Move more for your mental health

Date Published

13th May 2024


Mental health

How to reduce drinking



This Mental Health Awareness Week (13 to 19 May) we want to take the opportunity to share some tips and advice about alcohol and mental health.  

What does alcohol have to do with our mental health?  

Although, for some people, alcohol can have a very temporary positive impact on mood, in the long run drinking heavily and regularly can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety and make stress harder to deal with.   

This is because alcohol can be a depressant and regularly drinking above the CMOs low risk guidelines of 14 units a week disrupts the balance of chemicals in our brain that affect mood. This balance is vital for good mental health. 

Drinking heavily and regularly is associated with symptoms of depression, although it can be difficult to separate cause and effect. But studies show that depression can follow on from heavy drinking and that reducing drinking can improve mood. 

To look after our mental health, reducing how much we drink is an important first step.  While it can be tempting to switch-off and unwind over a few drinks, moving our bodies is also important for our mental health. Yet research by The Mental Health Foundation shows that more than a third of UK adults find it challenging to find the time for movement. 

What can we do to support our mental health? 

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Movement: move more for your mental health’. Here are some tips to help you move more and reduce your drinking to boost your mental health:  

  • Get outside in nature: Going for a walk in your local area is a free and accessible way to reconnect with nature. Having a daily brisk walk could make a significant difference to your health and wellbeing.  
  • Find moments for movement: Leave the car at home for short journeys (taking the kids to school, or running errands), do some stretches or a quick march on the spot whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.  
  • Walk and talk: Many of us are often sat in front of a computer screen all day long. Why not get up and get moving when you’re on a call with work colleagues and walk whilst you talk. 
  • Reduce your drinking: When you’re out and about with friends why not try low alcohol or alcohol-free alternatives. There are more options than ever before, so there’s never been a better time to give them a try. 
  • Stick to the low risk drinking guidelines: Drinking within the CMOs low risk guidelines of 14 units a week, including several drink-free days, will give your body a break from alcohol. It also helps your chances of a good night’s sleep and can improve your overall mental health too.

Check your drinking

Take our free online Drinking Check to receive personalised results and guidance and discover more about your drinking.