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Alcohol and Mental Health

Stress Management Activities: 10 Alternatives to Alcohol

July 21, 2023
9 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 21, 2023
9 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 21, 2023
9 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 21, 2023
9 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 21, 2023
9 min read

Meet Elsa. She's a powerhouse professional, a devoted mother of two, and a woman who knows the meaning of stress. After a long day of juggling work deadlines and family responsibilities, Elsa used to find solace in the quiet clink of ice cubes against a glass, the smooth pour of a well-aged wine, or the frothy top of a cold beer. But after a while, she noticed she was starting to depend on that drink and so she started to wonder: was there a healthier way to unwind? Could she find a way to relieve stress without reaching for a bottle? 

Elsa's journey of self-discovery and stress management began with the Reframe app. She sought to break the cycle of stress-drinking and find healthier alternatives to alcohol. And guess what? She found not one, but ten different ways to manage stress and improve her overall well-being! So what are some alternatives to drinking alcohol? And what are some fun things to do sober? Let's dive into Elsa's journey and explore some options in more detail.

1. Exercise

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As she wondered how to have fun without alcohol, Elsa found exercise to be a fantastic way to relieve stress. Whether it was a brisk walk in the park during her lunch break, a yoga class after work, or a high-intensity workout at home, physical activity became her go-to. Exercise releases endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators. Plus, it’s a great way to distract ourselves from the stress of the day.

2. Meditation

Meditation became a powerful tool for Elsa to manage stress. It allowed her to quiet her mind and focus on the present moment. With the Reframe app, she could access guided meditations that helped her relax and reduce stress. Even on her busiest days, Elsa made sure to carve out a few minutes to meditate.

3. Reading

After a library visit with her kids, Elsa rediscovered her love for reading. Getting lost in a good book became a great way to escape from the pressures of the day. Whether it was a gripping thriller, a heartwarming romance, or an enlightening non-fiction book, reading reduced her stress by transporting her to another world and escaping her own worries for a little while.

4. Creative Activities

As she wondered what to do instead of drinking, Elsa started engaging in creative activities which helped her express her feelings and focus her mind on something positive and productive. She found that painting, in particular, was a great stress reliever, allowing her to channel her emotions onto the canvas.

5. Socializing

Spending time with her friends and loved ones became a great way for Elsa to relieve stress and learn how to have fun without alcohol. Whether it was a coffee date with a friend, a movie night with her partner, or a simple phone call with her sister, socializing helped her feel connected and supported.

6. Mindful Eating

Elsa started practicing mindful eating, paying attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of her food, rather than mindlessly munching away. This practice helped her enjoy her food more and reduce stress. She found that taking the time to savor her meals made them more satisfying and enjoyable.

7. Nature Walks

Although she was incredibly busy, Elsa started spending more time in nature as often as possible. Being in nature helped her feel more relaxed and grounded, and she found that even a short walk outside could significantly improve her mood.

8. Journaling

As she continued looking for fun things to do sober, Elsa started writing about her thoughts and feelings before bed each night. Journaling became a therapeutic way for her to manage stress. It helped her gain perspective on her worries and she even started to discover solutions to some of her problems. She found that putting her thoughts on paper or a screen made them seem less overwhelming and like she had a degree of control over them.

9. Mindfulness

Whenever she could, Elsa started practicing mindfulness (even at work) by paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This practice helped her let go of negative thoughts and focus on the here and now. The Reframe app offered mindfulness exercises that helped her manage stress.

10. Learning Something New

Elsa decided it was time to learn something new, so on the weekends, she started taking online courses in subjects she was interested in. Whether it was a new language, a new skill, or a new hobby, broadening her horizons became a great way to distract herself from stress. It also gave her a sense of accomplishment and boosted her self-esteem.

Remember, it’s okay to have a drink now and then. But if, like Elsa, you find yourself reaching for a bottle every time you’re stressed, it might be time to try some of these alternatives. The Reframe app can provide you with the tools and support you need to manage stress in healthier ways. So why not give it a try? You might just find a new favorite stress-relief activity!

Discover Better Drinking Habits 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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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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