5 tips for successfully taking a break from alcohol

Giving up alcohol, or at least reducing its consumption during the month of January, can have beneficial effects on the body and the mind. Here’s how to stay the course.

The first alcohol-free days of January, the month in which some people choose to abstain completely from alcohol, were probably child’s play. You had just returned from the holiday season, where you may have drunk more than usual. A break seemed like what your body needed. But now that it’s the first full week of January, and arguably the first week back to normal, you might find yourself at the intersection of wanting the challenge and wanting a drink. of wine.

Don’t lose sight of your goal

Going through January without alcohol is a worthy goal. Experts agree that giving up alcohol temporarily can be beneficial. During the month, many people realize how much alcohol they drank and how they felt, even if they didn’t have a hangover.

While moderate alcohol consumption was once considered healthy, more recent research suggests that there may be no safe amount of alcohol. A study published in September 2018 in The Lancet analyzed the health data of participants in 195 countries over 26 years and found that alcohol was linked to an increased risk of road injuries, self-harm and health problems. like cancer.

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Another study published in May 2019 in The Lancet links alcohol consumption to high blood pressure and a high risk of stroke, and an analysis published in April 2018 in The Lancet found that higher consumption was also linked to a higher risk of heart disease, heart failure and fatal aortic aneurysm. To derive their findings, the authors reviewed 83 studies including nearly 600,000 drinkers.

Quitting alcohol can have many health benefits, including better sleep, possible weight loss, and improved energy levels. Plus, the benefits don’t end on February 1. In a March 2016 study published in Health Psychology, people who passed the challenge drank less alcohol over the following six months.

Like anything, however, sustaining a month without alcohol can be difficult.

Here are 5 tips to survive the break with alcohol without flinching

1. Tell everyone you won’t be drinking for the month.

This is perhaps the most important tip for a successful alcohol-free January. By announcing your intentions to friends, family members, and even random people at an event, you eliminate peer pressure to get you to drink and hold you accountable. You can also post your intentions on social media, where other people can encourage you.

2. Replace the first alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink

The first drink of the evening is usually the hardest to dodge. It’s the one you want to pour when you’re cooking dinner after a long day or the one you want to order when you’re having dinner with friends. Give preference to a non-alcoholic first drink and you are preparing for an entire night of success. Once you’ve ordered or poured yourself a non-alcoholic drink, it’s important to remember to drink.

3. Make your soft drink special

Part of the fun of alcohol is the feeling that it’s special, it’s a break or a slowdown in an otherwise hectic day. Thus, pouring water into an ordinary glass and sitting down does not provide the same sensation. Try pouring sparkling water into a wine glass instead for the same feel of a fancy grown-up drink, but without the alcohol.

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4. Anticipate appointments

While dinner involves food, it can be more difficult when you’re going to meet someone for a drink or happy hour (which you may still be asked for this month despite your resolution). You could almost feel bad for not ordering anything. Go ahead and tell them you won’t be drinking this month. If you feel comfortable enough with your resolution, say it in advance that you will always be happy to meet at the restaurant or bar but that for you, it’s orange juice or mint in the water.

5. Practice the power of no and don’t go

Sometimes you know that if you attend such and such an event, you’re probably going to give in and have a drink. If you find yourself in this situation, say no and stay at home. Instead, consider yourself saying yes to yourself, your health, a better night’s sleep, a slimmer waistline, and the dozens of other benefits of quitting alcohol. On February 1, you can resume your usual social calendar, but probably with a better perspective on your drinking and more control over your habits. You understand.


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