Cutting back on your drinking can be really hard. As a society, we have a complicated relationship with alcohol that makes it difficult for people to reduce the amount of drinking they do. There are a lot of benefits to drinking less, but it’s a struggle actually getting there when it seems like everything around you is just pushing you to drink.
But what you need to cut back on drinking is to change your drinking habits. You’d be surprised at how much just a few small changes can help.
That’s why in this article, we’ll discuss some habits you can adopt to cut back on your drinking, courtesy of Sunnyside.
10 Habits to Help You Cut Back on Drinking
There are a lot of ways to cut back on drinking, but they all start with you paying attention to your drinking habits. Here’s our list of habits you can pick up to reduce your drinking:
#1. Plan Ahead
One of the most important habits you can adopt is planning your drinking before you set out to do it. That might sound strange, but it’s a cornerstone of mindful drinking. If you know where you are going, check out the menu in advance to see what drinks you can order that have little or no alcohol. Also, have a drink limit in mind for when you go out.
Keeping track of your drinking per day, week, or month, can help you be more aware of your progress and keep you on the right path.
#2. Find Groups of Likeminded People
It’s always harder to do things on your own, and it can be even more difficult to change a habit when everyone around you is indulging in it. A good way to cut back on drinking is by looking for support groups that are trying to do the same. Hanging out with people that are also trying to reduce their drinking will help all of you stay accountable, while still having plenty of fun.
You can find groups like these on Discord, Facebook, or Slack. This way you’ll make new friends that can help you stick to your goals.
#3. Don’t Drink Alone
Speaking about finding supportive people, it’s much better if you try to limit your drinking to only when around friends. It’s not bad to have a drink if you feel anxious or stressed, but if you are alone it can end up having the opposite effect of making you feel worse. If you are feeling down, get in touch with a friend. At worst, you’ll have someone to look over you and make sure you don’t overdo it.
#4. Exercise, Do Yoga, or Meditate
Alcohol consumption can release dopamine, but a lot of it creates an imbalance in your brain. Do you know what gives you the same boost without the downsides? Exercise. When you exercise you get your blood flowing, your stress reduced, and your endorphins increased. Plus, the effects of exercise on your body last much longer than the short-lived buzz of a drinking session.
Alternatively, if what you are looking for is a more relaxed approach try yoga or meditation. They can help you reduce stress and anxiety, while also making you more mindful about your life.
#5. Practice Self-Care to Cut Back on Drinking
If you drink as a way to deal with stress, anxiety or just to make yourself feel better, you’d probably be better off picking up a self-care ritual. Self-care isn’t necessarily about big acts, it’s more about doing small things that make you feel better.
You can take care of yourself in a lot of different ways, such as taking a hot bath after a long day, cooking homemade meals, watching your favorite movie, or reading a book.
This will lower your anxiety, as well as your desire to drink.
#6. Start slow and small
When you want to cut back on drinking, you usually don’t want to do it all at once. Not only would that be more difficult, but it can also even be dangerous in some cases. Start small by using smaller glasses to help control your intake.
Also, try to reduce the overall number of drinks you have. You can even have fun with it by making it a challenge.
It’s much easier to work your way down on drinking by starting small.
#7. Find Alcohol-Free Alternatives
If drinking is all about the taste for you, you can find ways to still enjoy your drinks without getting alcohol involved. Non-alcoholic drinks and mocktails are becoming increasingly popular by the day. If you have a drink that you love for its taste, check out alcohol-free alternatives online.
#8. Alternate with Water and Food
If you are going out to drink, alternating every beer or glass of wine with a glass of water will do wonders for you. Not only will you drink less overall, but this will also help you stay hydrated. Plus, it will reduce the strength of any hangover.
And if you are not up for water, you can do food instead. Having snacks in between drinks will keep your stomach full, which will lower the effect of the buzz.
#9. Know and Be Wary of Your Triggers
Alcohol is all around us, so it’s not like we can always avoid it. That means it’s important that you are mindful of the things that make you feel like drinking. Think about what kind of situations make you feel like having a drink, and work to reduce your exposure to them.
#10. Don’t Forget Your Reason to Cut Back
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember why you decide to cut back on drinking. Whether it’s for health reasons, to lose weight, or for another reason entirely, being mindful of your decision will help keep you centered.
The best way to cut back on your drinking is by changing the way you engage with it. A few small changes, like drinking less, exercising, or drinking with like-minded people, can do a world of good for your goals. Always being mindful of what you are doing, and why, will help keep you focused too. The fun doesn’t have to stop just because you are drinking less, it’s about making it last longer.