Hit Snooze on the Booze this New Year

 A guide on mindful drinking and being sober curious

It’s January, the start of a new year. This means for the next 4 weeks we will all be focusing on the “new year, new me” mindset. Improving your mental and physical health will only have positive outcomes for your life. Alcohol can have a big impact on both your mental and physical well-being. This year, why not put being sober – curious on your health and well-being list? We have put together some tips and advice of ways you can cut down on alcohol and saying no to people who may keep asking why you don’t drink or pressure you into drinking.  

Firstly, let’s start with the benefits! Cutting down on alcohol has wonderful benefits for your mental and physical health. Having fewer or no drink on a night out means you are going to feel the side effects of alcohol less. You will have more energy for activities and hobbies you enjoy. Alcohol is a depressant and can increase feelings of anxiety, so cutting down/out means that over time your mental health may improve.  

Physically, cutting down/out alcohol has major benefits. In the long term, the less alcohol you drink the less likely you are to develop alcohol-related cancers, and heart and liver diseases. In the short term your skin may appear healthier for a few different reasons. Alcohol dehydrates the body because it is a diuretic that increases your body’s need to go to the bathroom more often. This means you’ll lose water and sodium more quickly, which can leave your skin looking dull and dry. See more information on the benefits of cutting down/out alcohol.  

Alcohol has a high calorie content. Many people don’t realise it also has a lot of sugar. Drinking regularly increases your calorie and sugar intake. Try our Drinks Calculator  to see an estimate of how many calories you are consuming. If you are looking to get fitter this new year, cutting down on your alcohol intake will help cut down on unwanted calories. Drinking less will also give you more energy which means you will have a more positive outlook on completing your next workout and achieving your goals!  

Let’s face it, a night out is very expensive. Drinking less alcohol will save you more money. So often, people don’t consider how much money they are spending on alcohol. Use our online drinks calculator to estimate how much money, you spend on alcohol during an average week. Multiply this by 52 and you’ll have your spend for the year. If you were to set this aside every month, imagine how much you could save over time. Why not set a goal to cut back on a certain number of drinks, and the money you didn’t spend on those drinks you put away into a savings account towards something special like a holiday or a new phone. When you’re doing your weekly shop, take alcohol off the list, if it’s not on the list you are less likely to buy it.   

Saying no to alcohol in a social setting can be difficult. You don’t want to feel like you are missing out or feel like you are being boring, and some people may ask “are you on antibiotics?” or “are you driving?”.  In September 2022 we ran a webinar and Irish Influencer, Kate Coffey who decided to become sober in 2021 said “I didn’t explain myself, I just said this is what I want to do. People tend to be very supportive, and when people see it time and time again, they stop asking. I can understand that it could be difficult, but if it is something you want to do, you don’t have to explain yourself.”  

It is important for you to put your foot down and say no if you do not want to drink. Ultimately, you are the one who must deal with the feeling and consequences not the people who are trying to persuade you to drink. Other ways you can say no are: ‘I don’t want a drink tonight; I want to feel fresh tomorrow and get some errands done.’ ‘I am taking a break from alcohol, I want to feel the benefits. ‘No thank you, I’m not drinking this evening” (no explanation necessary).  

Have a plan: You can go out and only have a few drinks or no alcohol at all. That is your choice. It is easier to drink less when you have something planned the next day. Planning a trip to the cinema, the gym or a catch up with a friend will give you an event for the next day and help you cut down on your alcohol intake the night before.  

The new year new me mindset doesn’t have to be exclusive to January. You can work on your new habits all year round. Check out Behavioural specialist, Padraig Walsh’s blog on How can I make my new exercise routine more appealing?  and our blog on ‘How to make your Resolutions Stick’   

For more tips on how to drink less on a night out and at home visit our page here: https://www.drinkaware.ie/tips-to-drink-less-alcohol/