17 Feb 10 Ways to Relax This Half Term without Alcohol
With half-term fast approaching, it can be tempting to have a drink on an evening as a way to relax, but it is important to remember that there are plenty of other ways you can feel zen, without grabbing that nightly glass of wine.
With this in mind, Addiction Specialists at Private rehab clinic Delamere have compiled a list of 10 alcohol-free ways you can relax this half-term break, if you are trying to cut back on your consumption.
Yoga has many health benefits including mental and physical relaxation and can be easily participated in from the comfort of your own home. Whether you are a beginner or a yoga enthusiast, routines vary in difficulty and there are lots of entry-level tutorials available online to get new starters going.
Yoga is often used as part of addiction recovery, as it helps to regulate stress hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. The method of relaxation helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings for alcohol and provides a healthy outlet to cope with potential triggers and every-day stress.
Go for a walk and get some fresh air
A walk outside is a great way to fill your lungs and free your mind, as doing so releases the brain chemical endorphins that stimulate relaxation and elevate your mood. Your walk doesn’t have to be strenuous either to enjoy the benefits of endorphins, you can simply put on your favourite podcast or audiobook and enjoy a leisurely stroll.
Have a bath
A soothing bath helps you to switch off and unwind, as submerging your body into water can not only reduce inflammation and muscle aches, but it also calms the nervous system and reduces stress levels. There are also a wide variety of calming bath oils and salts that you can add to your bath for additional relaxation.
Read a good book
Reading allows your mind to escape to a quiet place and switch off from the world for a few hours, but it also has many relaxation benefits on the body too, including slowing down your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles to help you relax.
Incorporating exercise into your daily routine not only boasts a variety of health benefits, but it also promotes relaxation too, reducing levels of stress hormones in the body like adrenaline and cortisol. Whether you choose an exercise class, a bike ride or even a run, exercise will not only reduce your body’s stress hormones but it will also benefit from the production of endorphins.
Meditation is another great way to relax and unwind on an evening, as it helps you to silence any noise in the brain and focus. There are lots of apps you can download to get you started on your meditation journey that will help you to relieve stress, and improve your focus and self-awareness.
Practise deep breathing
Deep breathing also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a quick and easy way to relax at the end of a day. Proven to reduce stress, calm nerves and make your body feel more relaxed, you can practise a deep breathing session for as little as 5 minutes or as long as 20 minutes.
Laughter is the best medicine
Putting on your favourite comedy show at the end of the day can be more than just light-hearted entertainment, laughter has many calming qualities too, including relieving your stress response, stimulating circulation and helping with muscle relaxation.
In fact, laughter has plenty of mental health benefits and is laughter therapy is often used as a treatment option for addiction, as it releases “feel good” hormones into our body called endorphins. When these hormones are released into our bodies, we experience feelings of happiness, relaxation, overall mood improvements, and lowered symptoms of depression.
Spend time on your favourite hobby
Dedicating your time to something you enjoy like playing an instrument, painting, cooking, or gardening can significantly lower your blood pressure and reduce the level of stress hormones in your body.
Spend some time with animals
Spending time with animals, whether that is stroking them, playing with them or even cuddling them, can lower levels of cortisol, whilst boosting your levels of oxytocin (the hormone that helps you relax) at the same time.
If you love horses then spending time with them can not only improve your social skills but have great benefits for you mental health too. Equine therapy is a widely used therapeutic tool that involves building up a relationship with horses, involving stroking, grooming and trust-building.