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Drinking Habits

Alternatives to Alcohol for Relaxation

Published:
July 5, 2023
·
11 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 5, 2023
·
11 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 5, 2023
·
11 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 5, 2023
·
11 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Reframe Content Team
July 5, 2023
·
11 min read

It’s the end of a hard day. You’ve been balancing tasks at work, managing unexpected crises at home, and your to-do list is still a mile long. Your brain is buzzing, and all you want is to relax. Many of us would think about unwinding with a drink — but what if you’re trying to cut back or quit alcohol altogether? No worries! This is your one-stop guide to making leisure time a booze-free zone by finding alternatives to alcohol for relaxation.

Re-Thinking Your Beverage: Best Alcohol Substitutes

Have you bidden farewell to alcohol? That doesn't mean your glass has to stay empty! There's a whole world of refreshing, relaxing drinks to explore that won't leave you with a hangover. Here are some of our favorite alternative drinks to alcohol:

  • Herbal teas: more than just hydration. Herbal teas are a fantastic alternative to alcohol. They're warm, soothing, and come in an array of flavors. Certain herbal teas also pack a relaxing punch. What’s the best tea to replace alcohol? Here are some ideas:

    Chamomile tea is a classic choice. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.

    Peppermint tea is another option. Although it's often touted for its digestive benefits, its refreshing flavor and aroma can also help to reduce headaches and enhance mood.
  • Warm milk: a nighttime classic. While it might seem like a bedtime story cliché, a glass of warm milk can be relaxing. It’s not just about the nutrients in milk — although calcium, magnesium, and potassium do promote sleep. The psychological link between warm milk and childhood can create a comforting and soothing effect.
  • Kombucha: fizzy, sweet, and good for your gut. Craving something fizzier? Kombucha is a sweet, tangy, fermented drink made from tea. It's naturally effervescent, which makes it a great substitute for beer or sparkling wine. Kombucha also contains probiotics, beneficial bacteria that can help maintain a healthy gut.
  • Natural juices: an easy way to relax. Freshly squeezed juices — especially those from fruits known for their calming properties, like oranges and cherries — can be an excellent alcohol alternative. Plus, they have the added benefit of vitamins and minerals.

Enter the World of Meditation

In addition to swapping booze for something new, there are many ways to relax without alcohol. Tons of activities can help you destress even more deeply and serve as great alternatives to alcohol for relaxation — and meditation is one of the best ones.

Remember when meditation was considered “out there”? Well, it turns out that those hippies were onto something. Modern science shows that meditation is a fantastic way to relax. Mindful meditation can help ease anxiety, depression, and pain by slowing your breathing and relaxing your body. This increases the amount of oxygen your brain gets, which leads to a decrease in feelings of anxiety and stress.

You don't need to be a yogi to meditate. Find a quiet place, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths. Focus on your breath going in and out. When your mind wanders (and it will!), gently guide it back to your breath. Learning takes practice, but it’s worth it.

Diagram about alternative non-alcoholic beverage options

Go Green: Spend Time in Nature

Remember when your mom used to tell you to go play outside? She was right! Scientists have discovered that spending time in nature can help lower stress levels, heart rate, and blood pressure. Why? Our brains aren’t wired to be “on” all the time. But our modern, fast-paced life doesn't provide many opportunities to switch off. Nature gives our brains the break they crave.

So, whether you're hiking up a mountain or strolling through a city park, spending time outdoors is a natural stress-reliever. As a bonus, if you can squeeze in a bit of exercise while you're at it — you'll reap the added benefit of endorphins, those wonderful little chemicals our bodies produce when we're active that work as natural painkillers and mood elevators.

To kick the experience of being in nature up a notch, turn off your phone. A break from the digital world can do wonders for the mind and can serve as a great, relaxing alternative to alcohol.

Give Yoga a Whirl

If you’re a fan of stretching your body into a human pretzel, yoga is the perfect fit for you. If not, it’s still worth considering! Yoga combines breathing exercises, meditation, and poses designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. Practicing yoga is thought to help reduce the body's stress responses and improve mood — and it’s a great alternative to alcohol that can provide deep relaxation!

If you've never set foot in a yoga studio, don't fret. You can start with beginner classes or even online tutorials. As you move through the poses, remember to focus on your breathing — it’s an integral part of the practice.

Explore the Art of Sound Baths

If you haven't heard of sound baths yet, you're in for a treat! This unique relaxation technique involves immersing yourself in sounds and vibrations created by instruments like gongs, crystal bowls, and tuning forks. The aim? To help your body move into a deep meditative state. You can find sound bath sessions in many yoga studios, or even access recordings online.

Embark on a Culinary Adventure

How about swapping your drink for a delicious, home-cooked meal? The act of preparing a meal — chopping, sautéing, kneading, stirring — can be therapeutic. Plus, the anticipation of enjoying a delicious dish can certainly boost your mood.

Research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows that small, creative projects make people more relaxed and happier in their everyday lives. And let's face it — a beautiful, tasty dish is a work of art!

Floatation Therapy: Float Your Worries Away

Floating in a sensory deprivation tank might sound like science fiction, but it's an actual thing! In floatation therapy, you enter a tank filled with skin-temperature salt water. Once inside, you float effortlessly. The aim is to limit as much light and sound as possible, helping you enter a deeply relaxed state and serve as a satisfying alternative to alcohol.

In fact, scientific research shows that floatation therapy can significantly reduce anxiety and increase mental relaxation. It might not be your everyday stress-relief method, but it's a unique experience worth exploring!

Add More Laughter to Your Life

The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” is more than just a saying. Laughing not only feels good, but it also brings a host of health benefits. Science shows that laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

Consider joining a local improv comedy group or watching a funny movie. Maybe even try laughter yoga (yes, that's a thing!). Not only will you tickle your funny bone; you'll also do your mind and body a world of good.

Adventure Awaits!

Remember, the journey to a healthier lifestyle isn't a sprint: it’s a marathon. Each small step you take towards finding alternative ways to relax without alcohol is a victory. So, take it easy, be patient with yourself, and find joy in the process of finding ways to relax that are better than booze. You've got this!

It’s the end of a hard day. You’ve been balancing tasks at work, managing unexpected crises at home, and your to-do list is still a mile long. Your brain is buzzing, and all you want is to relax. Many of us would think about unwinding with a drink — but what if you’re trying to cut back or quit alcohol altogether? No worries! This is your one-stop guide to making leisure time a booze-free zone by finding alternatives to alcohol for relaxation.

Re-Thinking Your Beverage: Best Alcohol Substitutes

Have you bidden farewell to alcohol? That doesn't mean your glass has to stay empty! There's a whole world of refreshing, relaxing drinks to explore that won't leave you with a hangover. Here are some of our favorite alternative drinks to alcohol:

  • Herbal teas: more than just hydration. Herbal teas are a fantastic alternative to alcohol. They're warm, soothing, and come in an array of flavors. Certain herbal teas also pack a relaxing punch. What’s the best tea to replace alcohol? Here are some ideas:

    Chamomile tea is a classic choice. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.

    Peppermint tea is another option. Although it's often touted for its digestive benefits, its refreshing flavor and aroma can also help to reduce headaches and enhance mood.
  • Warm milk: a nighttime classic. While it might seem like a bedtime story cliché, a glass of warm milk can be relaxing. It’s not just about the nutrients in milk — although calcium, magnesium, and potassium do promote sleep. The psychological link between warm milk and childhood can create a comforting and soothing effect.
  • Kombucha: fizzy, sweet, and good for your gut. Craving something fizzier? Kombucha is a sweet, tangy, fermented drink made from tea. It's naturally effervescent, which makes it a great substitute for beer or sparkling wine. Kombucha also contains probiotics, beneficial bacteria that can help maintain a healthy gut.
  • Natural juices: an easy way to relax. Freshly squeezed juices — especially those from fruits known for their calming properties, like oranges and cherries — can be an excellent alcohol alternative. Plus, they have the added benefit of vitamins and minerals.

Enter the World of Meditation

In addition to swapping booze for something new, there are many ways to relax without alcohol. Tons of activities can help you destress even more deeply and serve as great alternatives to alcohol for relaxation — and meditation is one of the best ones.

Remember when meditation was considered “out there”? Well, it turns out that those hippies were onto something. Modern science shows that meditation is a fantastic way to relax. Mindful meditation can help ease anxiety, depression, and pain by slowing your breathing and relaxing your body. This increases the amount of oxygen your brain gets, which leads to a decrease in feelings of anxiety and stress.

You don't need to be a yogi to meditate. Find a quiet place, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths. Focus on your breath going in and out. When your mind wanders (and it will!), gently guide it back to your breath. Learning takes practice, but it’s worth it.

Diagram about alternative non-alcoholic beverage options

Go Green: Spend Time in Nature

Remember when your mom used to tell you to go play outside? She was right! Scientists have discovered that spending time in nature can help lower stress levels, heart rate, and blood pressure. Why? Our brains aren’t wired to be “on” all the time. But our modern, fast-paced life doesn't provide many opportunities to switch off. Nature gives our brains the break they crave.

So, whether you're hiking up a mountain or strolling through a city park, spending time outdoors is a natural stress-reliever. As a bonus, if you can squeeze in a bit of exercise while you're at it — you'll reap the added benefit of endorphins, those wonderful little chemicals our bodies produce when we're active that work as natural painkillers and mood elevators.

To kick the experience of being in nature up a notch, turn off your phone. A break from the digital world can do wonders for the mind and can serve as a great, relaxing alternative to alcohol.

Give Yoga a Whirl

If you’re a fan of stretching your body into a human pretzel, yoga is the perfect fit for you. If not, it’s still worth considering! Yoga combines breathing exercises, meditation, and poses designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. Practicing yoga is thought to help reduce the body's stress responses and improve mood — and it’s a great alternative to alcohol that can provide deep relaxation!

If you've never set foot in a yoga studio, don't fret. You can start with beginner classes or even online tutorials. As you move through the poses, remember to focus on your breathing — it’s an integral part of the practice.

Explore the Art of Sound Baths

If you haven't heard of sound baths yet, you're in for a treat! This unique relaxation technique involves immersing yourself in sounds and vibrations created by instruments like gongs, crystal bowls, and tuning forks. The aim? To help your body move into a deep meditative state. You can find sound bath sessions in many yoga studios, or even access recordings online.

Embark on a Culinary Adventure

How about swapping your drink for a delicious, home-cooked meal? The act of preparing a meal — chopping, sautéing, kneading, stirring — can be therapeutic. Plus, the anticipation of enjoying a delicious dish can certainly boost your mood.

Research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows that small, creative projects make people more relaxed and happier in their everyday lives. And let's face it — a beautiful, tasty dish is a work of art!

Floatation Therapy: Float Your Worries Away

Floating in a sensory deprivation tank might sound like science fiction, but it's an actual thing! In floatation therapy, you enter a tank filled with skin-temperature salt water. Once inside, you float effortlessly. The aim is to limit as much light and sound as possible, helping you enter a deeply relaxed state and serve as a satisfying alternative to alcohol.

In fact, scientific research shows that floatation therapy can significantly reduce anxiety and increase mental relaxation. It might not be your everyday stress-relief method, but it's a unique experience worth exploring!

Add More Laughter to Your Life

The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” is more than just a saying. Laughing not only feels good, but it also brings a host of health benefits. Science shows that laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

Consider joining a local improv comedy group or watching a funny movie. Maybe even try laughter yoga (yes, that's a thing!). Not only will you tickle your funny bone; you'll also do your mind and body a world of good.

Adventure Awaits!

Remember, the journey to a healthier lifestyle isn't a sprint: it’s a marathon. Each small step you take towards finding alternative ways to relax without alcohol is a victory. So, take it easy, be patient with yourself, and find joy in the process of finding ways to relax that are better than booze. You've got this!

Relax Alcohol-Free With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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