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What to do when you're not drinking

Wednesday 5 July 2017

A group of friends sit around a table having a dinner party, drinking water.
Going without alcohol doesn't have to mean going without fun.

If you've decided to have a break from alcohol, you might already be noticing some changes to your lifestyle. Whether you’re getting up earlier, noticing an uptake in energy, craving sweets or finding it harder to relax without a wine in hand, you can use this time to develop some new healthy habits and learn more about how alcohol affects your body and your life.

Catch some Zs

You might find that having a few drinks helps you to get to sleep quickly, but alcohol actually disrupts your sleep cycle, which can lead to poor quality sleep and waking up too early.

Take advantage of your ability to rest well while you're not drinking by making sure you have good sleep habits, like keeping your phone out of your bedroom, and going to bed and getting up around the same time each day.

Make the most of mornings

Going to bed a bit earlier and avoiding hangovers could mean that you’re experiencing mornings in a whole new way. Take advantage of feeling fresh in the mornings by adding some extra exercise to your daily routine, either at home or by getting out and exploring the amazing natural environments Queensland has to offer.

Have healthy snacks on hand

If you drink regularly, your body might crave the sugar you’re cutting out when you stop drinking alcohol. Make sure you have healthy snacks on hand to curb any cravings, and eat regular meals so you don’t go hungry throughout the day.  

Two mocktails sit on an outdoor table, with berries, watermelon pieces, pineapple and mint floating in the glasses.

Experiment with non-alcoholic drinks

Just because you’re not drinking alcohol, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious and insta-worthy beverage. Try making a Pine-berry Frappe; Grape, plum and berry bomb or Citrus spritzer to quench your thirst, and get an added hit of nutrients as a bonus!  

Learn how to relax and meditate

Many people use alcohol at the end of a long day to help them unwind and relax. But there are other, healthy tools you can use to help calm your mind and body.

Practising meditation, mindfulness and relaxation can have positive effects on your mood, temper, self-esteem and stress levels. You can learn how to meditate by using a program like Smiling Mind, which guides you through meditations step-by-step.

Mindfulness is similar to meditation, and means being aware of what you are doing moment to moment, rather than being distracted by thoughts or switching off while you go about your everyday routines. This Way Up has developed a course to help Australians learn how to be more mindful. In moments of stress or panic, try the ReachOut Breathe app to help get things back under control and regain your mindful attitude.

Relaxation can refer to your mind and body. There are many techniques you can use to help you relax, including practicing exercises like yoga or tai chi, trying breathing exercises to relax your body and slow your thoughts, and spending time deliberately relaxing the different areas of your body.

A man and woman both sit on a couch, reclining their heads back into their hands, with eyes closed, smiling.

Re-evaluate your routines

Sometimes it’s not until we stop something that we realise how much we rely on it. If having a break is opening your eyes to just how often or how much you drink, or how much you use alcohol to have a good time, it could be a great opportunity to rethink your relationship with alcohol.

Your period of sobriety doesn’t have to end with a bender, and you don’t have to go back to drinking as much as you were. Before you jump back into drinking, read up on how alcohol affects your body, and the Australian guidelines about alcohol consumption.

Last updated: 16 October 2017