It’s a vicious cycle: stress creates anxiety, alcohol is consumed to reduce anxiety, but it only intensifies anxiety in the long-term. This is the relationship alcohol has with stress, a relationship all too familiar to many reading this right now.

In these difficult times, it’s not surprising some people are looking to alcohol for a little stress reduction. But, there are healthier ways of coping with life’s challenges. Below we round-up a few positive ways to manage whatever life throws at you.

RELATED: Dry July Tips For Sticking To A Detox

RELATED: 5 Alcohol-Free Mocktail Recipes

Why do we crave a drink after a hard day?

Put simply, alcohol initially and quickly helps us relax. It releases chemicals in the brain that temporarily block anxiety.

This is why people who feel stressed tend to drink more than people who are less stressed. In fact, we often see increases in people’s alcohol consumption after catastrophes, like a recession or pandemic and natural disasters.

Although alcohol initially helps us relax after drinking - especially the next day - you can feel even more anxious.

But our brain likes to be in balance. So after consuming alcohol is reduces the amount of these “relaxation” chemicals to restore balance, increasing feelings of anxiety. Alcohol also has a depressant effect on your central nervous system. When you stop drinking and the level of alcohol in your blood returns to zero, your nervous system becomes overactive.

The real catch-22 with drinking to alleviate stress, is that once we start drinking, it’s hard to know when to stop. Do you feel relaxed enough after just one of two drinks? Or do you need a bottle? It’s easy to justify it to yourself - “another won’t hurt”, “I deserve it…sound familiar? Unfortunately, the more you drink the more it takes you to reach that level of supposed ‘relaxation’. The higher the tolerance the higher your dependence is, which isn’t healthy.

The effect of alcohol on the body       

Aside from increasing stress, drinking has a host of negative effects on the body – we already know cutting back on alcohol has many benefits for our appearance but it’s also to consume mindfully for health reasons:

Tips for managing stress without alcohol

If you’re feeling down in the dumps, stressed or just bored, there are plenty of healthier ways to manage stress without resorting to alcohol.

Don’t stock up on alcohol

First of all, don’t buy it! It it’s not in sight and you have to go out of your way to get it, it makes it less accessible to indulge after a stressful day.


Breaking a sweat is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress. Exercise releases brain chemicals that make you feel good. Even better still, pound the pavement outside – research has found you can significantly reduce stress with nature.

Exercise for stress and anxiety
Exercising outside for 20 minutes each day is a great way to relieve stress / Free People

Practice mindfulness

Taking regular mini-mindfulness breaks throughout the day is a healthy habit to get into if you’re prone to stress. Try a mindfulness app for anxiety or just practice slow breathing when you feel the pull of the bottle calling.

Get eight hours sleep (minimum!)

Lack of sleep, or lack of quality sleep, is a huge trigger for anxiety. Prioritise a good night’s sleep by sticking to a schedule, detoxing from technology before bed, sleep apps and sleep-inducing supplements like Magnesium and Ashwaganda.  

Make time for the things that make you happy

It’s important to make time for the things and people that fill up your cup. Instead of sharing a bottle of wine with a friend, suggest going for a walk and brunch.

Nourish from within

Never underestimate the role diet plays in your mental health. Maintaining a nutrient-rich diet brimming with superfoods is essential for a healthy state of mind.

Healthy Diet For Anxiety
Fuel your body with healthy foods for a healthier state of mind / Free People

Remember, change doesn’t have to be negative. There’s nothing wrong with a drink or two but if you’re turning to drinks to mask feelings of anxiety, then it’s important to find new, healthier ways of managing the stress.

Where to get help:

Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free

Lifeline(open 24/7) – 0800 543 354

Depression Helpline(open 24/7) – 0800 111 757

Healthline(open 24/7) – 0800 611 116

Main image: Free People

start your personal evaluation now

discover the best nutrients for you

Get Started


Calcium Plus

Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. As we age, our bones become more susceptible to damage as bone building cells, known as osteoblasts, diminish while the cells responsible for bone destruction continue to thrive. With proper calcium intake, potential damage can be offset.

Zinc Benefits


Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in the body, especially in supporting the immune system and skin health, particularly if you're breakout prone.



Smash those 2021 goals with these tiny tweaks

It's that time of year again when we take stock of what's been and turn our attention to what's to come. If the idea of making lofty New Year's resolu...
Read More


New Year Resolutions

The New Year inspires all sorts of resolutions from daily morning runs and quitting alcohol to financial crackdowns and ambitious travel goals, all wi...
Read More


Establishing healthy habits

We're past halfway through the year, which is a great time to check in on those New Year resolutions. Remember them? 😜 You could easily be forgiven f...
Read More

start your personal evaluation now

discover the best nutrients for you

Get Started

Join the Supplemental

by signing up to receive our weekly newsletter, you agree to our privacy policy.

follow us