Relax
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When life gets stressful – as it often does – calm and relaxation quickly go out the window. You need to reduce stress to get them back.

Whether your stress comes from work, family, school, health, or just the hustle and bustle of 4 million residents and 16 million annual visitors crammed in the Valley, even a short break can often help you get a handle on things.

Here are some places in the Valley you can go to calm your mind and de-stress. And we know that spending money can also stress people out, so we tried to pick places that are inexpensive or free.

Japanese Friendship Garden

Ro Ho En is beautiful even when the temps are soaring in summer.
Photo by japanesefriendshipgarden.org

Greenery, koi ponds, a gentle waterfall, and authentic Japanese touches make this a great spot to stroll around, or grab a bench for some quick meditation or quiet reflection. If you plan ahead, you can participate in a session of Tai Chi or yoga, or drop by the tea house for an authentic Japanese tea ceremony.

Location: 1125 N. 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, October 1 to May 31
Cost:
Admission: $5; $4 seniors, military and students; Free for children under 6. Free on the first Friday of the month, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Guided tours: $8; $7 seniors.
Learn more about the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Guru Nanak Dwala

Guru Nanak Dwara

If you like meditation, but prefer to do it in a group, this Sikh Temple offers free daily services at 5:45 a.m. or 6 p.m. You may also attend one of the primary services on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m. or Sunday at 11 a.m. Meditation services are open to everyone. Following the Friday night and Sunday afternoon services, you can enjoy a free, traditional Indian meal (Guru Ka Langar).

Location: 2302 N 9th St, Phoenix
Cost: Free
Learn more about Guru Nanak Dwala.

Arizona Goat Yoga

Arizona Goat Yoga
Photo by Arizona Goat Yoga

Yoga can provide stress relief on its own, and there are no shortage of yoga spots around the Valley. However, one of our favorites to reduce stress brings in goats for an added dose of soothing pet therapy.

Learn more about Goat Yoga and other creative fitness options in Phoenix.

Hole-in-the-Rock

Hole in the Rock
Joe Flood from Washington, USA/flickr.com

Exercise can definitely reduce stress, and so can panoramic views. One good place to get both, which won’t involve getting in shape first, is Hole-in-the-Rock in Papago Park. Take a short hike up to it and then just sit in the cool shadows as you gaze out over the Valley. During the summer, you can hike as late as 11 p.m.

Location: 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix
Learn more about hiking Hole-in-the-Rock.

Phoenix Art Museum

Phoenix Art Museum

This won’t necessarily be a good place to go if you want to be alone, as the Phoenix Art Museum tends to attract crowds. However, it does offer quiet and plenty of exquisite works for contemplation.

We also recommend you head to the south wing of the upper level and tucked in a corner you will find the installation “You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies.” Stepping into this room feels like stepping into space with stars stretching off to infinity in every direction. If you go in alone, it will definitely make you feel like the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

Location: 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Hours: Varied.
Cost:
Free on Wednesdays from 3-9 p.m.
Learn more about the Phoenix Art Museum.

– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org

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