. Make this a really fun social activity to take your mind off daily life.
You can separate into multiple teams and make a series of clues, and the first ones to answer a question, find all of the information, or find the missing item, wins!
Exercising is more times then not, fun when you have people around, to push you and get you through a tough workout. Types of group exercises can include; indoor or outdoor cycling, boot-camps, dance, hiking, joining a community soccer league, softball, kickball league, Pilates, aerial fitness, pole fitness, or even obstacle courses.
Let's face it, exercise is "key for your head, just as it is for your heart". It's not just an activity to help lead to a more healthy physical self, it's an activity that overtime (even short term), can help psychologically, including stress. There are studies that support "regular exercise as a way to protect against the negative emotional consequences of stress", as well.
Uncontrollable stress changes eating patterns, according to one specific study, and vice versa, eating poorly can increase the way our bodies react to stress. It truly can be a vicious cycle.
Another fun and valuable activity that you can do in groups is coming up with healthy meal plans. Diet is oftentimes overlooked when it comes to managing our stress, however eating healthy builds a foundation for your body that can make it more effective at decreasing even side effects of stress, like inflammation and/or weight gain.
However, one of the difficulties of meal prepping, is having the time to complete it. Not to mention many find this tedious and quite a bit of work compared to grab and go situations. Doing this task, in a group, or even just sharing ideas, could make the process easier and more efficient and can be a great practice for sticking to a healthier way of eating.
This could be made into a really cool weekly activity, plus you get to experiment with foods you may have never tried, and step-up your cooking game.
Are you the crafty type or artistic type? Can you find a local group of people that get creative on a weekly basis?
You could come up with different themes every week and create DIY projects or cool art projects to share with one another over a glass of wine.
Use different materials like, wood, resins, or even concrete crafts. You can find a ton of concrete crafts on YouTube.
Stress relief games for groups: Board game night, or trivia night. This is an oldie, but a goodie, who doesn't like game night!?
Turn this into a social group, get out there and meet people who enjoy doing similar things as you. Have a weekly game night at your house or find another social group that meets weekly at local restaurants, or other outdoor activity games that meet on a consistent basis.
These are just a few thoughts on some fun stress relief activities you can do with groups, or friends. There are literally thousands of ideas, but sometimes the most well known and simplest ideas are best and easiest to produce. Who knows, maybe one or two of these activities will become a regular occurance within your life, leading to a happier or healthier you!
We hope you enjoyed our post, and we look forward to having you again soon, take care. Now get out there and have some fun!