Who do you shower with?

photo credit: Spring Dew

…no, not like that.  What kind of blog do you think this is?!

I mean, who do you think about?

What argument do you play over in your mind?  What hurtful words do you hear on your repeat?  What stinging and witty comeback do you plot in minute detail?  Whose birthday present do you plan?

I’m betting, if you’re anything like me, you don’t shower alone.

I find that, whenever I am without any distractions, my mind leaps to and fro: if I am not ruminating on a conversation I had yesterday, I’m worrying about a meeting I’m having tomorrow.  I am rarely completely in the present.

Having a shower (or a bath) represents one of the only distraction-free times we have on a daily basis.  No phones, no TVs, no laptops; just us and the drum-drum-drum of the water.  I find that my mind tends to go wild.  Sometimes, this can be a good thing; an inspirational thing.  I even planned this blog post in the shower.

But usually, it’s not.

What if we used our shower time for something else?

Something I have been trying lately is to meditate in the shower.

For those who have images of me zoning out only to wake up half an hour later with someone giving me CPR… well that’s not what I really mean by meditation.  I could talk endlessly about this subject, and why meditation and Buddhism in general greatly appeal to me (more on this in another blog post), but for our purposes here, when I say meditation I really mean mindfulness.

Take time to concentrate on what’s going on right now.  With no judgments or values.  The past and the future do not exist, not in any real sense. 

What does the water feel like?

What can you hear?

What does your shower gel/bubble bath smell like?

What do the droplets of condensation on the cubicle door look like?

How does the foam bunch together on your hands?

What is your breathing like?

Be present, in the moment, right now.  Really observe what’s going on.

You will emerge feeling rested, having given your brain a much needed break from all the to-ing and fro-ing.  The health benefits of this sort of meditation are well-documented (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7319043.stm); but I find that the main benefit is just a rest from all that exhausting thinking.

And what’s more, you will have banished everyone else from your shower.  That’s real alone time.


‘Ahhh, that’s better’ – 10 ways to relax without alcohol


When I tell people about my teetotal stint, I am often met with disbelief (not in a good way).  They say things like: ‘But what about Christmas? New Year? Weddings? Nights out?’ etc etc.

But when I press them further, it’s clear that teetotalism doesn’t really baffle them because of Christmas, or weddings.  What they really need is that glass of wine to relax after a long day at work.

I have to say I totally get this.  It’s not often I crave a drink, but when I do it is at random times: a Tuesday evening when I come in from work, or a Sunday afternoon after working on an assignment.  When I’m stressed.  When I just want to relax.

I think what we really crave from alcohol is not a social lubricant, or the ability to dance, but the ‘ahhh, that’s better!’ moment we get from the very first sip. 

But there are other ways to obtain this.  Here are some of my favourite ways to relax without alcohol.

Relax without alcohol #1. Have a bath.

....val la pena di vivere!

You know, the amazing kind: posh M&S bubble bath, lots of candles, a good book, the works. Just try not to, um, set fire to any parts of yourself.

 Relax without alcohol #2. Get lost in your favourite book.

Lunchtime Reader

Even better, combine 1 and 2!

Relax without alcohol #3. Catch up with a good friend over some grub.

frosty chat

Nuff said.

(For more social things to do without alcohol see here)

Relax without alcohol #4. Go for a jog.


Yes, I know, to some this seems as relaxing as pushing drawing pins into your feet. But if you give it a chance, you might find it’s your favourite way to relax after that tough day in the office (preferably not in weather like this).

Relax without alcohol #5. Have a cup of tea.

cafe "Jiboanjiyan" Yanaka, Tokyo

For many, drinking alcohol can become a habit. Getting home = opening a cold one. But conventional wisdom says it takes 30 days to form a new habit. Like Pavlov’s dogs, if you link tea-drinking with relaxation often enough, you will begin to associate the two. (Of course, you might want to replace ‘drinking tea’ with ‘eating chocolate hobnobs’ – whatever your thing is).

Relax without alcohol #6. Get a hobby.

The Artist

What floats your boat? Do you enjoy being creative? Are you good with words? Are you a snooker genius or a darts pro? Getting lost in doing something you enjoy it far more relaxing than alcohol could ever be.

Relax without alcohol #7. Go for a walk


Nothing quite like pounding away those stresses on the pavement and pondering the meaning of life (or what you will have for tea).

Relax without alcohol #8. Sit and breathe

Buddha meditating on a flower, blessed statue wearing a khatag, reaching liberation through meditation, overcoming cognitive obscurations - the Bodhisattva vehicle, Garden for the Buddha, Seattle, Washington, USA

I hesitate to use the word ‘meditate’ – for some this conjures up images of sitting for hours in the lotus position and saying ‘om om om’. I must admit, I struggle with meditation: I have tried it a few times, but my mind is like an unruly puppy and refuses to stay focused on one thing. Nonetheless, meditation is worth a try – just try sitting, calm and still, and keeping your mind focused on your breathing. If done properly, not only is it truly relaxing but it will improve virtually every area of your life. Just try not to put your hip out from crossing your legs for too long.

Relax without alcohol #9. Go out for dinner with your significant other.

Romantic Dinner at The Cliff Bay

Take the person you love out for some good food and meaningful conversation/hilarious banter. Good luck finding a location like the one above, however.

Relax without alcohol #10. Do what couples do once they get home from the romantic dinner. Yeah, you get the idea.

New Picture (30)

So these are just a few ideas. What do you like to do to relax? Feel free to comment below.

(Photo credits from top to bottom: krasi; pinkiwinkitinki; mikecogh; Freelens; onnola; photoantenna; pointin jimmie; Asela; Wonderlane; Porto Bay Trade)

If you liked this you might be interested in 7 Amazing Things You Can Do When You Stop Drinking