How to relax without alcohol

My Year No Beer (Week 3)

Boom, here we are already with Week 3 of My Year No Beer. This week I am going to be discussing tips on how to relax without alcohol.

The week on the whole has been a good one. Improved connection, mood, health and diet. All the stats I am tracking are definitely showing improvement and I am feeling the benefits of having not drunk alcohol for the last 3 weeks. I am aware though that much like a millionaire who loses it all and has to start again from scratch is likely to make their fortune again because they possess already the knowledge, experience and network to work with.

I feel it’s the same with being alcohol free. I already did over a year alcohol free and I have found it quite easy thus far to make the right decisions to ensure I give myself the best chance of success this time around.

Feeling grateful for feeling like this, it also made me reflect upon how different it was the first time around.

How can I relax instead of drinking alcohol?

I remember asking myself in the early days of my alcohol free journey how can I relax instead of drinking alcohol? I had traditionally been accustomed to having a drink at the end of the day to relax and unwind, which I now know to be false. (Check out last week’s post to learn more about how alcohol can rob you of sleep and increase anxiety.)

The start of my alcohol free journey was not easy, I wasn’t sleeping all that well and I was keen to find ways of relaxing to help me unwind.

There were lots of things that helped me to relax, listening to audio books, reading, going for a walk in the evening, having a relaxing bath and not drinking caffeine after 2pm. All of the above helped me to relax and still do to this day.

Mindfulness will supercharge your relaxation skills

The real relaxation game changer for me was learning about Mindfulness. I was a little hesitant at first and thought it may be just a load of mumbo jumbo. However I gave it a try with an open mind, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was and with a bit of practice I started to feel the benefits from justing slowing down and being in the moment.

I started by listening to an audio book called Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is one of the forefather’s of Mindfulness. I’m so glad I found this book first because it stopped me worrying about my preconceived ideas I was carrying around concerning meditation and mindfulness. It gave me a reassuring and solid foundation for me to build my own mindfulness practice upon.

I also read a book called Mindfulness a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. This book was great because it came with a free CD of guided meditations and an eight week course to get started with.

These two books were all I needed to discover how to relax my mind and my body in a way that needed absolutely no alcohol whatsoever nor any special form of training.

How to relax without alcohol

Alcohol free relaxation tips

Are you thinking to yourself 'how can I possibly relax without alcohol?' I certainly did when I decided to take a break from alcohol for the first time. A few drinks had been my go to way of relaxing for years. It was only when I decided to change my relationship with alcohol I realised I didn't really know much else when it came to relaxation. That's all changed now though. Some of my tips for relaxing without alcohol are as follows.
  • Read a book
  • Take a walk (even better if it is with a friend or family)
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Take up a new hobby
  • Gardening (but be careful not to exert yourself too much before bed)
  • Listen to an audio book
  • Play with / cuddle your pet
  • Yoga
  • Relaxing bath
  • Mindfulness / meditation (my favourite!)

Mindfulness isn’t for me… I can’t meditate…

I now meditate every day, it has become part of my daily routine and I recommend it to anyone. Even if you are busy and can’t find time to sit for an extended period of time, mindfulness is so flexible, you can practice it when you are walking, waiting in a traffic jam or sat on a train.

Not only are the possibilities to practice endless, so too are the benefits of living in the present moment. You learn to see, hear, feel and appreciate so much of life and the world around you which you were oblivious to when you live in autopilot.

I appreciate that some people think they can’t meditate, or perhaps they find it too difficult or too painful to sit still for too long, or maybe they feel like they can’t seem to slow their thoughts down and so on.

What I’d like you to take away from this weeks My Year No Beer if nothing else, is understand, there is no correct way to meditate or be mindful. Whatever you experience is absolutely fine. Just pause and go with the flow. See what comes up for you. Don’t put yourself under any pressure or over think it. It really doesn’t need to be complicated.

Try this simple 1 minute Mindfulness meditation

If you still aren’t sure about meditating or mindfulness, how about trying this simple exercise. It can be done in less than a minute!

  • Just stop for a moment and close your eyes.
  • Listen to the sounds around you for a few seconds and pay attention to how you feel. What can you hear?
  • Can you feel any sensations around your body, in your neck, shoulders, arms or legs?
  • Now take a deep breath and as you breath in say to yourself “breathing in” and as you breath out say to yourself “breathing out”.
  • Do that five times, 10 times or as many times as you can.

That’s mindfulness! Stopping, checking in with yourself and paying attention to your breath. That wasn’t so hard was it??

As my appreciation of mindfulness and meditation has deepened I have also used the Headspace and Calm apps, which really help to get consistent with practice. At the time of writing this, both apps were offering free trials if you’d like to try them, you’ve not got anything to lose.

Let me know in the comments if you have any of your own alcohol free relaxation tips or feedback on this weeks post.

Pillars of Positivity


  • 7.5 hrs (5 x 90 mins sleep cycles)
  • Sleeping better in general but wake in the night still
  • Still an effort to get out of bed
  • Taking a while to get going in the morning


  • Ran 39 Km in a week. Up 15 Km from last week.
  • 10 Km run average speed 5:40 / Km. Running 3 seconds per Km faster.
  • Feeling a little more motivated to exercise


  • 70.5 Kg. Lost 1.5 Kg this week.
  • Varied diet generally eating healthy. Odd ice cream at the end of the day!
  • Still a tendency to fill up at dinner but not snacking between meals.
  • Fasting (16:8). Only water and black coffee in the mornings.


  • Good quality moments spent with the family throughout the week
  • Lots of new online connection on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook Alcohol Free group
  • Few meetings lined up with fellow coaches and fellow creators for this week and next


  • Reading (20 mins / day)
  • Meditation (10 mins / day)
  • Running x 4
  • Personal development

Clear Thinking

  • Feel more patient in general.
  • Feel more positive / energised at times
  • Still distracted from tasks at times, but better focus than last week
  • Definitely getting more motivated to do things. Achieved a lot this week!

Disclaimer: Donating to Pancreatic Cancer UK

The links to the books on Amazon are affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a kick back from any purchases made using the links from this site. I will be passing this on to Pancreatic Cancer UK. So if you do decide to buy anything please know you’ll also be helping a great charity raise highly needed funds. Thank you.