Being alcohol-free presents a whole set of challenges during the summer months, but being a moderate drinker can bring a whole new set of hurdles, such as, how do you not get carried away if you do consume some alcohol? In this week’s blog Sarah Haslewood, Club Soda member and freelance writer and blogger, talks about the challenges of summer moderation and how to overcome them.
It’s reported that 27% of Brits drink more alcohol when the weather warms up. Perhaps the summer doesn’t affect your drinking, but we can’t ignore the fact that over a quarter hit alcohol harder during the summer months. There are several factors why there is a correlation between warm weather and increased alcohol consumption, including social events and lighter evenings. Although you have no control over such factors, you do have control over how much you drink. There are also ways you can manage how regularly you drink and how you can head into summer with a mindful approach to drinking.
Sunshine and moderation?
With new year resolutions fresh and challenging, January is an opportunity to review your drinking habits. Whether to you that was Dry January or cutting back on alcohol, it’s a good time to reconsider your relationship with alcohol. However, four months on and with summer knocking at the door, best-laid plans may be buried or hanging by a thread at best. Now it’s time to start considering whether you need, or want, a drink rather than automatically opting for one.
Like it or not, the summer hosts several special occasions that provide carte blanche to drink. In 2017 and 2018 the ten most popular wedding dates of the year were from May to September. The most being in August. Therefore, it’s tricky to avoid a wedding in the summer. Then there’s the multitude of summer sporting events, such as Wimbledon, Ascot and Henley Regatta, and for 2019 the Cricket World Cup. Many occasions where it’s easy to be accompanied by alcohol.
How to be mindful
It’s tempting to drink more alcohol when the evenings are longer, and the weather is warmer. The enhanced opportunities for socialising bring the association with alcohol. The odd drink here and there can add up each week. Know your units, so that you can work out how much is in your favourite tipple. Count your units each week so that you have a realistic account of how much you are drinking rather than how much you think you are consuming. If you have planned social events, then try and ensure you have alcohol free days ahead of these and after. Try not to have all your weekly units in one go.
Drinking in moderation doesn’t have to be boring or isolated. You can still meet with friends without drinking. Take up a sport or enter an event so that you can be outside and enjoy the summer without the need to add a drink into the equation. Don’t let the ‘well done me’ mindset of completing exercise give you an excuse to have a drink. It’s likely that you will need water rather than alcohol. Focus on the satisfaction of the feat and reward yourself with something other than alcohol. There are other options!
You can’t escape the summer social events, holidays or sunny evenings, so if you are drinking focus on some simple approaches to build into habits. Drink slowly and alternate each alcoholic drink with water. Often, we are dehydrated but consume alcohol when our body requires water. Ensure you eat. Don’t be pressured by the ‘eatings cheating’ adage, you need to soak up the alcohol, and while you eat, you won’t be drinking. When you’re at a social event, if you can, avoid group drink rounds because then you start drinking at everyone else’s pace. Buy your own when you are ready. Add ice to your wine to dilute it, or opt for a spritzer. If you’re drinking at home, limit yourself to alcohol only with your meal or pour a glass and then put the wine bottle out of sight. It’s too tempting if it’s sitting on the table watching you.
Change your mindset and try and moderate your drinking this summer. Consider if you need or want a drink and when you will have alcohol free days. Do some research into alcohol-free drinks or even those that are ‘light’ so that you are consuming less alcohol. Focus on the health benefits of not overdoing it, think clear skin, more energy and perhaps even weight loss. That’s not to mention a clear memory and a lack of ‘beer fear.’
If anything has to go to your head this summer, let it be the sun rather than alcohol.