You’re Stressed Out—Meditation or Margarita Night?

Try healthy coping strategies to handle stress without a nightly drink.

After a long day of work and childcare, it’s all too easy to reach for that bottle of wine or margarita mix to help take the stress away. But if you’re having a drink almost every night, you could be falling into a potentially harmful pattern.

Instead of a nightcap, the American Psychological Association suggests:

  • Eating well. Good nutrition throughout the day will give you more energy.
  • Reaching out to people. It may be more difficult with social distancing requirements, but even a phone call with a friend can lift your spirits and take your mind off what is stressing you out.
  • Getting enough sleep. Inadequate sleep can increase stress levels and make you more irritable. To fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep, avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. and alcohol.
  • Meditating. Start with five breaths or five minutes then add time as you gain focus. Consistent meditation practice can help you feel calmer every day.
  • Exercising. Physical activity will help calm your mind and improve your sleep.
  • Enjoying the scenery. Fresh air and greenery (or even watching videos of the outdoors) has been shown to boost your mood.
  • Relaxing. Whether it’s a cheesy TV show or a long bathtub soak, take time by yourself to decompress.
  • Asking for help. If nothing seems to alleviate your stress, it’s time to talk to a professional therapist.

 

Sources:

cdc.gov, apa.org, cdc.gov, cdc.gov, jamanetwork.com, sleepfoundation.org