31 things to do instead of drinking this August
Staff Writer - 7 min read
Dry July may be over, but if you’re keen to continue the alcohol-free lifestyle, here are 31 things to do in August to keep you in high spirits (without the booze).
So, you’ve just come out of Dry July and you’ve realised you’re not thirsty for alcohol. Well done, you!
Keep up the momentum with these 31 healthy, fun, and somewhat ridiculous things to do in August – that don’t involve a drop of booze.
1. Sing happy birthday to a horse
August 1 is the standardised birthday for horses in the southern hemisphere. Take a bag of apples to your nearest paddock and celebrate our equine friends.
2. Go to one of the biggest musical festivals in the world
When COVID-19 first reared its ugly head, music festivals were among the first casualties. The UK’s Glastonbury has gone online this year, featuring broadcasts of past performances from David Bowie, Beyonce and Billie Eilish. No queues for the toilets either.
3. Create your own mini-Olympics
While we can’t cheer on the Green and Gold in Tokyo, we can attempt to follow in their very athletic footsteps. We love Laura Henshaw’s 20-minute workout, which you can do at your local park, in your backyard, or in your lounge room. Or set up a family-friendly fitness course, just like Bec Judd.
4. Get creative!
Grab some paints, pencils or yarn, and allow the right side of your brain to take over. Studies show that getting creative is excellent for our mental health, and may even help people deal with different kinds of trauma. Even colouring in can relax your brain and allow you to get into that much-coveted state of flow.
5. Have a digital detox
Switch off your phone, shut down your laptop and step away from the TV. A digital detox can have great benefits on your overall wellbeing, allowing you to be more in the moment, productive and calm.
6. Have your own at-home film festival
The 2020 Melbourne International Film Festival has gone digital. Pop some corn and stream over 60 feature films from the comfort of your lounge room.
7. Cook dinner…
During lockdown, many Australians embraced home cooking. Restrictions may be easing, but you should still keep up the good work! Cooking at home allows you to see what you’re really eating (so you’re more likely to eat healthier meals), and the time it takes to prepare means you’re more likely to savour it, thus eat more mindfully!
8. … then try cooking something new
If you’re bored of eating the same ol’ spag bol, stir fry, or veggie stew, try making something new. Crack open a cookbook, hit up a cooking site, or try this delicious cheesy bake from AIA Vitality Ambassador and nutritionist Marika Day.
9. Start a cookbook club
Cooked something amazing? Start an online cookbook club with your foodie friends, sharing pictures, recipes and advice on how to take your home cooking from ho-hum to yum yum.
10. Go to a parking lot party
Feeling nostalgic for parties and festivals? Here’s a way you can party from a socially acceptable distance: at a Parking Lot Social. Party from your car and enjoy bands, movie screenings, karaoke, a silent disco, and more.
11. Start a vegetable garden
Growing your own veggies is cheap, healthy and rewarding. And it turns out that gardening can increase your psychological wellbeing, cognitive function, and overall life satisfaction! Can you dig it?
12. Hunker down with a book
Not only can a good book whisk you away to another time and/or place, reading can also reduce stress, boost happiness, and help you sleep.
13. Go for a run
We’re all more grateful for the great outdoors after being cooped up in iso, so make the most of all that fresh air and go for a run. Just thirty minutes of running can burn calories, strengthen your muscles, and give you that elusive runner’s high.
14. Dance it out
Lockdown or no lockdown, there’s no excuse not to get the limbs flailing in an online dance class, or on your own. Dancing is an awesome form of exercise, shown to benefit your mood, mental and physical health. Turn up the Robyn, stat!
15. Brew your own kombucha
So technically kombucha isn’t entirely free of alcohol; the gut-healthy drink contains around 0.5% alcohol. If this won’t throw you off the rails, try brewing your own – get yourself a scoby, pop it in a bottle with green tea and sugar, and prepare for healthier, happier guts.
16. Give your wardrobe an overhaul
Give your wardrobe a clean out and donate your unwanted outfits to charity. Not only will you be providing clothes to people who really need them, you’ll also be reducing landfill.
17. Reorganise your kitchen cupboards
While you’re cleaning out your wardrobe, why not overhaul your kitchen cupboards too? Chuck out everything that’s passed its use-by date and donate any crockery or utensils you don’t use anymore.
18. Treat yourself to a night at the ballet
The Australian Ballet are still a little way off offering live performances again, but that doesn’t mean they’ve had their last dance. Check out their 2020 digital season here. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll tippy-toe your way around the house for days.
Nothing gives you a stronger sense of the warm and fuzzies than volunteering with someone who needs a hand (it’s called the helper’s high). Volunteers typically feel happier, healthier and more satisfied when they’re helping others.
20. Soak in Epsom salts
Take your bath to the next level and add a few cups of Epsom salts to the water. The combination of magnesium and sulphate can soothe dry skin, reduce stress, and alleviate soreness in the body.
21. Plan a break with friends (or on your own)
So we might not officially be able to travel yet, but planning a trip may be the next best thing. Studies show that simply planning travel can make us just as happy as travelling itself (and a lot cheaper too!).
22. Curate your own comedy festival
In need of a belly laugh? Pop some comedy flicks into your Netflix Watch list, or queue up a selection of stand up clips from your favourite comedians on YouTube. Laughter may reduce blood pressure and anxiety, and boost your immunity.
23. Hang out with a doggo
Spending time with our furry friends is said to lower cortisol (the stress hormone) and boost oxytocin (the love hormone). As if you needed another excuse to smooch your pooch.
24. Go for a walk
Walking – even for half an hour a day – can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce stress and boost endurance. And if you’re out and about on a sunny day, it’s a great way to get some Vitamin D into your system too.
25. Donate to a charity you’re passionate about
Use the money you may have spent on alcohol this month and donate it to charity instead. Tell your friends about it too; turns out giving is contagious.
26. Buy some new undies
Did you know that a clean pair of underpants contains about 10,000 living bacteria? Yuck. Undies should be replaced every 12 months, and washed on a hot setting in the machine. Perhaps now’s a good time to invest in some new smalls?
27. Star gaze
When was the last time you looked up at the night sky? Star gazing makes us realise just how tiny we are, and may even inspire us, and make us more compassionate.
Quiet your monkey mind and focus on your breath for five, 15 or 30 minutes. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase focus.
29. Have a big stretch
Stretching does so many good things for us. It improves flexibility and posture, and increases energy in the body. Do some yoga, qi gong, or just put your hands in the air and say ‘yeah, whatta stretch!’.
30. Call a friend for a chat
Connections to family and friends provide us with happiness, support, and a sense of purpose.
31. Do a crossword
The jury’s out on whether or not doing crosswords actually makes you smarter, but the word puzzles are a great way to improve your vocabulary and focus.
BONUS: Practice gratitude
It’s been a big year. While the drought, bushfires and COVID-19 have made life difficult for many of us, there’s still a lot to be grateful for. Make a note of the positives in your life – a roof over your head, a support network, food in the fridge – and keep your eye on the silver linings.
Copyright © 2020 AIA Australia Limited (ABN 79 004 837 861 AFSL 230043). This is general information only, without taking into account factors like the objectives, financial situation, needs or personal circumstances of any individual and is not intended to be financial, legal, tax, medical, nutritional, health, fitness or other advice.
Staff writers come from a range of backgrounds including health, wellbeing, music, tech, culture and the arts. They spend their time researching the latest data and trends in the health market to deliver up-to-date information, helping everyday Australians live healthier lives. This is general information only and is not intended as medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances. The information in this article is general information only and is not intended as medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances
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