How to relax without alcohol with my top 5 tips
It seems nowadays that having a drink is the answer to relaxing. However, “how to relax without alcohol” is being asked more here at the blog as the world does seem a bit more stressful right now.
It is easy to reach for a beer or wine and think that is the answer. Of course as someone who now does not drink as it’s zero alcohol for me, I have a great choice of alcoholic free options but nothing replaces my following top tips!
Each one is very practical and with a bit of practice you can build them into a habit and as we know habits are king!
Take some exercise – anything will help
My first ever coach said to be something that will stay with me forever which is “the mind and body are one system”. So if you change the way you physically are then the chemicals in your body and brain will change as well.
Have you ever walked the same way as someone else who is down or fed up? No?
Doing it will give you a brilliant insight into how people are feeling. I did it once on a course and I was shocked how different I felt.
Next time you feel like having a drink, go and stand up, walk, dance, just do anything that changes your state. I often shove on my Spotify and dance like somebody’s watching let alone nobody’s watching.
Now before you develop a 10 point training plan just don’t if you are not used to exercise. Just don’t you won’t do it.
Just starting small, in fact even a short walk or climbing stairs can take the desire to drink away and help you to begin to relax naturally.
After all it is easy to sit back, unlock your Netflix account and down a bottle of wine.
Drop your media consumption by at least 50 per cent!
Now I am from a big media background but I say this with kindness and it’s also backed-up by brain research. Being connected is a good but over connection is not good as you sit with an alcoholic drink in your hand going through the same old Facebook posts time and time again. Do you find yourself:
- Obsessed by breaking news
- Going through every tweet and getting angry then responding or dwelling on it
- Waiting for the next click on Facebook or like on Instagram
- Watching the most depressing TV shows
It is designed to keep us hooked but it ain’t always good for our mental health and guess what the more anxious we get the more you might be inclined to have a drink.
I actually know a couple who will communicate with each other when one is in the bedroom and one is in the living room via social media. Who said the art of conversation was dead!
Picking up the phone and chatting nowadays well it’s quite a lift for many people.
And it seems the Doctors agree:
“There is a fine line between being an informed citizen and making yourself crazy with all the headlines and social media conversations,” Dr. Linda Anegawa, told USA Today. “These activities can become not only a time suck, but it can drain your emotional energy.”
Spot on I would say!
Our brain starts making connections so we get stuck in a so-called negative loop particularly if your world is framed by news every day. Yes it is important but restrict it so what you believe is the whole picture and not just what you consume.
There is another world out there that will have plenty of upbeat people who don’t drink!
Cook something like anything
“Cooking” as once was said is good for the soul.
Now before you think I am some great TV chef, I could not cook to safe my life.
My mum was great at baking and my Dad was good with a brick hammer. Neither gene made their way to me when I was born.
However, we can all make something and it can be very relaxing so find something that you can do and keep practicing it.
Watch a YouTube channel if it helps!
I had a friend who went on a cooking holiday and said it was the most relaxing time they had ever had!
Now my dish is chilli con carne and the mere thought of cutting up an onion can make a difference. But here is the trick: don’t have a drink while doing it or choose from my recommendations for alcohol free wine or beer.
After my liver failed and I went alcohol free it has certainly been a great social addition.
By the way 1 cube of dark chocolate is great for a mood enhancer but make sure it’s just one cube and it has lots of antioxidants.
Eat good food – Drink Water
Most of our body is made of water and yet many people just drink alcohol to quench their thrirst. Bad idea!
Alcohol dehydrates our body and if you have ever seen a very dried vegetable just think what alcohol is doing to our insides. I know when I was in hospital getting treatment for my liver that they would measure my fluid intake and boy did it make a difference.
If you ever want to check it the best indication of dehydration is to look at the color of your pee. I have written about it here.
If you are dehydrated it’s really easy to go for alcohol or food when you really need water.
The same is true for food, have you ever had a meal that has made you feel slightly anxious or down. I know the more salt and sugar I have can raise my mood in one moment and then I come creasing down the next.
In 2011, I had the pleasure to go on a Turkish Gulet Boat and spent nearly two week island hopping in glorious weather. Now all the cooking was done on board by the captain and two cabin boys.
I thought I would hate it but it was all fresh and even though I eat more that week than ever I lost weight and felt really good.
Of course the weather helped but the food was natural and healthy with plenty of salads. I think I actually drank less as a result ( I drank alcohol at the time).
The fact is plenty of water and good clean healthy eating can help us avoid the drink if we drink alcohol to help us relax.
Author Tara Parker-Pope calls my pattern interrupt by a more simple name it’s called “take a break”.
She basically says “do anything”. When we are in the pattern of relaxing with a drink in our hand just doing anything has an alternative that can be really helpful. They also don’t have to be dramatic either :
- Go for a walk
- Call a friend
- Have a shower
- Have a bath
- Listen to music
- Call someone out of the blue ( no-one ever does this)
- Wrap an elastic band around your wrist and flick it when you fancy a drink
- Dance around your living room
- Put a radio station on that you would not usually listen to like a classic station or rock station maybe
The bottom line is shake yourself and build a new habit. Your brain likes taking shortcuts and once you interupt that time and time again your brain will begin to create new ones.
You have a hundred, a thousand and a million of new neurons inside your brain and if you use alcohol as a default to relax well you need to create a new muscle like an alternative response.
Just do something. Anything, interpret that pattern!
I hate house work but…
I am personally hopeless at house work, house cleaning, de-cluttering, whatever you really want to call it. Yep I hate the thought.
However, it has now been proven by psychologists that if you cannot relax due to anxiety and stress having a sort out can help.
The brain likes order and we feel more relaxed a result
Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University told the New York Times that anything that brings order can help and it’s also true about yoga. It creates a sense of calm and order.
I have to be honest before I got very ill with my liver I took all our unwanted books and dvd’s that were just stuck in a cupboard down to the charity shop and I admit I felt less stressed as a result.
The so-called father of coaching Thomas J Leonard was a great believer in self care and the de clutter method and many of his programmes were centered on minimalist living.
I think he may have been on to something!
Now given I have trained in hypnosis I can clearly be a fan.
What if you could cut back on your drinking while relaxing at the same time. All you need is a pair of headphones and a place to not be disturbed for a short space of time.
One of my early mentors Mark Tyrrell has developed a programme around any kind of addiction including eating and drinking less. However, it’s of a double benefit as you can relax, distract yourself from your alcoholic drink and of course reduce your drinking by reprogramming your subconscious mind.
I highly recommend it and I give it 5/5 at my blog. Please note this is an affiliate link but you pay the same and support this blog at the same time.
Just click the banner below. It’s a programme that can be used anywhere and at any time it’s safe to do so.
Sounds weird I know. I was once in a very bad mood on course in London and it was not going well. It probably was but I decided it wasn’t.
A few people suggested going for a lunchtime time drink but one of my colleagues said we should go to a laughter therapy session in a Park in the West of London. I was skeptical but went.
I have never laughed so much so that the last thing I thought about was having a glass of wine. If you have ever stared really seriously … like really seriously….at someone then forced to laugh after a while you just can’t help it.
And of course it does not have to be laughter therapy it can be :
- Cat videos,
- Stand-up comedy
- Making funny faces
- Look up Scott Mills on innuendo bingo on youtube ( he is a radio presenter in the UK)
Remember laughter is the best way to relax without alcohol as it generates its own chemicals without the need for a drink. Once you change your physical state it is impossible not for your brain to also change!
Building a habit is a great way to relax without alcohol and even just one can make a massive difference. Once we do something new our mind and body change. It is certainly worth giving it ago especially if drink is turning into a crutch for you to relax.
And yes it easy done!
Please leave your thoughts on how to relax without alcohol below and I always return the comment and respond. What have you tried that works and helps you relax over alcohol. After all alcohol does not relax us it dehydrates us and is a stimulant.
I look forward to chatting to you.