How to wind down without a drink – 8 ideas

Coming home from work stressed, or otherwise feeling a need to relax? We all know a stiff drink helps in the short term, but is not such a good idea in the longer term. So what could you do instead? Here are some ideas that work.

  1. Eat food and drink water Our nutrition expert Sam Waterhouse advises that positive food choices can help us unwind and cope better with everyday anxiety. She suggests you fill yourself with nutrient dense foods. So cut out the fizzy pop, reduce the carbohydrates, and instead fill your belly with foods full of vegetables and good oils, like salmon and vegetables. Down a pint of water, and along with a full stomach you are less likely to reach for the bottle.
  2. A bit of mindfulness An ancient practice that is becoming more and more popular. The newly more sober journalist Polly Vernon had this to say about her experiences with the Headspace app. “I emerged from my first meditation session feeling very much like it was not a load of crock: within a week, I was hooked. Something about Puddicombe’s easy breezy, blokey, defiantly non-hippie delivery, or just the act of sitting quietly for a set period of time, resonated with me, sceptic or not.”

Club Soda’s upcoming stress course will teach you a number of techniques that you can use anytime, any place, anywhere. Over four Thursday’s you will come out of October ready to destress without wine.

  1. Exercise You can choose from all kinds of sport and exercise: running, gym, cycling, pilates, the list is endless. Practices that combine a bit of mindfulness or mental attention with the physical movement are particularly effective for relaxing both body and mind. The best-known types of these are Yoga, and Tai Chi and other martial arts.

And you don’t even necessarily have to get to a class. Movement for Modern Life offer excellent online Yoga classes to suit every level of experience. Try Twist to unwind on their 14 day free trial.

It may seem hard at first, but if you are changing your drinking, the combination of exercise and reduction in wine/beer calories will show a bigger pay-off. And the endorphins from exercise will give you a natural high.

  1. Look ahead Have nervous energy at the end of the day? Then utilise it to sort out things in advance for the following day. Make your lunch, pack your work bag, do a few of those niggly errands and the satisfaction of being ahead of yourself will make the moment when you sit down and finally relax all the more sweeter.
  2. Turn on some tunes or have a laugh! When has a blast of music not cheered you up? Combine it with a few pre-emptive tasks (see above) and you have a win-win situation. Making the most of technology on offer, you can build yourself an uplifting and/or relaxing playlist ready to play when you most need it, or get onto iPlayer and listen to some comedy.
  3. Put what’s worrying you, or indeed what makes you happy, into words Writing or talking about the things that prey on you may make them seem smaller. You can use a diary, your check-in page in Club Soda, or sharing your thoughts with others in the Club Soda online Rooms. Read Lior’s blog about how making a list of things that made her happy was not only a great process, but is now her personalised manual for dealing with stressful and unhappy times.
  4. Get a massage You must have saved a few quid from not buying alcohol. Boffins haven’t figured out why having your body pressed and prodded works wonders, but they know that it does. Whatever it is you fancy, a full-body massage, pedicure, manicure or facial – all are great ways to unwind. And don’t forget that hugging is completely free and works in exactly the same way!
  5. Be in nature Our expert member Andy Jaeger is a big believer that just being outside and connecting with nature can relax you and make you happy. In fact many of the top things that will make you happy involve being outdoors.

Intimacy, making love * Theatre, dance, concerts * Exhibitions, museums, libraries * Sports, exercise * Gardening, allotments * Singing, performing * Talking, chatting, socialising * Nature watching * Walking, hiking * Hunting, fishing.

Club Soda helps you change your drinking whether you want to Cut Down, Stop for Bit, Quit or Stick.  They are running a 4 week course on dealing with stress without alcohol starting on October 8th


Laura Willoughby

Laura Willoughby MBE is founder of Club Soda and is on the City of London Angel Academe mentoring scheme for small businesses. Club Soda helps you change your drinking whether you want to cut down, stop for a bit quit or stick. They run socials, workshops and an online service to help individuals and an innovative workplace scheme to help employees change the culture of drinking in their company.