8 Meditative Activities to Try (That Aren’t Meditation)

Rachel Krause
Candace Napier

Candace Napier

Say what you will about all those proven benefits, but the fact remains that straight-up meditation might not be for everyone. Sure, everyone is capable of doing it, but if you don’t get excited about the prospect of sitting upright with your eyes closed trying not to think for any amount of time, you probably aren’t going to. And that’s fine!

Regardless of whether or not meditation evangelists are willing to admit it, you can, in fact, achieve that level of Zen without just sitting there. Here, eight STYLECASTER editors share their personal favorite ways to get meditative, from exercise and cooking to online shopping and sheet masks. See? So many different ways to bliss out.

Tennis

“Nothing—and I mean absolutely nothing—is as stress-relieving as an hour or two running around the (preferably clay) court. Not only is it incredible cardio, but tennis is a sport contingent on the focused and present mind, so it forces you to be present and concentrated versus circling around the 10,000 other mindless things that seemingly creep into the mind on any given day.” (Jessica Teves, editor in chief)

Cooking

“Mine is a three-way split among playing solitaire, applying makeup for no reason, and cooking. However, I’ve been turning to cooking more and more lately when faced with stress or anxiety. Bad day at work? It’s all in the past, thanks to my shrimp tacos with fresh guac recipe! Bickering with my husband/mom/Verizon rep about something stupid? There’s a homemade tzatziki for that! Too much responsibility piling up at once? Googling “difficult recipes” can help (which, by the way, is how I learned to make a shaky coq au vin). I find that grocery shopping, followed by meticulously sticking to a recipe while blasting music, takes my mind off whatever’s bothering me. Plus, there’s a meal (and wine!) at the end.” (Perrie Samotin, editorial director)

Crafting

“I was raised on Klutz activity books and basically spent my childhood making friendship bracelets and clay figurines, so it makes perfect sense that I find Zen in any sort of crafting kit I can get my hands on. I recently went on a jewelry-making spree with Project DIY’s accessory kits and made myself a handful of statement necklaces, a punk-inspired brooch and a tassel keychain that gets me serious side eye from my doorman, but I love the fruits of my labor. And, unlike my kiddy creations, I actually use the things I make, so my relaxation time is also productive. Win-win.” (Cristina Velocci, managing editor)

Long walks

“I make a point of walking home whenever I can after work, while listening to a podcast or calling my parents or friends back home in Australia. Chatting and walking makes the 45-minute stroll go by quickly, and it helps me relax before I get home.” (Jasmine Garnsworthy, editor)

More cooking

“I like to cook dinner a couple nights a week if I get home from work/gym/events on time—it’s usually worth it for the stress-relief factor even if I end up eating at, like, 10:30 p.m. It’s not necessarily a Zen activity (like when I sliced my finger open cutting mushrooms the other day), but it’s a good way to get my mind off of anything I’m stressing about for an hour or so. Plus, unlike meditation meditation, you can drink wine while doing it.” (Hilary George-Parkin, fashion editor)

Cleaning

“Oddly enough, when I want to take my mind off of anxiety-inducing issues, there’s nothing more soothing than when I reorganize my shoes or scrub my bathroom from top to bottom.” (Cady Lang, social media editor)

Online shopping

“It’s really bad, actually. My favorite thing to do is search multiple sites (I definitely have my favorites) and sort everything from low price to high price. It makes me feel calmer, even if I don’t end up ordering anything.” (Kristen Bateman, associate editor)

A good nap

“I like to put on a sheet mask and lie down for a 30-minute nap! Life feels better after a nap. I like to keep sheet masks chilled in the fridge, so I’ll peel it off my face when it’s all dried up at room temperature.” (Jinnie Lee, creative producer)

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