Here are some phrasal verbs/idioms that are often used when we’re talking about relieving (reducing) stress.
- “I’m going to treat myself to a piece of chocolate.”
- “Tonight, I’m treating myself to a hot bath and a novel. I haven’t had time to read in two weeks!”
To “treat yourself (herself/etc.) to something” is to do something that you don’t usually do. Maybe you don’t usually do it for time, money, or health reasons.
- “I’m taking a break from the news. I think I’ll go to the gym or take a walk in the park.”
- “My friend’s coming over so I can take a break from watching my daughter.”
- “Playing with my dog lets me take a break from worrying about what is happening.”
To “take a break from something” or “take a break from doing something” means to stop doing it for a while.
- “My son decided to play video games for a while to take his mind off the bad news.”
- “I’m going to bake some cookies to take my mind off things. Do you want to come over and help?”
- “I got my mind off everything by going to the gym yesterday. It was good.”
To “take [your/my/etc.] mind off something” means to make yourself think about something else by doing another activity.
“Get [your/my/etc.] mind off something” is basically the same. Sometimes “of” is used (“take your mind off of something”/”get your mind off of something”).
- “My boss decided to give everyone a break by letting us work from home We still have to work, but we don’t have to go to the office.”
- “Give yourself a break and don’t worry about what other people think right now.”
- “I’m giving myself a break by cooking easy things for dinner.”
There are two patterns here: 1) “give someone a break by doing something” 2) “give someone a break and do something”
Both basically mean the same thing: to make life a little easier by doing something (working from home, not worrying about what other people thing, cooking easy things for dinner).
“Give yourself a break and” may actually mean “both relax a little and do this thing” or “first relax a little, and then immediately do this thing to continue relaxing.” All three ways of understanding the meaning of this phrase are so close that it doesn’t really matter.
- “She’s relaxing with a cup of tea and a book now. Don’t bother her!”
- “I’m so stressed out–I’m going to go relax with some music.”
- “You’ve been working on that for hours. Why don’t you go relax with a video game for a while?”
To relax with something is to relax while you are using/drinking/reading/etc. that thing.
If you’d like to use a verb, use “relax and” instead: “I’m going to relax and watch a DVD.
If you’re stressed out right now, but not in an emergency situation, I hope you can give yourself a break from the stress.
Any questions about how to use these phrases? Just leave a comment!