4 minute read .
We all know that Ireland has a very socially driven drinking culture. For 77% of Irish drinkers, alcohol makes social gatherings more fun at least half of the time (Drinkaware Index Report, 2019). This can make it very challenging for anyone who makes the choice not to drink alcohol to sustain this choice. Even if you are not quite ready to say goodbye to alcohol altogether, taking a break from it is one of the best things you can do for your health right now.
MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE
By taking a break from alcohol, you are taking a step in the right direction and making a positive change to your life. Drinkaware’s #PositiveChange campaign encourages people to make changes that will benefit their health and wellbeing.
Research over the last year has shown that many people are drinking in a potentially harmful way, but it has also shown that an encouraging 31% reported that they had already made small positive changes to their drinking habits (Barometer 2020). Channelling these collective changes can reinforce the positive message that change is possible, and this encourages others to make their own choices as individuals.
WAYS YOU CAN INCORPORATE ALCOHOL ALTERNATIVES
If you’re going to the beach or to the park for a picnic, why not try making some mocktails to cool down in the sun? Have a look at some alcohol-free recipes to try out at home. Make sure you socialise safely during these times and are adhering to the government guidelines. Follow HSE guidance to stop the spread of Covid.
Have plenty of no-alcohol alternatives in the house. As well as iced teas, sparkling juices and mocktails, there are plenty of no-alcohol wines, spirits, and beers to take advantage of so it’s a good time to make the swap. For parents, keeping alcohol out of sight shows your children that alcohol isn’t needed to relax. There are plenty of alternatives available which sends a clear message that it is not intended for children. Visit our parent hub for more information
Remove alcohol from your shopping list. It’s easier to take a break from drinking alcohol when it’s not in the house!
Replacing alcohol with something else such as exercise, meditation or entertainment will make it far easier to live an alcohol-free life. It’s a great way you can make a positive change to your lifestyle and incorporate relaxing, healthy and fun routines into your day. Here are some things you can do:
- Ride a bicycle.
- Go for a walk – take a new route!
- Start a journal – write down why you want to take a break from drinking alcohol.
- Meet a friend for a coffee.
- Listen to podcasts – there are plenty out there for meditation, cooking, entertainment, etc.
- Read a book.
- Play a board game.
- Try a new no-alcohol drink.
- Organize around the home.
- Watch your favourite TV shows or movies.
- Pick up a new hobby through online tutorials or classes – crocheting, painting, baking, etc.
- Catch up on household tasks, like laundry or food shopping.
- Run yourself a hot bath.
HEALTHY DRINK ALTERNATIVES TO ALCOHOL
Kombucha – This lightly sparkling and fermented drink is made from black or green tea and naturally occurring bacteria. It has many purported health benefits such as probiotic and antioxidant properties.
Alcohol-Free Sparkling Wine – This refreshing, bubbly drink is a great solution to enjoying a tasty beverage while eliminating the undesirable effects of a standard alcoholic drink.
Alcohol-Free Beer – Enjoy the taste of beer without the unwanted effects of alcohol. Most alcohol-free beers are lagers, but there are some alcohol-free ales.
Mocktails – These are a fun way to enjoy delicious, mixed, non-alcoholic drinks. They can be made by mixing different fruit juices, soft drinks, iced tea etc.
Iced Teas – A refreshing, chilled drink served in a glass with ice. It can be sweetened with sugar, syrup, and/or lemon slices.
Sparkling Juices – Sparkling fruit juice beverages are a healthier way to enjoy a sweetened drink without the guilt that comes along with artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup found in most sodas and alcoholic mixers.
TIPS ON CUTTING DOWN
Read our tips on how to reduce your alcohol intake here
THE BENEFITS OF NO-ALCOHOL
Better Mental Health – When you do not drink alcohol, you’ll most likely notice that your mood improves, and you may feel more positive overall.
Better Long-Term Physical Health – After a few weeks without alcohol you may notice that your day-to-day health has improved. This is because alcohol weakens your immune system. Over time, your liver function will improve. Many alcohol-related health risks don’t appear until later in life. The changes you make now can have a positive impact on your future health.
Healthier Appearance – Cutting back on alcohol can help you if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose a few pounds. It can also be better for your skin – A US study found that alcohol is a trigger for rosacea (facial redness or flushing) and can worsen the condition if you already have it.
Better Sleep – If you regularly have a drink to help you fall asleep (which actually has the opposite effect), your body might take a few days to adjust into a normal sleep cycle without alcohol. Keep going! Once you develop your new alcohol-free nightly routine, your quality of sleep will improve and you will have more energy during the day.
Save Money – People rarely 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. https://www.drinkaware.ie/drinks-calculator/
ONLINE TOOLS TO HELP
- Drinks Calculator
- Order Free Resources
- Low-Risk Weekly Guidelines Quiz
- Information booklets
- Informative Videos
- Healthy Ireland
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