“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again,” penned American writer Elizabeth Lawrence. Most of us assume such whimsy leaves us when we reach adulthood, but perhaps it doesn’t need to. Maybe we have such fond childhood memories because we’re used to dulling our adult activities with alcohol. We once had fun without it, after all, yet it seems grown-up social engagements are never without the stuff. Read on to remind yourself of some great ways to have fun without drinking a drop.
Have a Fun Workout
Many of us dread sweating it out in a gym, but working out doesn’t need to feel like a chore. Get a few friends together for a game of football, basketball, or tennis. If you struggle to coral a crowd, don’t let that deter you. Roller blading, cycling, and nature walking are all fun ways to pass the time on your own. Exercise also floods your body with feel-good endorphins for an extra dose of happiness.
It’s very impractical to have a drink when you’re being active, and it’s counterintuitive to knock one back once you stop. Who wants to undo all that hard work by consuming empty calories?
Laughter activates those same endorphins, so it might really be the best medicine. The effect is a long-lasting one too, according to researchers at Loma Linda University. They tested the blood of participants watching a comedy and found they had higher endorphin levels than a test group before, during, and after the film. So it seems even anticipating laughter can make you feel better.
Rent some comedy classics or book tickets to see your favorite comic’s stand-up show. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll barely notice you don’t have a beer in your hand.
Take a Mystery Road Trip
We all know driving and alcohol don’t mix, so getting in the car is a perfect way to enjoy some alcohol-free fun. You could visit a favorite relative or a restaurant you’ve been dying to try that’s a few hours away. Or why not really spice it up with a mystery road trip.
As you head toward an intersection, get your passenger to flip a coin. Go left for heads and right for tails. Just remember to pack the GPS for the return journey!
Rediscover the Art of Conversation
You might think you have sparkling wit once you’ve had a few drinks, but studies suggest otherwise. Spanish research has found that just three pints of beer, or three medium glasses of wine, just once a week is all it takes to dull the brain’s activity. And once you’ve had a few more, you’re definitely not firing on all cylinders.
So put the bottle away and enjoy having a real, meaningful conversation with a good friend or family member. Meet them for coffee, offer to make them dinner, or have a sleepover like you did in your teens. Your relationship will be much better for it.
Pamper Yourself at the Spa
Almost two-thirds of adults say drinking is their favorite way to unwind after a stressful day, according to a British survey. Perhaps it’s time the Brits put down the bottles and booked themselves into a day spa instead.
You can instantly feel the tension disappear as a trained masseuse works his magic. Don’t skimp on the skin treatments, manis, and pedis, because they’ll work wonders on your mood. After a few hours of heavy-duty pampering, you’ll decide life without the crutch of alcohol feels pretty good.
Visit a Theme Park
Remember how much you loved theme parks as a kid? Unless you’ve got a couple of rug-rats of your own, it’s probably been far too long since you’ve visited one. So round-up your friends and see how much fun they can be as an adult.
Theme parks are family friendly environments so there generally isn’t alcohol around. That’s a good thing, too, because taking on a rollercoaster with a belly full of beer is asking for trouble.
So next time the weekend rolls around, get in touch with your inner child and have some old-fashioned alcohol-free fun!