Stress and work - relaxing without alcohol
Everyone finds work stressful sometimes and many of us look forward to a an alcoholic drink when work has finished to unwind.
However, too much stress puts a strain on our mental and physical well being and drinking alcohol excessively to manage that stress can lead to additional problems such as weight gain, depression and poor sleep.
Problems can also occur if drinking to manage stress becomes a habit - or if you find you’re drinking so much that your work or home life is affected.
Whereas for some people, the usual way to deal with the general stresses and strains of work are to unwind with a drink, others find that exercise or relaxation works equally well.
The important thing to remember is that alcohol cannot create endorphins (feelings of wellbeing) - only exercise does that.
Likewise, excessive alcohol leads to feeling drunk, but not actual relaxation - only exercise, yoga, meditation or other natural relaxation techniques do that.
Relaxing after work
If you want to unwind after a heavy day at work, here are some alternative suggestions:
- Exercise - any form will do
- Cinema / Theatre / Bowling etc
If you do choose to drink, sticking to the lower-risk guidelines will ensure your body and mind can cope with the alcohol - and if you're still stressed at work, the Health and Safety Executive have some good advice about dealing with the root causes.
If your drinking is affecting your work
Believe it or not, colleagues do notice if you’ve come into work after a heavy night. Drinking too much may affect your ability to work productively and safely. You may find that your drinking leaves you less able to work well and may be impacting on your health and safety at work.
If you work in a safety critical role your drinking may also be endangering you and others and you're at risk of losing your job. Even if there is no alcohol in your body when you’re at work, excessive drinking can cause you to feel more sluggish and less responsive.
Most employers have a policy of supporting staff who come forward with any concerns they have about their drinking or drug use - contact your human resources or occupational health team - or use our Support Page to find more options.