After a long, stressful spent at the office or chasing your kids around some nice cold beers or glasses of wine always seems like the perfect escape. Drinking every now and then is nothing to worry about, but getting into the habit of having multiple drinks a day puts you at risk for not only health problems but the possibility of developing an alcohol dependency. Luckily, consuming alcohol or drugs is not the only way to alleviate the pressures of everyday life. There are much healthier, mentally soothing ways to relax after a long day other than having a drink. Here way has assembled the top ways to unwind that won’t leave you waking up the next morning unable to get out of bed, with a pounding headache.
Watch something funny
A fantastic way to get your mind off of whatever may be worrying you is to focus your attention on an entertaining tv show or movie. Comedies are particularly great, as they will get you laughing which brings feelings of comfort, happiness, and relaxation. The saying “laughter is the best medicine” is not far off, as laughter has been found to decrease levels of stress and pain, boost immunity to disease, release endorphins, and offer even more benefits. Laughter is one of the easiest and most fun ways to relax, that can be accomplished merely by spending time with loved ones, or watching a funny show.
While exercising may not initially sound like the ideal, or the most enjoyable way to de-stress, working your body out in certain ways, such as yoga, can have very calming effects for anyone. Yoga has the ability not only to relax one mentally but physically as well. When doing different yoga poses your mind and body are centered around that current moment, focusing on your breathing and balancing your mind and body. Yoga is often accompanied by meditating, which is essentially a way of relaxing the mind by focusing your attention on specific acts. Meditating brings you into the moment, relieving the anxiety and worry that other aspects of your life may bring.
Simply being in nature offers so many more health benefits than one may be aware of. No matter the activity you are doing outside, being in nature works as a natural stress reliever, helping find inner peace and refresh your mentality. When you’re outdoors hiking, swimming, or walking your dog around your neighborhood, you are taking yourself off the grid, away from technology and the hustle and bustle. One’s environment impacts the levels of stress or relaxation they experience very much. Studies have shown that even just looking at nature can reduce stress, lower heart rate, lift moods, and increase relaxation. Even moving the regular activities you do indoors such as eating dinner or reading can help your attitude and lower the release of stress hormones.
Listen to music
Music is another great way to ease the mind, with slow, calm songs especially having the ability to take your mind somewhere else. Music is an incredibly powerful tool that has been proven to offer relaxing effects and serve as a stress management tool. Studies conducted through Stanford University have found that the impact of listening to music on your brain work to the same level as taking medication would.
Listening to music can slow down an increased heart rate that stress can contribute towards. There are also many sounds that are particularly relaxing, such as the sounds of rainfall and nature. Listening to music or calming sounds is a fantastic, enjoyable way to clear your mind.
Making time to practice self-care every day is a habit that can help keep you in a relaxed state while improving your health and happiness. Relaxing ways to take care of yourself without having to leave your home include taking a bath, doing a face mask, watching the sunset, reading a book, making sure to get enough sleep every night, or indulging in a cup of tea, instead of alcohol. All of these simple acts will bring clarity to your thoughts, and developing a nightly self-care routine will keep you mindful and away from alcohol.
Making the change
While drinking is an undeniably fun time, making the shift to reducing your alcohol intake and unwinding in healthier ways will only benefit you, mentally and physically. These are just a few options for how you can relax, keeping in mind that everyone has personal preferences and that you should find what works best for you! Try one of these relaxation methods today, and leave daily drinking in your past!
Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Recovery, a drug and alcohol recovery center. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years with a new emphasis on recovery. Before his ventures into healthcare, Matthew graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After Duke Matthew went on to work for the Boston Consulting Group before he realized his true passion lies within Recovery. His vision is to save a million lives in 100 years with a unique approach to recovery that creates a supportive environment through trust, treatment, and intervention.