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9 Reasons to think about what you drink

If you like a drink, you'll be interested to read this article from The Guardian.

It's very interesting to see how guidance around alcohol has changed over the years (and it is of course guidance, not a target), and to gauge attitudes towards alcohol from the people we work with.

Of course, we make no moral judgments - when, where, how much and who you drink with is a personal decision - but I thought it might be useful to share some observations from the periods of not drinking alcohol that I’ve had over recent years.

Sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes for a few months at a time.

Regardless of the time frame, the benefits are usually pretty consistent and, gratifyingly, very quick to kick in.

Here are some of them, in no particular order:

  1. I sleep better. A lot better. Many people have told me that not drinking makes no difference to how they sleep but for me, it’s dramatically different.

  2. I do more exercise, I do it better and I enjoy it more. Probably in part because I’ve slept better.

  3. I eat better. Similarly, probably because I’ll be eating when I’m hungry rather than because I’m feeling tired and also because alcohol disrupts blood sugar levels which will in turn dictate food choices - both what and when - and not usually in a positive way.

  4. Energy levels are way better. As a result of all of the above.

  5. My brain works differently. A clear head means better creativity, focus and a feeling that even when things are super busy, they are more under control and all the things I'm juggling seem to be more coherently part of a bigger plan where all the pieces are moving in the same direction.

  6. There’s a stronger feeling of day-to-day continuity and consistent progress. This one’s a bit trickier to explain but alcohol often gives you that feeling of checking out for a while, which some people like. But then you need to check in again and that can feel like a long roll call to re-evaluate and get back up to date with all the elements of what’s going on in your work and personal life. Staying engaged means you are always up to speed with everything you need to be allocating valuable brain power to.

  7. There are more useful hours in the day. I get more done at work and at home.

  8. I read more. Both reading for work at the beginning of the day and reading fiction at the end of the day.

  9. I feel calmer. This is the benefit I appreciate the most. Every time.

As with all of these things, changing behaviour and changing results comes down to habits. Stopping to think about your daily or weekly habits of drinking and contemplating some alternative routines takes only a moment but can have a dramatic impact and long-lasting impact.

For me, if I fancy a decent reset from alcohol, I just need a couple of consecutive days with no drinking and I’m up and running.

Not drinking becomes as addictive as drinking and there’s a great dopamine reward when you tick off each day of your alcohol free streak. There are many Apps that can support you with this.

When I first experimented with not drinking I identified two things that help and I know these strategies have helped others too.

  1. Don’t be hungry in the early evening. If you are, you’re way more likely to reach for a drink than if you’ve had an afternoon snack and / or you have a small pre-dinner snack or starter ahead of your main evening meal.

  2. The urge (trigger) to pour a drink usually only lasts for a few moments. If you pause at this point and wait for say 5 or ten minutes, you often find that the moment passes and you’ve distracted yourself with something else.

There can be a lot involved in changing your relationship with alcohol so I'm thinking we may expand this blog in the future. In the meantime, please let us know your stories of alcohol and your relationship with it.



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