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Top Tips to Drink Less this festive season and in the New Year

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It is of course an understatement to say Christmas is a boozy time of year. If, however, you’d like to drink less than you might usually in December, and even into 2018, we have a few top tips:

1.       Set yourself Goals

First of all, set yourself some goals for the holiday season or beyond, and let other people know about them (it’s harder to change your mind once you’ve shared them and you might even inspire others to join you!). Whether you decide to stop drinking all together or to stick to the alcohol guidelines (no more than 14 units per week for men and women), having a goal keeps you focussed.

2.       Plan what you will do with the time / money / weight loss that comes with drinking less

Whenever you waver, remember these plans to help keep you on track. Visualise them as you turn out the light each night – sounds weird but it actually helps!

3.       Make tiny changes to your habits

Making small changes to your regular behaviours or habits can help you to drink less. Try always eating a healthy meal before you go out, so your body will take longer to absorb the alcohol and you won’t be tempted by salty snacks (that make you drink more). Or try ordering a small glass of wine instead of a medium or large. You could even try out one of the many new low or no alcohol drinks available – you never know, you might like them enough to choose them again.

4.       Clear Out the Cupboards

Many people find having alcohol in the fridge or cupboard is too much to resist. Reduce the temptation by clearing out any alcohol you might have in the house and only buying more when you are planning to drink, and don’t be tempted by special offers!

5.       Do Something New

Finding something else fulfilling to do with the time you usually spend drinking can be a great distraction and rewarding. Try drawing, cooking some new recipes, a run in your local park with parkrun, a long walk in nature or a hot bath with a good book. Whatever you choose, make it something that makes you feel good about yourself and you’re more likely to want to do it again.

6.       Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is underestimated. It doesn’t have to be much – deciding to go to bed a little earlier, flossing your teeth each day, putting some body lotion on after every shower – each small gesture is a small habit that can make a big difference to how you feel about yourself and your body. Try it!

7.       Reward your Successes

Reward yourself for achieving your goals. You could decide to put aside the money you would usually spend on alcohol to save for something you’ve wanted or a trip you’d like to make. If you have lost weight, maybe treat yourself to some new clothes for the lighter you. Whatever you decide, make your treat the start rather than the end of the change you want to make.

8.       If you fall off the wagon, don’t panic

If for a day or two, or longer, things don’t go according to plan, don’t give up. Start the next day afresh, remind yourself of your goals, your plans, your new tiny habits, and enjoy the changes you’re making for yourself.

Good Luck! We wish you a happy, healthy new you!

Visit the One You Merton Drink Checker for help and support

For information on support to help you eat well, move more, drink less and stop smoking e-mail us at oneyou.merton@nhs.net or call us on 020 8973 3545.

One You Merton Drink Checker