A question I get asked a lot is how do you relax without alcohol?
In fact, how do I relax without alcohol is a question I asked myself in the months leading up to and the first few months without booze.
I didn’t drink alcohol everyday, but it was a core part of my relaxation routine. Feeling stressed? Glass of wine. Feeling anxious? Glass of wine. Had a bad day? Glass of wine. Had a terrible day? Glass of wine. You get the picture.
Alcohol helps us to self-medicate our minor (and major issues) and can often become a crutch for relaxation. 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.
There are many ways to relax without alcohol – and waking up after your bad day without a hangover gives you a much better chance of having a good day!
Here are 5 of my favourite ways to relax without alcohol:
1.Read a good book
Sounds obvious I know but it’s one I often put off in favour of scrolling through my phone. If you can leave your phone in another room, light a candle (I love this Mojito smelling one from Find Me A Gift) and settle down with a good book.
2.Take a long bath
Baths are often my go-to way to relax without alcohol. I recently moved back to my parents house and their bathroom is being redone and I have missed being able to have a bath so much!
Turning the taps on, running the bath, placing your dressing gown/towel on the radiator or heated towel rail so it’s warm when you get out of the bath all add to the relaxation for me.
Lighting a candle and picking up a book or magazine you want to read and then shutting yourself away for however long you can manage can help you to relax.
To add to the experience I love using bath oil or bath salts. Three of my current favourites are Westlab Magnesium Flakes to help destress and unwind, Chris James Detoxifying Buddhi Bath made with himalayan pink salt with essential oils including juniper, patchouli, frankincense, vetiver, and lemon and for an extra special treat Olverum bath oil which contains 10 essential oils and is like bath nirvana!
3.Get Outside and Go For a Walk
Locate some green space, put your shoes on and get outside to go for a walk. When I lived in the city (London sigh), I often used to walk home if I had had a stressful day. Yes it took a long time but by the time I made it home I’d always feel loads better.
Sometimes putting on a podcast or listening to an audiobook can help to clear your head and enable you to relax without alcohol.
4.Practice yoga or any exercise you enjoy
I’m a yoga teacher so naturally my recommendation for relaxation is going to be yoga, but if yoga isn’t for you then any exercise you enjoy – running or zumba or crossfit or anything else – can help you relax and unwind.
I love yoga because it takes me completely out of myself, but running and other forms of exercise do that for other people. Roll out your yoga mat or put on your running shoes for some activerelaxation.
If you’d like to try yoga but have never tried it, come to one of my classes if you’re based in East Anglia or hop on over to Movement for Modern Life, they have a fantastic selection of beginners classes.
5.Meditate and/or Practice Yoga Nidra
Sometimes when I’m restless or stressed or anxious, the last thing I want to do is meditate. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing to do – in fact it probably means I need to do it more.
Getting you bum sat down and focusing on your breathing can help you relax. And in fact, a recent study found that mindfulness helped heavy drinkers to reduce their drinking so it may have a dual purpose on your quest to relax without alcohol.
I recently discovered the Insight Timer app (yes I know where have I been) and I love it! It’s a free app that you can download on your iPhone (I think they also have an android version). Insight offers thousands of guided meditations, as well as a meditation timer with different music if you want to do your own thing.
Insight also has some guided yoga nidra experiences on the app, and you can find others on Movement for Modern Life and Youtube. Yoga nidra is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, like the “going-to-sleep” stage. It is a state in which the body is completely relaxed, and you become systematically and increasingly aware of the inner world by following a set of verbal instructions. So it’s a bit different from meditation and I find it incredibly relaxing.
There are plenty more ways to relax without booze, in fact I think I could have kept writing this post forever but I’ve chosen my current favourites! I’d love to hear how you relax without alcohol? Let me know in the comments or chat to me over on Instagram.
Lots of love, L xx