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.
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.
Even better, combine 1 and 2!
Relax without alcohol #3. Catch up with a good friend over some grub.
(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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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