Helping people to make better choices about drinking
Many people don’t realise that – when it comes to drinking alcohol – it’s not just how much that matters, it’s also how often.
If you’re reaching for a bottle or glass most nights, it can really add up – even if you feel like you’re not drinking a lot. This can harm your physical and mental health.
That’s why we’re encouraging people to have more Drink Free Days – a simple way to improve your wellbeing by cutting out a few drinks. The chances are you’re already having some days without alcohol, so adding another day or two should be easy.
Having a couple of beers or glasses of wine at home most days of the week might not seem like a problem. Perhaps you tell yourself if you feel okay and you’re still getting done what you need to every day, what’s the harm?
The truth is that across the week, these drinks can quickly add up and you could easily, and without realising it, be regularly drinking in a way that could be storing up health risks for the future.
The beauty of having more Drink Free Days is that anyone can do it as there are so many ways to achieve them. And what’s more: you can start at any point in the year!
Adding more Drink Free Days to your week is the hassle-free way to cut down the overall amount you drink, across the year:
If you’re drinking most days start by designating two or more days each week where alcohol is off the table. If you’re already having several Drink Free Days add one more.
Setting yourself simple goals like these will make them easier to stick to and tracking your progress against them will help you see how much you’re achieving over time.
An important first step is to know what you’re drinking.
Men and Women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
This drinking should be spread over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week. If you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week.
Small change, big difference
Because of the many ways that alcohol affects our health and wellbeing, once you start regularly taking more Drink Free Days, you’ll soon start to feel the wide-ranging benefits drinking less can bring, including:
- Losing weight
- Saving money
- Sleeping better
- Feeling healthier
Having more Drink Free Days can get you on the right track to a healthier you!
10 top tips to help you add more Drink Free Days to your weekly routine and reduce the overall amount you drink.
1) Know your drinking
Know how much you are drinking – keep a diary if necessary - this will help you see if you need to be cutting down – and set some targets.
2) Don’t be shy
There’s always strength in numbers. So tell family and friends about your plan to cut back. If they’ve got your best interests at heart, they’ll encourage and motivate you – and perhaps even join in. If your partner’s the one who often initiates the drinking, get them involved too.
3) Buy less
Give your willpower a helping hand and cut out temptation by knocking a few cans or bottles off your weekly shop, After all, you can’t drink what isn’t there.
4) Give yourself other options
Find some non-alcoholic drinks you like and keep a few in the fridge. This way, Drink Free Days seem more like a treat than a trial. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even whip up some delicious mocktails. Read more about great alternatives to your regular drinks.
5) Make a plan
Decide on your Drink Free Days in advance – perhaps picking the days when you do need to do things like the weekly shop or collecting someone in the car. If you can stick to doing the same days every week, it’ll quickly become the routine.
6) Do something different
If relaxing in front of the TV doesn’t feel the same without a glass of wine or two, try a change of scene. This could be a great chance to take up a new hobby or exercise.
7) Think why you drink
Enjoying a drink on a special occasion is one thing. But having a couple most nights just because it’s a habit might mean you're stuck in an unhealthy routine. So next time you find yourself pouring a glass of wine on autopilot, ask yourself: “Am I really enjoying this – could I do without it today?” and “Is it really worth risking my long-term health?”
8) Don’t beat yourself up
Breaking habits and changing your lifestyle isn’t always easy, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up. This isn’t an exam and odd lapse doesn’t mean you’ve failed or should throw in the towel. Read our guide on how to get back on track if you do slip up.
9) Pick out the positives
When you cut back, good things will happen – that’s the whole point. So it’s important to notice when you’re sleeping better and feeling sharper, or the pounds falling off your waistline and landing in your wallet. When you see it working, there’s no better incentive to keep going – and the positive impact you don’t see – like your heart health – will make it even more worthwhile.
10) And reward progress
Ok, here’s a great incentive – treating yourself when you hit certain milestones. Why not spend some of the money you’re saving from alcohol on a day out or perhaps some new clothes to show off your trim figure?
Bonus tip: Don't save up your drinks
Last but not least (this one's pretty important!). Remember, the more you drink the greater the risks to your health are and so the more you cut back the more those risks reduce. Swapping days you'd normally drink with more Drink Free Days is a great way to start cutting back the overall amount you drink and reducing that risk, especially if you drink above the Low Risk Guidelines. And as long as you don't drink more on the days you choose to drink, you'll soon start to feel the benefits drinking less provides.
At the M&D Green Group we can provide help and information on Alcohol and advise and support on cutting down and reducing – Please contact or come into the pharmacy and the staff will be able to help.