At the end of a busy, long, stress-filled day, some men choose to unwind by cracking open a bottle of beer, pouring a cocktail or having a glass of wine. When used occasionally and responsibly, alcohol use can be enjoyed.
But for men whose daily ritual is using alcohol to unwind, it may be a problem. Alcohol is a sedative and when a man is stressed out, alcohol can reduce those symptoms. But alcohol interferes with making good decisions, especially when stressed. Alcohol also interferes with sleep causing men to not rest well impacting how they deal with stress the next day.
In addition, excessive alcohol use is a risk to men’s health. Besides addiction, over consuming alcohol increases a man’s risk of liver, heart, pancreas and brain diseases as well as colon, oral, esophageal, rectal, and liver cancers.
It’s also been shown that men who find themselves with a predictable drinking routine after a long day are more likely to take other risks when combined with alcohol.
Men are also almost two times more likely to binge drink than women with approximately 22% of men who report binge drinking and on average, do so 5 times a month. In 2019, 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder compared to 4% of women.
All of us need some outlet for unwinding after a long day. For men, finding other ways of unwinding at the end of a work day without alcohol, will be more advantageous. They’ll think more clearly, focus better, have more energy and overall feel better physically and mentally. Long-term, they can still enjoy a drink on occasion without feeling deprived.
Unwinding without alcohol
Learning to de-stress without that cold beer, cocktail, or glass of wine will do wonders for the health of a man’s body and brain.
Here are 10 alcohol-free ideas helping men relax and recuperate at the end of the day:
1. Have a nonalcoholic drink
Try iced or hot tea, coffee, or even hot chocolate to chill out. Just holding a warm drink provides relaxation and contemplation.
2. Get physical
A surefire way to get your body and mind out of stress mode is to get moving. Exercise is a great stress reliever, mood enhancer, and brings down blood pressure. Just a brisk walk, easy jog, or swimming laps at the pool, will do the trick.
3. Take a warm bath
Men typically take showers in the morning but soaking in a tub of warm water when night falls, is a whole new ordeal. The hot water relaxes the body and helps prepare men for falling asleep. Sitting in a tub of hot water also increases body temperature, relaxing tired, and sore muscles which not only soothes men physically but also mentally.
4. Take a walk in nature
Instead of happy hour after work or parking yourself on a sofa with a cold one, take a walk in the great outdoors. Breathing in fresh air enjoying nature is ideal for leading to a calmer demeanor and clearer state of mind.
5. Do yoga
One of the best ways to reduce stress, anxiety or depression is to practice yoga. Due to yoga’s meditation-like posing and deliberate breathing, it helps men increase the awareness of their body, relaxes the mind, provides a sharper focus, all of which contribute to better mental health.
6. Do something fun
The possibilities for fun are endless. From watching a movie, seeing a concert or sporting event, visiting a museum or art gallery, or eating out at a nice restaurant, these ideas can switch a man’s mood from feeling down to feeling energized and inspired.
7. Listen to music
Music is powerful for releasing pent-up emotions and stress. Fast-paced or rock music increases alertness and concentration while upbeat music inspires optimism and positive feelings. To quiet the mind and relax muscles, listening to a slower, soothing tempo is very effective for relaxation and stress management.
8. Watch something funny
Laughter really is the best medicine and it ranks right up there alongside exercise and spending time outdoors in a long-list of proven stress relievers. Studies show watching comedy sitcoms, funny movies, or reading humorous material releases endorphins, soothes muscle tension, relieves pain, and improves mood.
9. Spend 15 minutes meditating
Meditation is one of the best ways to lower stress levels at the end of the work day and throughout the week. Just the practice of deep breathing has been shown to reduce some heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure.
Reading can be a wonderful and healthy escape from the stress of everyday life. Simply opening a book can distract a person from daily stressors. A 2009 study even found that reading can reduce stress by 68% working faster than other relaxation techniques such as listening to music. Men should find books that pique their interest and plan to set aside 30 minutes to read every day in a quiet place uninterrupted.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncolo gy and prostate cancer 911.