How To Drink Less + Enjoy More!
By Savannah Hemmings
The post-21 social scene can be infinitely better. Happy hour is now a thing and mimosas can take brunch to a whole new level. Whether it’s going out to the bar for cocktails, drinking wine with your girlfriends at home, or watching the game with a few beers, hanging out with friends as an adult typically includes alcohol.
There’s nothing wrong with these activities. That’s what being an adult is all about anyway, right? However, after work happy hour cocktails can do a number on your wallet, and health, if you aren’t careful.
Whatever the reason that you want to cut back on your cocktails – be it your health, mood, or something else! – know this: cutting back on drinking doesn’t have to cut back on the amount of fun you have too! Rather, there are ways to dial back on the cocktails you’re drinking without sacrificing your social life.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Understand The Health Effects
Since drinking is fairly common, it’s easy to believe it’s pretty harmless — but that’s not always the case.
For example, did you know that frequent alcohol consumption leads to a lower quality of sleep and more drowsiness overall? It can also affect your metabolism and even lead to heart problems over time.
While a few cocktails every now and then won’t have much of a negative effect on your health, excessive and long-term social drinking is something to be aware of and to watch out for.
Learn How Alcohol Affects You
Everyone is different so while it’s important to understand what social drinking can do to your body, this doesn’t mean you have to quit drinking altogether. Instead, take steps to learn more about how alcohol affects your body.
Start by tracking your weekly alcohol intake. Track how many times a week you drink, how many drinks you have, and how you feel after each time drinking. Learning about your own patterns will help you decide what you need to do to cut back.
From there, create a goal. Whether you want to cut back on the number of drinks you have or if you want to cut back the number of days you drink, set a goal for yourself. Then work toward this goal. Keep track of your successes and failures and learn to identify what helps and what hurts your plan.
Again, this is all about helping you feel your best, not cutting out drinking altogether.
Get Friends On Board
It’s important to tell the people you usually drink with about your plan to cut back. Ask them to hold you accountable for the goal you set for yourself.
The people you surround yourself with have an effect on your drinking habits, so if you are trying to cut back, make sure the people around you are supportive and understand where you’re coming from. You don’t have to ask them to cut back with you, but they shouldn’t hold you back from your own goals.
If every time your friends want to meet up it starts with “happy hour tonight?!” and ends with you feeling like crap, it’s time to expand your social horizons!
Try to come up with a few ideas of fun things to do that don’t involve drinking. Bowling, taking a tennis lesson, grabbing a cup of coffee, planning a make-your-own-pizza night, or going to the movies are all things you and your friends can do that don’t require a drink in hand. Better yet, head to a yoga class!
It’s much easier to say no to a drink while you’re having fun doing something else!
Social drinking isn’t a crime (if you’re over 21) and it “bad” – but if one too many cocktails (or just one cocktail!) leaves you feeling crummy the next day, perhaps it’s time to start cutting back!