ad tw: alcohol // The holiday season is one of the best times of year. I’m sure most of us would agree! But it certainly doesn’t come without its challenges. Having a low mood during the Winter and festive period isn’t uncommon and people feel low during this time of year for many reasons. Alcohol is a prominent fixture of Christmas and may be the thing that helps or hinders those low moods.

Why might you be trying to cut back your alcohol consumption over the holidays?

  • You realize you might have a problem with alcohol
  • You’re trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle
  • You’re hosting Christmas
  • You have sober people attending for Christmas

These reasons on scratch the surface of as to why you might be wanting to cut back on your alcohol consumption during the holiday period but it’s no secret that most people do indulge on alcohol a lot more than normal during this time of year.

I definitely don’t judge that behavior. After a long and stressful 12 months, all we want to do is kick back, relax and enjoy a drink with family or good friend. But there may come a point where you feel like enough is enough and that you need to change some of your lifestyle habits – yes, even over Christmas.

Only you know what is right for you. I don’t agree with diet culture by any means, even after the Christmas period when we “indulge” and “need to lose our Christmas weight”. We really don’t. All we simply need to do is get back into more healthy habits that make us feel energized, strong and happy again.

But alcohol can definitely fall into another category because of how common alcohol problems are – even in those that might not think they have one. You don’t have to be necking 2 bottles of Jack Daniel’s a day to be considered to have a problem.

So, cutting back on alcohol during the Christmas season might be one of the best decisions you make! Here are some ways you can make the transition a little easier:

Identify whether you want to cut it out completely or just cut down

You need to understand why you want to cut back and whether cutting it out entirely is actually completely necessary. Going cold turkey certainly isn’t for everyone and may cause more harm than good. If you don’t have a problem with alcohol but want to be a bit healthier over Christmas, then cutting down might be the answer for you.

Find some yummy alternatives to alcohol

There are plenty of alcohol alternatives to choose from, from mocktails to sparkling tea like dry dragon from REAL. If it’s the taste that you don’t want to miss, then there’s really nothing to worry about! Experiment with some alternatives and find what works for you. This way, you also have non-alcoholic drinks for anyone who doesn’t drink at Christmas.

Limit yourself per day

If you are cutting down instead of cutting out, then you’re going to need to set yourself some sort of limit to know when enough is enough. Setting a limit per day is a good option for this and perhaps allowing yourself one or two days where you drink a little more than your allowance, for example Christmas Day and New Year’s.

Remind yourself that you don’t NEED alcohol to have fun

This is something I really struggled with as a teenager when I used to drink a lot. I loved the buzz and I felt like when everyone was buzzed, everyone was having a better time. When you’re a teenager, that might be the case for a period of time. But as adults, you know what you like and you know how to have a good time without alcohol.

Slow down how quickly you drink

You might be consuming more alcohol that you’d like because you’re simply drinking it too quick. The point of alcohol is for it to be enjoyed but when you’re drinking it as fast as possible to get onto the next one, you’re not taking that mindful moment to actually enjoy the tastes and textures.

Have a smaller measure

Choose a small glass of wine over a large or a single measure of a spirit than a double. This will have a great impact on your health and reasons for wanting to cut back on alcohol but still give you the satisfaction of having a drink that you enjoy.

Set an alcohol budget – and stick to it!

When shopping for alcohol for over the Christmas period, try setting a budget for yourself and don’t go over. Then you will have to pace yourself and cut back on some drinks because there simply won’t be enough to go around if you don’t. You can’t drink alcohol if it isn’t there!

Get your friends and family to help you

If it’s going to be difficult for you, then it’s worth letting your friends and family know what you’re going so they can help and not hinder you during this time of year. It’s easy to shove another drink in someone’s hand when you’re counting down until the New Year but if they know not to do that, then that’ll benefit you in the long run.

Alcohol can be great. I didn’t drink for a long time after I was diagnosed with my anxiety disorder but over the last few years, I’ve started drinking again because I enjoy it.

I don’t drink more than what I should. And only rarely do I drink a little too much and give myself a bit of a hangover the next day. But for the most part, I find alcohol a very enjoyable thing and I love trying new flavours.

It’s really about finding that balance with alcohol that works for you – not anyone else!

How is your relationship with alcohol over the holiday season?

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