Tanya Binks shares her top tips for reducing alcohol consumption, whether in ‘dry January’ or across 2021
2020 has been such a challenging year for so many, but it’s time to think about how to start planning for success – God knows we all deserve some! With this in mind, here are my 10 top tips to help you get ahead of the game so that you can go into 2021, firmly on your a-game.
- Be sure to stock up on alcohol-free drinks so that when you’re feeling the need to drink something at the end of a long day, there are plenty of tasty alternatives for you to enjoy. Why not order yourself a new different alcohol-free drink to try every weekend throughout January and February so that you can look forward to having a tasting session and enjoying and talking about the different flavours? Make it exciting!
- Cutting back on the booze will also do wonders for your bank balance so pick something that you have wanted for a long time and then set aside the money that you would have otherwise spent on alcohol, so that you can save up for it and finally buy it.
- Make a promise to yourself that you are going to get healthy in 2021 – use the calorie calculator on the OYNB website to calculate how many calories you will be saving by cutting back on the booze.
- Remind yourself of the importance of sleep when it comes to mental and physical health – alcohol disrupts sleep patterns, it’s a myth that a glass of wine will help you to relax enough to sleep. Alcohol causes slow-wave and REM sleep cycles to be impacted, resulting in shorter sleep cycles which are disrupted. After removing alcohol from your diet you will sleep in deeper and longer cycles and this will really help your body to rest and repair each night.
- Set yourself a fitness goal – whether it’s a marathon, or simply a 5km walk around the local park, once alcohol is removed from your diet, your body will have more energy for physical exercise, so help yourself to stay on track, by picking something to focus on and work towards.
- Speaking of exercise, remind yourself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no point abstaining from alcohol in January, only to go full throttle at it again in February. This will simply do more damage than good. Take some time to educate yourself about the shorter-term benefits of abstaining from alcohol – these only improve over time.
- Forgive yourself for ‘blips’ – Much like dieting, which is also bad for you! – people slip up from time to time and instead of giving up because you are disappointed in yourself, learn to quickly forgive yourself so that you can put it behind you and get back on track. There’s no use wallowing in one bad decision or a moment of weakness. In fact, focus on your Streak achieved instead!
- Address barriers to your success head-on by explaining to your friends and loved ones, what you are doing and why – maybe even ask them to get on board and join you. By speaking directly to these people and explaining why you are not drinking, it will help you to get them on side, and enable them to see things from your perspective.
- Tune in to the impact of alcohol on your mental health – Alcohol is one of the most common and unhelpful coping strategies for stress, depression and anxiety. Yet overuse of alcohol can contribute to the worsening of mental health issues and lead to lower moods and anxiety. Using alcohol will not address any mental health problems, but only make these issues worse.
- Finally, if you are still struggling with all of this, take some time to identify what might be sitting at the root cause of your need to drink alcohol – is it your job? Are you having problems in your relationship? Have you got money worries? If you take some time to uncover the triggers, then this will go a long way to helping you to address them.
Founded in 2015, OYNB is an award-winning behaviour change programme and online toolkit for surviving modern society alcohol-free, aimed at anyone drinking more than 3 glasses of wine a week. With a member base of over 80,000, they believe that having a community is crucial to making a positive lifestyle change, and so the founders are constantly finding new and exciting ways to provide this support.
OYNB is not an abstinence programme; it is not about eliminating alcohol entirely. It’s about empowering people to break down old habits and build new ones, creating a positive mindset that lets the individual take back control and make clear-sighted decisions. They are now developing technology that will enable members to connect over their common goals, such as caffeine, sugar, gambling and social media. For more information visit https://www.oneyearnobeer.com