Mindful Matters: Advice For a Healthy Approach to Alcohol in 2015!

Health & Wellbeing February 12 2015

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Well into the second month of 2015, we’re reflecting on how some of our key goals for the year are travelling. As with most things at Who’s Your?, our goals are all within an overarching theme of mindfulness, wellness and health.

The work of Drink Less Mind founder Georgia Foster has resonated with many a modern woman who finds herself drinking more than health guidelines would recommend – and not always intentionally! A few wines spaced over an evening during cooking and sitting down to a meal, after-work drinks with colleagues or a social event that causes nerves, can all lead to a total tally that can be confronting when considered.

“The problem comes when alcohol is used habitually as an emotional crutch — to be confident, more fun, or to forget,” says Georgia.

Excessive drinking is not the same as alcoholism, as Georgia points out; “In nearly every instance, alcoholics must stop drinking completely, but excessive drinkers require a different form of ‘treatment’ focused on self-awareness, breaking bad habits, and learning how to socialise without using alcohol as a crutch.”

Unfortunately many people are uncomfortable with people not drinking socially.  This is because they themselves feel they have an alcohol issue and try to encourage others to drink to cover this anxiety.  Woman are generally ‘people pleasers’ so often it may seem difficult to say no to alcohol.

Georgia Foster’s top tips for mindfully reducing your alcohol intake:

A lot of people drink alcohol when they are actually thirsty.  Before you start drinking, have one big glass of water to quench your thirst and keep a glass of water with your alcohol.  Try to adhere to my DOWO policy: ‘Drink one, water one.’

Write down the emotions that are driving you to feel the need to have a drink.  Is it stress, anger, boredom, loneliness?  All of these emotions are valid but drinking will only suppress them until the morning.  Then you will wake up with a sense of low self worth because you are not dealing with the feelings.

- Hold your glass of alcohol in your non-dominant hand, this will help you stay more conscious of the fact you are drinking and it will feel slightly different.

- People tend to drink faster when they are in the middle of doing something else like watching TV or typing away at the computer.  Leave the glass of alcohol somewhere else so you have to break the state of activity to drink it.  It may seem annoying at first but you will be surprised at how quickly this habit can reduce drinking.

- When deciding to cut back, avoid people who like to have a drinking partner for a few weeks.  People who encourage heavy drinking will want you to drink with them to avoid dealing with their own issues.

- Instead of pouring that glass, pamper yourself in different ways such as a long aromatherapy bath, a massage or that DVD you’ve been meaning to watch.

- My top tip is to tell what I call ‘little white lies’.  Say you are on medication, or have an important meeting the next day.  Even better say you have a cracking hangover and couldn’t fathom a drink!