If you have reached the point where you think cutting down your alcohol intake might be a good idea, great! Reducing the amount of alcohol you consume can only benefit your health and general wellbeing, (that is unless you are dependent, in which case cutting down quickly can be very dangerous).
Sometimes knowing how to cut back can be the bit that stumps people. So here are ten tips you could try out to help reduce the amount you are drinking.
- Talk to someone – One of the best things you could do is to share your concern with someone. It could be a friend, family member, or maybe your GP. Often simply sharing what is on our minds can help relieve the symptoms of stress we feel in connection to them. Once you have opened up the other person may have some helpful suggestions on how to move forward.
- Set yourself some boundaries – Design a plan and stick to it. “I’m only going to drink three times a week and I am going to have a limit on how much I drink” You may feel a sense of achievement for sticking to your plan and it will help improve other symptoms too.
- Have a go at writing – Write down a list of the triggers that you think cause you to drink more. Identify what is within your ability to change and what you might be stuck with. This may help you to feel empowered and to start finding healthier ways of coping. You could also keep a drink journal and keep a note of what, when, how much and why.
- Substitutes – Try alcohol free or low alcohol drinks and try buying less so you’re not faced with a tempting supply in the cupboard.
- Smaller is better – Use a smaller glass and put a limit on how many you will have.
- Incorporate exercise – Including exercise into your week will not only help improve your physical health, but it can go some way to aiding mental health and helping to manage emotions.
- Mindfulness/Meditation/Yoga – Taking time out to connect with your emotions but to also notice other things in your surroundings can be soothing. It helps to create some space where you can slow down and zone out of the stressors in your life.
- Indulge in an act of self-care – For some people taking time out to do yoga or meditation is form of self-care, but the truth is this means something different for everybody. What is it that brings your enjoyment and relaxation? If you don’t know the answer to this it’s time to start experimenting. Here are a few ideas: Bubble bath, colouring, painting, gardening, singing, walking, watching a movie, reading, games, gaming, painting your nails, using a face mask, cooking, baking, surfing, cycling, binge on a tv show. The list is endless. Whatever works for you, it’s about carving out time in your day/week to do something that helps you feel good.
- Try something new – Confidence, self-esteem, mental health – all these things can be improved by engaging in positive activities that challenge us, bring us enjoyment and a sense of achievement. Why not try out a new hobby? You could try and learn a language, or to juggle. Maybe you could give water colouring a go or teach yourself to bake.
- Download an App – There are a variety of free apps available that help you to track your drinking. They can calculate how many units are in a particular drink helping you to stay within the recommended weekly amount of 14.