If you overindulged this festive season and have decided to take a break from booze during January, these top six tips will help you enjoy the experience rather than white knuckle it through the month.
And, if you’re planning on taking a longer break from alcohol, then this may just be the kick start you need.
1. Embrace the positive
If you’re thinking that a month without alcohol will be dull and difficult, you’ll have a long depressing month feeling deprived. However, it you embrace it with a positive mindset you may be pleasantly surprised at all the benefits. Better sleep, more energy and losing some of the Christmas kilos may make you feel a lot more positive about your time out from drinking. Every day note one benefit of taking a break from drinking. You might want to list it in a journal, record a phone message for yourself or chronicle your month on social media.
2. Plan for your triggers
Knowing what will trigger you to want to pour a drink, and then planning alternatives for those times, will help you stay on track. Triggers can be a time of day (e.g. five o’clock equals wine o’clock) or a situation such as the kids driving you up the wall (how many more days of school holidays?). If you swap out drinking for something else at these times, you’re more likely not to cave. Exercise, meditate, take the kids to the park, phone a friend – whatever helps to distract you.
3. Experiment with alcohol-free drinks
The alcohol-free drink market is exploding and even big-name alcohol brands are getting on board. There’s a wide range of alcohol-free spirits, wines, beers and bubbles on the market and some great mocktail recipes to try. Alcohol-free drinks are not for everyone as some people find them too triggering. If drinking alcohol-free wines, beers or spirits tempts you to pick up the alcoholic version, it might be safer to find something else. Kombucha, sparkling mineral water, ginger beer (non-alcoholic version) and iced tea are some options but experiment to find something that you enjoy.
4. Find inspiration on social media
The ‘funny’ Facebook and Instagram memes suggesting that alcohol is the cure for life’s ills may tempt you to give up and pour your favourite tipple. But, before you do, try finding some sober curious content on social media for inspiration on staying off the sauce. Search #sober, #sobercurious or #alcoholfree on Instagram and you’ll find a whole range of cool non-drinkers who show the positive side of ditching alcohol. Likewise, there are groups on Facebook where you can ‘chat’ with others who are taking a break.
5. Be inspired by sober celebs
Recently Adele talked about how she chose to give up alcohol when she realised that her drinking had increased to cope with her anxiety, divorce and becoming a single mum. Chrissy Teigen, Drew Barrymore and Blake Lively have also been public about choosing not to drink. They are the new breed of non-drinking celebrities who are choosing an alcohol-free life because of the benefits it brings, rather than because they’ve hit rock bottom.
6. Treat yourself
Calculate the money you would have spent on drinking and plan a treat for yourself. Make sure that you factor in all the costs of drinking – the alcohol itself, ride-share lifts home, hangover takeaways the next day. Decide whether to give yourself a daily treat, an indulgence at the end of each week or a big splurge at the end of the month.
The main thing is to treat your break from drinking with a sense of curiosity rather than feeling as if you’re in a state of deprivation. You never know, you may decide you feel so good after a month that you extend your time off the drink.