Alcohol-Free Ways to Unwind

Have you ever poured a glass of wine after a long, stressful day and said to yourself, "I deserve this"? We certainly have. But as we started to explore our relationships with alcohol, we also realized that this evening habit wasn't the best way to cope with stress.  

Unfortunately, unwinding with alcohol is normalized. No one blinks twice when you say you want a strong drink after a crappy day. 

Alcohol is often glamorized in the movies and on social media. As if having an extra dry martini sitting at the bar after a difficult day at work or cracking open a bottle of wine with your roommates are the only ways to feel better. 

But wait, even though sipping on your favorite drink might seem like the only thing that will help, it really isn't. Alcohol is a depressant that disrupts the balance of chemicals necessary for optimal brain function. And by creating a habit of drinking alcohol after a bad day, all you are doing is contributing to a cycle of increased use that creates dependency.  

You don't need alcohol to reduce stress and end the day on a better note. In fact, not using alcohol as a coping mechanism will contribute to better levels of overall well-being. 

So instead of pouring yourself a drink, why not try something new next time you feel stressed?

1. Soak Your Cares Away 

After a long, hard day, there's nothing like soaking in a warm, bubbly bath to wash away your worries. Create a mini oasis in your home with scented candles, essential oils, and some relaxing tunes in the background. Sink into the warmth, and let the calming waters do their magic. You'll emerge from that tub feeling rejuvenated and ready to conquer the world (or at least your next Zoom meeting).

2. Dance Like Nobody's Watching

You might be thinking, "Dancing, seriously? How can that help?" Well, dancing is the ultimate stress reliever. It's time to put on your favorite playlist, blast the volume, and let your body move. Just let loose and feel the endorphins flowing. The joy you'll feel is like a double shot of happiness without the hangover. 

3. Meditate

Meditation might sound daunting, but there are so many different ways to meditate that there's something for everyone, even if you're brand new to the practice. We recommend using Insight Timer to find a few meditation teachers that resonate with you and address the type of stress you're experiencing. 

When you begin to meditate, remember to be patient with yourself. It's normal for your mind to start to wander. When it does (trust us, it will), gently bring yourself back to the present moment. 

Meditation is like hitting the "reset" button for your brain, and you'll feel calmer and more at peace afterward. It's important to carve out at least five minutes each day to find stillness. By cultivating a daily meditation practice, you'll be able to reduce overall stress levels throughout your week, not just on the days when you're overwhelmingly stressed. 

4. Hug a Furry Friend

Whether you have a dog, cat, or bunny, the power of petting is real. Animals have a magical ability to make us feel loved. So go ahead and embrace your furry friend and soak in their unconditional affection. 

No animals in your life, or just not a fan of animals? It's okay. We won't judge! Why not make plans to hang out with a trusted friend instead? Time connecting with loved ones releases feel-good hormones like serotonin and oxytocin. Get intentional with reaching out to your friends during moments of stress and ask for their support. You're not supposed to be able to handle everything on your own. 

5. Break a Sweat

When you work out, you're not only releasing those magical endorphins but also giving your body a chance to release pent-up tension. You know that feeling when you've had a long day, and it's like a thousand knots have taken residence in your shoulders and neck? Well, exercising helps to untangle those knots and leave you feeling loose. 

If you have trouble sleeping at night, opt for a lighter workout. Head to a restorative yoga class or go for a walk. Listen to a soothing playlist, enjoy the fresh air, and appreciate the beauty in the small things around you. 

6. Get Creative

You don't have to be the next Picasso to reap the benefits of getting artsy. Grab a sketchbook, some pencils, or markers, and let your imagination run wild! Draw, doodle, or scribble – it doesn't matter what you create; what matters is that you're expressing yourself. 

7. Laugh Till Your Belly Aches

Laughter is a great medicine, and we're not talking about that cringy fake laugh. We mean full-on, belly-aching, snort-inducing laughter! Put your favorite comedy show on or watch silly videos on YouTube. Laughter helps release those feel-good endorphins, and you'll feel lighter after a good laugh.

8. Recreate Your Ritual 

If you enjoy the act of pouring a glass of wine after a long day, you can still have that ritual. Thankfully, so many delicious non-alcoholic options are now available that taste just as good.

If you're feeling stressed and craving wine, grab a bottle of Joyus instead. Pick out a beautiful wine glass, hold it by the stem, and pour your non-alcoholic wine slowly. Savor each sip and appreciate the moment you’re taking for yourself. Best part of it all? You'll wake up feeling refreshed without any of the negative side effects. 

Next time you feel like alcohol is the only way to calm your nerves, try one of these healthy alternatives instead. We promise you that your body and mind will thank you in the long run!

Written by: Elena Rogers

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