How to drink less

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Ruari Fairbairns, CEO of One Year No Beer shares his 7 tips to curb your drinking habits this month

Think about what you enjoy

There are a lot of reasons to drink. It’s cold outside, or you’re celebrating a special occasion. But here’s a question: do you actually enjoy the taste of beer? Or have you just been doing it because everyone else is?

At the end of a long work week, a cold beer or glass of wine can be the perfect way to relax. However, if you find yourself drinking more than you want, or need to fit in with your social circle or satisfy your own habits, you should make an effort to have sober days. Changing up your routine can help you pay more attention to how much, and what kind of drinks you consume.

Consider herbal teas in the evenings

Herbal teas are a great alternative to alcohol in the winter when the temperatures fall. They’re not too rich, or overpowering and will give you that warm and fuzzy feeling we all crave at this time of year. You’ll be doing your health a favour by replacing evening alcoholic beverages with herbal teas. Unlike alcohol, most of them won’t make you feel bloated, spaced out, or tipsy but instead will help you unwind at night.

Remove temptation

When you’re trying to cut down on your drinking, it can be all too easy to give in to cravings or temptations. You may find it easier to resist if you remove some alcohol from your home and reduce the amount of time you spend in places where alcohol is in abundance, such as pubs. Try fun activities such as bowling and crazy golf which you’ll be keeping busy and active.

Monitor consumption

One of the best things you can do to help you achieve your goals is to track your progress by monitoring how much you are drinking with a diary. This will also help you understand what you’ve learnt as you go through the process of changing habits. Make a note of what drinks you’ve consumed, why you drank it and how it made you feel.

Have ‘fun’ plans for the morning after

It’s no secret that when you’re hungover, it’s hard to get motivated to do much of anything. When you feel like you have a pounding headache and your stomach is doing somersaults, you just want to lay low. If you have fun plans the morning after a night out, it will be easier to keep yourself from going overboard and drinking too much. Try and fit a few plans into your mornings to save yourself from a dreadful hangover.

Watch for peer pressure

Peer pressure can influence a person to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. This is often because the person wants to be like, or think it will help them fit into the crowd better. However, just because it’s winter and the festive period, you shouldn’t feel obligated to drink just because others are. You don’t have to drink to fit in with a group and you should avoid people who try to make you drink when you don’t want to. Explain your reasoning why and ask for support in your choice. Practice assertiveness, saying no and in the worst case, leaving situations you feel uncomfortable in.

Drink slowly

When you do drink, try to drink at a slower pace. By taking your time, the alcohol will be less likely to go to your head and you’ll have a more memorable night. Have water in between your drinks to keep hydrated throughout the night. Also, if you’re socialising outside, you will end up saving money by savouring each drink you buy and curbing your consumption.

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