Drinking can be tempting for any number of reasons. From the social aspect of getting a drink with friends to the habitual side of picking up the bottle, alcohol is often ingrained in our lives much more than we like to admit.
While nobody is telling you to stop forever and never share a toast with pals again, it’s important to know your limits and recognize when a habit may no longer be healthy.
There are so many healthy and sustainable ways to reduce your alcohol consumption. While it may take a little getting used to, it’s just like any other life change. When you feel how much better your body and mind function, you might just love your brand new lifestyle.
Why Drink Less?
Drinking can be hard to quit, but it brings so many negative health ramifications. Drinking can put individuals at a higher risk for cancer, cardiovascular conditions and even diabetes — and that’s just the beginning. Alcohol can impact your long-term cognitive functioning, memory and mental health. From the body to the mind, alcohol proves to be a harmful substance.
You don’t need to keep with it. Anyone can have the power to quit or cut back. Though it may take some hard work at training your brain and sticking to your guns, you can experience the relief and benefits of drinking less.
1. Be Realistic
How many times have you been headfirst into a toilet bowl after a drunken evening with friends, sputtering between unfortunate spills, “I swear, I’m never drinking again?” It’s OK. Everyone has. Nobody ever really sticks to those promises, though, and there’s an obvious reason why. Never touching a drop of alcohol again is a huge feat that many people can’t commit to. That statement is often followed by a few days of not drinking before deciding it’s too hard and caving again.
You don’t need to make big sweeping declarations. What you need is to be honest with yourself about what kinds of changes are sustainable. Set a realistic goal for yourself. Limit yourself to how many drinks you’re allowed to have in a night or how many days a week you can drink.
2. Set Boundaries
Sometimes, drinking too much comes from not being able to say no in social situations. When your friends tell you “one more round,” it’s difficult to be the person who stops the chaos, but sometimes it must be done. Adults are not above peer pressure, and some of your friends might be a little less than mature when it comes to drinking and pressuring each other. Even if it’s hard, you need to learn how to put your foot down and say no. If your friends can’t respect your boundaries, they’re not worth your time.
3. Get Into Tea, Coffee or Kombucha
Whether you’re a connoisseur of whiskey, know everything about wines or pride yourself on the best homemade specialty cocktails, it can be difficult to step away from something you enjoy. However, alcohol is far from the only thing that offers that kind of exploration. You can find other foods and drinks that spark that same kind of interest but don’t involve alcohol.
You can get into herbal teas or specialty coffees. You can make your own kombucha or fruit -infused water. You can even find foods that spark your interest. Why not give kimchi a try or get into fancy dark chocolate? The possibilities are endless.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet and dedicating yourself to caring for your body can often lift you up and motivate you to make even more healthy choices. By getting a taste of how good you can feel with a bit of extra care and commitment, you can get off on the right foot to stay away from the sauce.
Foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lean proteins can reduce alcohol cravings on a physical level. By eating nutritious foods, you can find energy boosts and nutrients that make you feel better than ever before.
5. Find New Social Activities
Alcohol can be a social lubricant for many gatherings and situations. If your main venue for hanging out is a bar, staying away from alcohol will be difficult. Being intentional about the places you hang out and the things you do there can sometimes be the best way to avoid excessive alcohol use.
Spending your time at picnics, yoga classes, nature hikes or dinner parties can be a great start. Often, making sure that alcohol isn’t the center of the night is enough to help you cut back. Find activities and settings that give you something enjoyable and memorable to do.
You Can Cut Back
While cutting back on alcohol might seem hard at first, it’s entirely possible. There are so many ways to make this an easy process, but it all starts with you. When you set boundaries, your loved ones will support you in your positive change, and you can lead yourself in a healthy new direction.
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