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4 ways to cope with stress without alcohol

GEHA | April 15, 2022

Stress can take a toll on your physical health.

We’ve all heard someone say “I need a drink” after a tough day. Many people use alcohol to relieve stress, anxiety, depression or boredom. Alcohol is often used to change your mood or distract you from what’s really going on in your life. Sure, drinking alcohol in moderation can be safe, but how is it really impacting your mood? Many of us think it lifts our mood, but experts say it does the opposite. Stress can take a toll on your physical health, but the good news is there are other stress relievers besides alcohol that have health benefits.

Here are 4 healthy ways to cope with stress without alcohol:

  1. Take a walk or exercise
  2. Getting active can increase your production of endorphins. Your endorphins are neurotransmitters in your brain that relieve pain and create a “feel-good” energy. It helps your body work through effects of stress by improving your cardiovascular, digestive and immune system.

  3. Spend time with friends or family
  4. Spending time with your loved ones can help you switch gears from stressful situations. Try playing a game, watching a movie or get outside for some extra laughter and family fun. Even though it may not fully solve your stressful situation, it can help improve your mood in a healthy way. 

  5. Meditation
  6. A simple and fast way to reduce stress is meditation. It can create a deep state of relaxation and calm your mind by eliminating the overwhelming thoughts. To meditate, breathe deeply, scan your body mentally to focus your attention and repeat a manta that you can connect with. If you are too busy throughout the day to stop and meditate, try blocking ten minutes on your calendar to recharge.

  7. Entertainment
  8. Another way to take your mind off stress is taking time for yourself to do things you enjoy. Consider reading a new book, listening to a podcast, or watch a movie or show on your favorite streaming service.

Finding a way to relieve your stress through healthy ways can postively impact your physical, emotional and mental health. If your first instinct is to grab a drink after a long day at work, consider a new stress reliever and take note of how you feel before and after.

If you are concerned that either you or someone in your family might have a drinking problem, consult your personal health care provider.

GEHA medical plan members have access to medical advice from a board-certified physician or behavioral therapist through MDLIVE. Your wait time is less than 10 minutes to have a secure, confidential conversation with a physician averaging 15 years of practice.

“Exercise and stress.”, Mayo Clinic, 18 August, 2020.
“Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress.”, Mayo Clinic, 22 April, 2020.

This is a brief description of the features of Government Employees Health Association, Inc.'s medical plans. Before making a final decision, please read the GEHA Federal brochures. All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochures.