How to relax at home without drinking

Date Published

19th March 2020




Avoid bad habits

If you’re working from home, don’t let bad habits creep in, like sitting with a glass of wine or beer at your computer, and opening a bottle of something when your day is over. Instead, hydrate with water during the day and try alcohol-free alternatives after work. And if you’re not commuting, why not spend that time doing something that gets you moving.” – Elaine

Find new meaning in ‘happy hour’

“Perhaps refocus the meaning of ‘happy hour’ by doing whatever makes you happy for an hour, whether it’s a daily call with your best friend or going for a bike ride. Or celebrate it a bit differently with alcohol-free cocktail recipes, which is something children can get involved with too.” – Cat

Take a long bath

“There are lots of things you can do to relax without drinking. I like to try things that might take up a good chunk of time, like reading or having a long bubble bath.” – Laura

Dust off the exercise equipment

“It’s all about exercise for me. I’m going to dig out the weights bench out of the garage that’s been there for years unused, and try to set myself some goals. There are so many mental health benefits from getting regular exercise.” – Adam

Start a virtual book club

“We were just about to start a social book club here at Drinkaware, and have decided that the isolation won’t stop us. Reading and setting regular video group chats is a great way to relax and spend time with friends, and it doesn’t centre around alcohol.” – Billie

Write and perform a musical

“Set time each day to do something you’ve always wanted to do, like writing a novel or a film script. Writing a musical, and then performing it, is something you could do with the whole family – even virtually!” – Jen

Explore new genres of music

“So much music is accessible online. How about listening to genre you wouldn’t usually listen to, like switching from commercial radio to classical and researching the composers as they come up? I’m also creating new playlists and watching online concerts on YouTube.” – Rick

Get into games

“Board games are having a revival in my house! But I’m also playing them online and inviting friends to join.” – Stevie

Turn your hand to art

“How about art? Such as trying your hand at sketching portraits of your family while you chat on video calls. I’m planning on finally finishing a canvas I started a while ago.” – Bina

Relax the mind

“I’ve started journaling and I’ve ordered an adults colouring book. I find both of these really help me to relax.” – Libby

Use your hands

“I love manual things and I have noticed that the more you need to use your hands the harder it is to reach for a drink! I learnt how to knit when I was a teen so I will be getting my knitting needles out to see if I can improve my skills beyond making scarves and blankets. I’m also attempting recipes that I never usually have time for, for example, making pasta and bread from scratch.” – Diletta

Learn a language

“I imagine it’ll be easy to fall into lazy habits and sit around with a glass of wine so my wife and I are practising our Spanish in the evenings, and as the days get lighter we’ll be out in the garden planting our window boxes and trying to grow tomatoes.” – Ian

Dig through archive film and music

“Getting creative and digging around in the archives are a great way to spend time without having a drink. Like watching a classic film or television programme each week, dancing to old music videos with friends – virtually of course.” – Lizzie

Play or learn an instrument

“Instead of having a drink to relax, I play the guitar. I’m also offering lessons to friends online.” – Alan

Keep to routines and avoid boredom

“Keeping a routine can help avoid drinking out of boredom. Getting up, showering, changing into fresh clothes, exercising when you would have been at the gym – all like you would do normally. Tackling some tidying projects and decluttering the home is also great for mental well-being.” – Jade

Exercise for mind as well as body

“I’ll be taking advantage of online yoga and meditation courses. These are great to relax but also great for our bodies, which might not be moving as much as we would normally do.” – Fenella

Engage the brain

“Find something that engages your mind that you enjoy, like puzzles, sudoku and chess.” – Anthony

Try a new recipe

“I’ll be attempting to make lots of alcohol-free drinks myself, like making my own flavoured tea. When the weather is warm, try letting green tea cool down and add some fruit slices like peaches and strawberries. And when it’s cold, add cinnamon and honey to something like a hot rooibos tea.” – Ivvah

The important bit: the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines recommend it’s safest for both men and women to not regularly drink more than 14 units each week. That’s equivalent to six pints of average strength lager (4% ABV), or six medium glasses of wine (175ml, 12% ABV). Spread your units out over the week and take several drink-free days.