4 Healthy Ways to Unwind

In today’s society, individuals are often trying to get so much done as fast as possible that they become exhausted and run themselves into the ground. Fast-paced work environments, family obligations, and busy social calendars, can make individuals feel like they must constantly struggle to keep up and never have a moment to relax. This mindset can cause individuals to feel excessive stress in their lives and turn to alcohol and drug use as a coping mechanism or self-medication.

While in treatment or rehab, addicts learn extremely useful techniques to help them effectively relax without the use of drugs and/or alcohol. Furthermore, these techniques can help any individual relax and create an overall healthier lifestyle. Once the addict learns these techniques, he can start to live again and find joy in activities he once loved but avoided because of his addiction.

How to Relax Without the Use of Drugs or Alcohol

Learning relaxation techniques can help an individual’s sleep, improve memory function, slow down one’s breathing and heart rate, along with improve one’s overall mental and physical health. Relaxation techniques can help combat the negative effects of substance abuse, as well as diminish the triggers, cravings and underlying emotional issues that cause an individual use in the first place. Learning the following techniques can help the individual’s body and mind fight addiction and start to heal

  • Meditation
  • Exercise or stretching
  • Hobbies

Self Care and Tending to Your Needs

Individuals often have numerous social, personal and work obligations, and may forget to tend to their own needs. Tending to one’s own needs could be something as simple as relaxing with a full cup of coffee in the morning without any distractions, listening to soothing music for 15 minutes, or taking a bath in the evening.  This time could be used to process the day and give individuals the opportunity to unwind without needing to turn to drugs or alcohol for relief.


According to Free Meditation, meditation can be an extremely effective form of stress relief and reduction for an individual and can potentially improve quality of life while decreasing future health care costs.  Meditation involves achieving a state of “thoughtful awareness,” which is a state of mind where the excessive stress producing activity of the mind is deactivated without reducing one’s alertness.

Meditation allows an individual to learn to live in the moment and not dwell on the past or worry about the future. Ultimately, giving the individual a chance to enjoy life rather than rushing through the motions.

Exercise and Healthy Living

Although not intended for everyone, exercise and even stretching can be a great way to unwind after a long day. This is similar to tending to one’s own needs but in a different way. Exercise gives the individual an opportunity to work through frustration and stress in a healthy way, and releases endorphins that make people feel happier and more positive about life.

Exercise can include running, walking the dog, or even hiking a local trail. While some may prefer more strenuous activities such as training for a marathon, others may enjoy gardening or gentle yoga. Even simple stretches can help an individual relax and feel more at ease. For example, an individual who primarily works at a desk and computer all day may feel a pull or strain in her back, which could add to stress at home. Taking a minute to get up and walk, grab a cup of coffee, or even just lean back in a chair can be critical to reducing one’s stress and/or anxiety.

Hobbies and Activities

Finding a hobby or activity that you enjoy can give you something to look forward to during stressful moments, and help you unwind after a long workday or on the weekend. Having a hobby gives an individual an opportunity to pursue activities he loves.  As long as the hobby does not take away from others aspects of the individual’s life, hobbies can be a safe, healthy, and relaxing way to reduce stress anxiety.

Taking part in an activity that you enjoy can also add purpose and meaning into your life, which may reduce your cravings for drugs and alcohol. Joining a knitting group or a running club, for example, can also help you meet like-minded people and make new friends. Having strong social support is beneficial to mental and emotional health and can help lower your overall stress level