“New Year, new me!” reads many a January social media status update, with lots of people looking to be a little healthier after the indulgences of the festive season. Some start the year with a booze-free month while for others January means having a serious think about how much they drink. Whichever it is, there’s good reason for it.
The facts about alcohol are simple - the more you drink, the greater your risk of developing several serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, liver and heart disease, as well as seven types of cancer. Regular drinking also increases the amount of calories you’re taking in, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. The good news is that these risks can be reduced by cutting down the amount you drink. And here’s the thing: it’s easier than you think.
A resolution that lasts beyond January
We all start the year with the best will in the world but too often our resolve starts to melt with the winter frost. Similarly, for those going dry in January the end of the month can mean bad habits start to creep back in.
So, what’s the key to making changes that last? Keep things simple!
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.
Top tip: Download the free Drinkaware app. It lets you pick your Drink Free Days, sends you tips and reminders to help you stick to them and tracks your achievements.
How to get started?
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! To get you up and running we’ve compiled a rundown of 10 ways to have more Drink Free Days. Take a look, try a few out, and see what works best for you.
Ultimately, you’ll want to get your drinking within the low risk drinking guidelines, of 14 units a week. If you’re not sure how much your drinks are adding up to in terms of units take the DrinkCompare calculator to find out and learn more about how your drinking could be affecting your health.
What if I have a lapse?
Remember, it’s all about making a change that lasts and not trying to do it all overnight, so don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. Learn from the experience and make sure, the next time you feel your willpower flagging, you have a plan in place to keep temptation at bay.
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
Which means that when it comes to making positive changes, you’ll be killing several birds with a single stone. So even if you haven’t started the New Year on the front foot, having more Drink Free Days can get you on the right track to a healthier you!
Important: Get medical advice before you stop drinking if you have physical withdrawal symptoms e.g. shaking, sweating, nausea before you have your first drink of the day. It can be dangerous to stop drinking too quickly without proper support if you are experiencing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.