Have you ever reached for a beer or glass of wine after a stressful day? Turning to alcohol when stressed can seem like an easy way to relax, but it won’t help in the long run.
Regularly drinking more than the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMOs) low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units a week could make feelings of stress harder to deal with.1,2,3
Why alcohol makes stress worse
Alcohol is a chemical depressant.
Alcohol disrupts the delicate balance of chemicals and processes in your brain, affecting your thoughts, feelings and actions– and sometimes your long-term mental health.4
Even though you might think a drink can help you relax, in fact over time, regularly drinking to deal with feelings of stress can interfere with what your brain needs for good mental health as well as disrupt our sleep, making stress harder to deal with.5
How to deal with stress without drinking
Drinking alcohol to relieve stress doesn’t work in the long term. There are far more effective ways to deal with feelings of stress.
Tips to reduce stress without alcohol:
- Try doing some exercise. By changing your scenery and going for a brisk walk or playing your favourite sport can help clear your head of the day's worries.
- Relaxation methods, such as meditation or yoga, breathing techniques or a warm bath can all be helpful when you feel worried or anxious.
- Do something that makes you happy, such as playing your favourite music or watching some comedy.
- Writing down your thoughts and feelings or talking to somebody you know about how you’re feeling is also a positive thing to do.