Drinking alcohol has arguably become a big part of British culture and many of us will indulge in drinking when out with friends in pubs, clubs and restaurants, as well as from the comfort of our own home. However, we need to be mindful of our alcohol intake as drinking can increase our risk of developing health issues. In this article, we will share tips on how to drink less and still have fun - so you don’t have to worry about missing out!
It’s so important to keep yourself hydrated, especially when you’re drinking as alcohol actually dehydrates you and removes important vitamins and minerals from your body. Ordering a glass of water alongside an alcoholic beverage will also help you to pace yourself and allow you to enjoy the taste of your drinks.
Eating before and whilst you are drinking is also important and will help to absorb alcohol, reducing the rate at which it affects you.
Try to remember what you loved to do before alcohol became a part of your life - this may seem silly but it’s likely that you can still enjoy the activities you loved as a child without so much as a whiff of alcohol.
Try to stick to the same drink in an evening as your body will not react well to consuming a variety of spirits and other alcoholic beverages. Not only can mixing alcohol lead to you losing control of yourself, you’ll also feel the repercussions of mixing drinks the next day and have to deal with the consequences!
Opening up about your decision to drink less alcohol can be difficult but letting those around you know that you are making a conscious effort to limit your alcohol intake will help them to be more supportive and understanding - they may even take your lead and join you! Don’t be afraid of being honest - it is likely that they will respect your decision and may even be tempted to join your efforts!
Knowing how much you are planning to drink and keeping track of your alcohol intake will ensure you achieve the goals you have set. Preventing yourself from drinking too much will allow you to make the most of your evening and remember the time you’re spending with loved ones.
Avoid drinking too quickly and take your time. You could start by setting yourself a ‘one drink an hour’ rule so that you don’t overdo it and can keep track of your alcohol intake. This way, you’re still participating in drinking but you’re limiting the units you’re consuming.
You may well be asked the dreaded ‘why aren’t you drinking?’ question, so prepare yourself for this moment ahead of going out. There’s no need to lie, as drinking is a choice and being honest with those around you can make the situation easier - your friends and loved ones may even wish to join you in drinking less.
It can be really hard to allow you to let go and be yourself - especially when you may be used to relying on alcohol for confidence. It may take some time until you can feel comfortable being yourself in social situations but remind yourself that even though it may feel like it at times...the whole room is not looking at you. Take deep breaths and try to engage with others to stop overthinking the situation.
It can be a good idea to surround yourself with other people who don’t drink alcohol, in fact, not drinking when going out is becoming increasingly common. An article by the Guardian in 2019 reported that a rising number of young people are abstaining from alcohol, with 36% of 16-24 year olds in full-time education opting for soft drinks instead. Hanging out with others who avoid alcohol can make your journey to drinking less much easier and will relieve any peer pressure you might usually experience.
Why not try and chat to new people, or even challenge someone to a game such as darts, cards or pool if you’re in a pub? Keeping busy will help you take your mind off of drinking and you may enjoy pushing yourself to try new things!
We can become dependent on alcohol and it may already be a safety blanket for us in social situations, but there are so many more alcohol-free fun activities out there to try, here are a few ideas to get you inspired:
There really is so much to life for us to enjoy - making time to do the things you want to do isn’t always easy, especially if you have a family at home but there’s no reason not to involve them too! Keeping active and occupied will help you to focus on your goal of drinking less alcohol and can give you a new perspective on life.
Peer pressure can fuel our use of alcohol as we try to fit into social situations but we need to break out of that ‘well, everyone else is doing it’ mindset as there are negative effects of drinking alcohol on our bodies.
Peer pressure extends past our teenage years and it is important to remember that anyone can be impacted by peer pressure, even if they don’t realise it. If you’re not sure how to say no to others, here are some ideas you can try out:
Drinking less alcohol has a ton of benefits - especially for your physical and mental health. Here are some of the top reasons you should limit your alcohol intake:
If you live in Dorset and you’re looking for support in consuming less alcohol, we’re here to help! You can register or talk to our friendly team today to help guide you on your journey to drinking less alcohol. You can even take our Rethink your Drink quiz to learn more about your relationship with alcohol.