Odds are, at the end of a long week, you are in deep need of a way to relax. While a lot of people look to alcohol to unwind, there are plenty of other ways to kick your feet up sans booze, if you're looking for them. In fat, if you need a way to mellow out, people on reddit went ahead and shared ways to unwind that don't involve alcohol that can get you started.
Self-care matters. We're workaholics. We're constantly connected. A survey shared by Business Insider and conducted by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair found that more than half of us routinely monitor work emails outside of normal business hours. We're also exhausted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a third of us don't get enough sleep.
But wait, I'm not done. We stressed, too. A survey from the American Psychological Association found that for the majority of Americans, money in particular is a source of stress — sometimes a very significant source.
So we're overworked, underpaid, and probably looking for ways to relax without exacerbating either of those two things — and alcohol, unfortunately, can both tire you out and leave your bank account out to dry. If you're looking to rest up and save a buck by unwinding sans alcohol, here are 11 suggestions to get you started.
1. Play Video Games
I'm more in the "video games rot your brain" school of thought, but I've officially been put in my place. Research from Texas A&M International University suggests that playing violent video games can help relieve stress and depression.
(Side note: To be clear, other research shared by USA Today has said the exact opposite — that violent video games can lead to aggressive behavior. Maybe consider games a little less intense, like old school Donkey Kong or something. You feel me?)
2. Work Out
This isn't exactly headlining news. You probably already knew that fitness can help you unwind and destress. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America confirms that exercise physical activity can combat stress.
Keep in mind, too, that you don't need to run a marathon or scale a mountain for it to be "exercise." A brisk walk, low-intensity swimming, or dancing in your underwear with your dog can totally help you chill out.
Have you ever sat quietly and tried to completely empty your mind? If you want to unwind, this might be the ticket. Per a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015, meditation can even fight insomnia and improve sleep.
Don't worry if you can't *technically* reach a state of meditation quite yet. It's challenging, especially for newbies. Rest assured even a few minutes of sitting in silence can still work wonders.
4. Listen To Music
Not only can music help relax you, but per a study published by Sussex University in 2018, it may even help boost your immune system. Win-win.
5. Take A Hot Shower
How many times have you come home from a crap-tastic day at work and instinctively planned to immediately jump in a hot shower? It's because you always finish feeling like a new person.
If you really want to go all out, throw a little lavender essential oil in there. It's been found to promote relaxation and help stabilize your mood.
6. Cuddle With Your Pets
There's a reason you feel better after spending some time with your little fluffball. The Mental Health Foundation says that your pet can help you feel more relaxed and calm. They can even give you a sense of achievement and feel more valued and needed.
Can you think of a better way to settle down at the end of the day? Me either.
One study by the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce your stress by as much as 68 percent.
Time to crack open a good book.
9. Eat Your Favorite Food
What's your go-to comfort food when you want to relax? Mine's cheese. But not, like, a nibble of cheese. More like a brick. If research is right, which I'm going to assume it is, fatty foods might help you feel better as you're trying to unwind.
In a study from the University of Leuven in Belgium, shared by Daily Mail, researchers gave participants either a saline solution or a fatty solution through a feeding tube. The participants didn't know which they were given. Then, participants listened to sad music and were shown images of people with sad expressions. Those who were given the fatty solution remained cheerful. Those who'd had the saline solution became more depressed.
So, when you're trying to unwind and shake off the stress from the day, consider a brick of cheese.
10. Have A Good Cry
You ever do the ugly cry and surprisingly feel better afterward? Judith Orloff, M.D., explains in Psychology Today that crying actually offers its own healing powers. It can help your body release stress, anxiety, and frustration.
If you need to unwind and feel the tears coming on, let 'em flow, my friend.
11. Listen To ASMR Videos
Have you ever gotten the tingles? That's what ASMR is all about: getting the tingles. It's hard to imagine if you haven't yet experienced it, but basically, ASMR uses certain visuals and sounds to give you goosebumps. People listen to these videos for relaxation, sleep, and even to improve focus.
Want to give it a shot? Check it out on YouTube — there's no end to the ASMR videos there, and people are creating new ones every day.