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Benefits of giving up alcohol – and tips on how to do it

giving-up-alcohol With Macmillan’s annual Sober for October campaign in full swing, more people than usual are teetotal at this time of year, so what better time to reflect on the benefits of not drinking alcohol?

Taking the decision to stop drinking might seem like a huge lifestyle change, but with so many positives for the body and mind, is it something you should seriously consider?

Research shows that quitting alcohol will dramatically boost your physical and mental health and wellbeing. But if you enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer, all is not lost.

As with most things in life, it’s about balance. Cutting back on alcohol can also have some major benefits, and there is a new movement known as ‘mindful drinking’. 

Here are a few tips on how you can either stop drinking or drink more mindfully.


Tips on how to stop drinking


Aim for small victories

Don’t think about ‘never drinking again’ or giving up for a year, take one step at a time. Focus on the here and now. Depending on how often you drink now, aim to avoid alcohol that day, that weekend, or at that next social event.


Change how you socialise

Drinking alcohol is so ingrained in our culture, that you probably find that almost all of your social activities revolve around it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Change the way you think about socialising and think of it as an opportunity to connect with others, rather than a reason to drink.


Reward yourself

I find it’s much easier to stick to a goal if I know there’s a reward waiting for me when I hit a goal or milestone. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it could be something as simple as a new book or an after dinner treat.


Savour the clarity

Pay attention to how you feel on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Rather than waking with a blurry or fuzzy head, enjoy the feeling of no dry mouth, no fatigue, no headache. This is why you’re cutting back, so savour it.


So, now you know how to go about cutting back, what health benefits can you expect to see?


Benefits of quitting alcohol

Reduced stress and anxiety

Many people use alcohol to wind down, but it can often have the reverse effect. Alcohol affects the chemicals in our brains, causing them to be imbalanced, which can lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety.


Lower blood pressure

Drinking alcohol makes the muscles in our blood vessels contract, potentially causing high blood pressure, and in turn, other long-term effects on the heart.


Healthier skin

It seems logical that drinking alcohol would rehydrate you, but alcohol actually causes dehydration. This has a huge impact on your skin health, as your body takes water from your skin to compensate.


Better sleep quality

Even though it can feel like we fall asleep easier after having a drink or two, the quality of sleep is poorer. This can lead us to wake up in the morning tired, unmotivated, and groggy. 


Weight loss

Sugars from wine and cider, and barley from beer can cause unwanted weight gain, so cutting out alcohol is a really easy way to reduce your calorie intake without having to change what you eat.


The Zest Life’s yoga retreats are alcohol-free and plant-based – and the perfect opportunity to relax and recharge! Take a look at our yoga retreats calendar here

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