Whatever your reasons for deciding to cut down on booze this New Year, your health and well-being will thank you for it.
If you’re regularly drinking more than 14 units a week, which is equal to six pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine, you risk damaging your health. But even if you’re not drinking as much as this, you’ll reap the benefits of cutting your alcohol intake. Among many other perks, you’ll be able to enjoy a deeper sleep, brighter moods, more energy, improved concentration levels and better long-term health.
If you’ve decided to make the cut, follow our simple guide to help you stop drinking:
Plan, plan, plan
Before you begin your mission, consider your goals and set a weekly or monthly limit as to how much you’ll drink. Tell friends and family of your plans so they can support you – you’re more likely to stick to your goals if you have them on side and encouraging you.
If you realise you’re going to struggle giving up alcohol, break the challenge down into smaller steps. Try cutting your drinking to smaller amounts every day, or switch to a half pint instead of a pint, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.
Have lower-strength drinks
Switch your drink of choice from strong beers or wines to ones lower in strength, or try alcohol-free beer or wine. The ABV percentage can be found on the bottle.
Find a hobby
If you find many of your social plans involve drinking, find alternative things to do to help you cut down. For example, if you’re in the habit of sharing a bottle of wine with your partner in front of the television in the evenings, switch to hot chocolate, or better still go out for a walk if the weather’s nice.
Avoid situations where you know you’ll be tempted to drink. This might mean dodging the weekly office drinks, or if you’re heading out for a meal, perhaps you could offer to be the driver for the evening? If you’re having a night out with friends, plan to drink mocktails, which can be just as delicious as the real thing.
It’s important to acknowledge the successes you achieve and give yourself small rewards. However, it’s equally as important to not be too hard on yourself if you suffer a slip-up or set-back – keep motivated and don’t let it hamper your progress so far.
If you’re struggling to cut down or stop drinking alcohol, there is help out there. You might find it helpful to look into support groups in your local area where you can speak to other people who understand what you’re going through. The Pharmacy2U online doctor service offers a confidential consultation if you’re worried about your dependency on alcohol.