Drinking is a socially accepted coping mechanism. It’s an acceptable way to deal with a breakup, stress at work, or social anxiety. But maybe you’re starting to find that drinking alcohol is affecting your family or work relationships. Or maybe you’ve reached a point where you realize you don’t actually enjoy drinking.
As National Recovery Month draws to an end, here are some ways (9), in which you can Are you can kick the habit
- Identify your goal. Are you striving for complete sobriety or moderation management? Why do you want to stop drinking? Identify your goal and write it down.
- Review your drinking habits. Take a few minutes to think about why you drink in the first place and how often you do it. When you are more aware of when you feel compelled to drink, you can make a plan to prevent yourself from drinking when the triggers come up.
- Why do you drink? What triggers the drinking habit? Maybe you find yourself drinking when out at dinner with friends or as a coping mechanism when you feel stressed.
- How often do you drink? How much do you drink when you do?
- Create a plan. Once you’re aware of your drinking habits, you can start creating a plan to stop drinking – especially during the moments you find yourself drinking the most.
- What will you do instead of drinking when you start craving alcohol? Maybe instead of drinking to relieve stress after work, you can exercise for 30 minutes.
- Who will you call if you need in-person support? Let that person know what your plan is and what kind of support you might need.
- Are there any activities you can do instead of drinking on the weekend? Maybe you can replace Friday nights at the bar with Friday nights playing board games.
- Practice how you will respond when offered a drink. Now that you know what situations in which you are likely to drink, practice how you will respond to others in social drinking situations.
- Find a new drink to enjoy.
- Decide how you will answer when someone asks you why you don’t drink.
- Practice your firm yet polite “no, thank you” if someone suggests you drink just one.
- Find support. Talk to family and friends about your intentions, as well as what you want to accomplish. Find a community (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) that can support and relate to you while you change your drinking habits.
- Reward yourself. Studies show that rewards help train your brain. How can you reward yourself when you choose not to drink? Maybe you can buy yourself chocolate with the money saved from not buying alcohol.
- What’s in it for you? Write it down. Research also shows that when you keep reminding yourself of the benefits that you’ll receive from achieving your goals, the actions you regularly take to achieve them lead to permanent change. Remind yourself about the benefits and enjoy them as you experience them.
- Some benefits include reducing your risk of alcohol-related illness, saving money, more energy in your everyday life, and closer relationships.
- Develop a self-care routine. Get to the point where you’re too busy being productive and healthy that you believe a drink of alcohol would ruin it for you. Start exercising more, reading, and eating healthy! Learn or revisit a hobby. Start finding fun ways to take care of yourself.
- Don’t give up. You’re bound to have periods where avoiding alcohol is harder than usual or you fall back on your old habits. When this happens, look back at the benefits you’ve written down and reach out to a trusted friend for support. Take a deep breath, remember you are human, and try again.
Remember that big change takes time. Whether you want to quit drinking completely or reduce your drinking, you’re making a big change in your life! The steps you take can dramatically impact your health, relationships, and quality of life for the better.
You’ve got this!
To Your Success,
Happy hours can be a great way to unwind after a stressful day at work. You bond with your coworkers, talk about your day, and listen to some upbeat music. On the other hand, if you make such activities a regular routine, you could be taking in more alcohol and empty calories than you want.
Plus, you may be training yourself to think that consumption is the only way to relax. You can’t remove all the stress from daily life, but you can learn to deal with it without creating more troubles. Start with these ideas for relaxing without alcohol or food.
Calorie-Free Ways to Relax on Your Own:
- Breathe deeply. Pause and take a few calming breaths. Inhale from down in your diaphragm instead of up in your chest. Lengthen your exhalations to match your inhalations. Focus on the air as it moves in and out of your nostrils.
- Meditate and pray. Sit down for a few moments and connect with yourself and the divine. Observe your thoughts without judging them. Give thanks for your blessings.
- Engage in visualization. Close your eyes and imagine something that makes you feel happy and inspired. Picture yourself surrounded by family and friends or excelling at a task that you find fulfilling.
- Draw a bath. Fill your tub with warm water and enjoy a luxurious soak. Buy fragrant bath salts or make your own. Set out fluffy towels, candles, and other accessories of your choice.
- Stretch your body. Make it a habit to stand up about every half hour when you’re working at your desk. Place your hands on your lower spine for support, and do a slight backbend. Rise up tall, and reach your hands down to the floor, bending your knees if necessary.
- Take a walk. Stroll around the block or hike the trails at your local park. Pick a quiet time of day and explore new routes.
- Appreciate nature. Scientific studies prove that nature has the power to soothe us. Head outdoors or watch videos about sandy beaches and ancient forests.
- Learn progressive relaxation. Experiment with progressive muscle relaxation. Start with your hands, squeezing each muscle group as you breathe in, and releasing as you breathe out. Continue across the rest of your body.
Calorie-Free Ways to Relax with Others:
- Practice yoga. Yoga cultivates community as well as stress relief and physical fitness. Bring a friend with you to your next class. Invite others to join you for breakfast afterwards.
- Play sports. As long as you avoid extreme competition, sports can be relaxing. Schedule a game of tennis or darts.
- Go dancing. Take listening to music a step further by getting out on the dance floor. Sign up for rumba lessons or spend your next date night at a club with a live band.
- Pet your dog. Remember your animal companions too. Studies show that talking to them actually tends to be less stressful than interacting with humans because we don’t worry about being judged.
- Talk it over. On the other hand, your fellow humans are probably going to have more insights into how to deal with your love life or conflicts at work. Call a friend when you need to vent or discover a different perspective on whatever is on your mind.
- Laugh it up. Humor makes our struggles easier to bear. Spend time with others who encourage you to see the funny aspects of parenthood or practicing law.
Whether you’re on your own or surrounded by friends, you can banish stress safely and effectively. Learning to relax without alcohol or food will help you to stay slim and peaceful.
Did you find these suggestions helpful? If you would like to add to the conversation or have a suggestion, please comment below.
To Your Success,
Like most people, I want to be productive, but have struggled with self sabotage in the past. It is relatively easy to fall back into old habits. In fact, sometimes I wake up in the morning, with all kinds of enthusiasm for the projects I am determined to going to get done during the day. Now fast forward a few hours, and suddenly I’m dragging myself home at nightfall wondering where the day went, feeling like I never accomplished anything at all.
How to get past this? Simple! Here are some things that I have had success with:
Listen to Music
It’s hard to get yourself going if your mood is what’s dragging. Thankfully this is a quick fix. I generally put on some music I love, something fast-paced and catchy for a quick pick-me-up and watch your productivity soar.
Get up and Move
Like listening to music, putting your body in motion will build your energy levels (so long as you’re not trying to run a marathon). Dance around the room, take a brisk walk or try a few jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. Then tackle your task again, wide-awake and energized.
Conversely, sometimes what I need is some quiet time. During the times I find my mind racing, and unable to concentrate on what I’m doing, meditation tends to slow things down. I find a quiet place, close my eyes, and focus on my breathing. Take deep breaths, nice and slow, and focus yourself on the present until you feel calm again.
Reassess What’s Important
It might be you’re not getting things done because you no longer find the value in your goal. If this seems to be the case, take some time to ask yourself some very crucial questions about why you’re on this journey. It might be you either need to shift your goal to something else entirely or, at the very least, adjust the outcome to serve your present needs.
When all else fails, if you do not feel your work has value, offer to help someone else. Mentoring is one of those win-win situations where you bring your life skills and experience to help someone else in need. At the same time, you rediscover your passion through the act of teaching others what you know.
Do all this, and it’s good-bye self-sabotage, hello accomplishment. Soon you’ll be more productive than ever! Have you tried any of these suggestions, and if so which one worked, or didn’t? I’d love to hear your thoughts!