5 Ways to Unwind Without Alcohol

From a glass of wine before bed to grabbing a beer with friends after work, using alcohol to unwind is a huge part of today’s culture. After a while, you may believe that the only way you can relax and recharge at the end of the day is by drinking. But the relief we feel is just temporary, and consistently reaching for a drink to help you relax or unwind can be harmful for your health.

If you’ve noticed that the main (or only way) you’re able to relax is by reaching for a beer, glass of wine, or cocktail, we have some alternatives you can try.

1. Spend time in nature.

Research indicates that spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Studies have also found that those who spend more time in nature around forests, parks and other places with plenty of trees experience increased immune function.

There are lots of simple ways you can get quality time in nature, here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Start with taking a walk in the woods.

  • Try forest bathing.

  • Move your workout outdoors.

  • Engage your senses, when you are in nature make sure to pause and listen, as studies show that listening to nature sounds like bird songs and rushing water can help lower stress levels.

  • Book a camping trip.

  • If you’re stuck at work or can’t get away to take advantage of a clear sky or calm breeze, consider streaming nature sounds. You can find channels with hours of content to help you unwind or sleep.

2. Try Yoga

One of the main aims of a yoga practice is to be able to slow down, calm the mind and to feel whatever arises for you. Having an alternative way to relax, helps get you into a healthy routine, you can take yourself to a yin yoga or meditation class to unwind, instead of meeting someone at a pub.

Working through difficult sensations in yoga and learning to cope with them through breath and staying in the present moment, allows us to have the ability to cope better with situations in our external lives. For example, when we come face-to-face with something that would usually cause us to drink, like a fight with a partner, we can have the awareness that it might be best for us to leave the situation and have some time alone. We can remove ourselves and sit with whatever feelings come up without needing to use alcohol to get through it.

Not sure where to get started? We have a fellow yogi in the sober book club, check out Krista’s page on Instagram – @soberonthemat

3. Take a bath

Taking a bath really can boost your mood. Make your bath luxurious by adding bubbles, a bath bomb, or Epsom salts, or consider getting a bath pillow. You could try adding essential oils like spearmint or eucalyptus for extra relaxation. You can also pair your bath with a good book or audiobook, candlelight or soothing music.

4. Cooking

Getting creative in the kitchen can be extremely therapeutic – and it’s fun too! A relaxing evening spent cooking and discovering new recipes is a great way to de-stress in a healthy way.

Studies show that people who take their time to finish small but creative projects every day feel more relaxed and satisfied with themselves. Cooking can be that project for you.

5. Write down your thoughts

Getting things off your mind by writing them down may help you relax. When you feel stressed, take a few minutes to write down some short notes about how you’re feeling or how your day is going.

You might do this in a notebook or in a notes app on your smartphone. Don’t worry about being poetic or spelling everything correctly. Just focus on expressing yourself to help relieve stress. You could make it fun and shop for a journal to go with your new hobby, nothing excites me quite like new stationary!

Taking time out for yourself is one of the most important things you should do in life, yet many of us are trying to juggle everything else and do not make any space for 'me time'. Try to look for small opportunities for relaxation. Fifteen minutes at lunch, an hour before bedtime, a few hours on the weekend, the more you fit some quality relaxation time in your life, the easier it will be.

Written by Sarah

Sarah has been sober for over 2 years and lives in Hastings, UK with her husband Jake and their two cats Ben and Jerry. She is also vegan and deeply passionate about animal welfare.

Sarah loves early mornings and will often be up from 5am watching the sun come up, it’s safe to say that sobriety has unlocked the early bird in her!

Since going sober she has been focusing on self-care, taking control of her mental health and setting healthy boundaries, this has resulted in Sarah finding new joy in things such as meditation, yoga, journalling, reading and long hot baths.

Sarah is a keen exerciser and loves to move her body whether that’s going on a long run, dancing round the living room like no one’s watching, or lifting some weights, exercise keeps her sane.

She wants to show everyone that giving up alcohol doesn’t mean you’re missing out on anything, if you want to know more about Sarah check out her webpage: https://linktr.ee/sobersare_

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