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This month, I have been making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of alcohol I drink. For me, having an alcoholic drink is something I do socially with friends and family and after a beautiful summer of barbecues and dining al fresco in the garden, I realised I was drinking more and more. I was recently asked by Drink Aware to consider adding more Drink Free Days to my week to see the benefits and I’m really pleased with how it has gone.
Recently Drinkaware and Public Health England launched a campaign to increase awareness of the damage to your health that alchohol can cause. Did you know drinking more than the recommended units per week is harmful to your wellbeing and can negatively impact your health in a number of way?
Can I add #DrinkFreeDays into my weekly routine?
Over the last four weeks, I have been adding more Drink Free Days to my weekly routine. In my early adult life, I regularly drank with friends after college and was always up for a drink and the inevitable hangover during my university days. It was different back then, I had no responsibilities, I was young, free and single and had no-one else to worry about. I had time to lie in bed only surfacing for a snack when I got peckish whilst I slept the headache away. Fast forward to the here and now, I’m a work-from-home Mum with two young boys and a tendency to drink more when friends come round for a takeaway at the weekend, a barbecue in the garden in the summer or if we get a rare chance to go out out.
I decided to take a look at how my drinking was becoming more frequent and decided to add more drink free days to my week. In fact, I decided to completely cut it out for the month to see if I still had some willpower and to my surprise, I do!
My 4 week #DrinkFreeDays diary
Week One: This week went really well. I was very conscious about making the right choices and drinking lots more water instead of having a little tipple once the boys had gone to bed. In the past, I have had a drink in celebration for getting through a particularly bad day but this week, I decided against it and cracked on with some work instead.
Week Two: A particularly challenging week with a poorly toddler. I had considered having a drink at the end of a busy week to help me relax and de-stress, instead I handed over the parenting reigns to my husband and had a long hot soak in the bath. Being able to enjoy some quiet relaxing time before bed did me the world of good and gave me the hour of self-care I was craving.
Week Three: A more sociable week with a friends birthday celebrations. There was Prosecco and chocolate cake on offer but I made a conscious effort to say no and had a coffee instead. In these circumstances, I find I can let ‘influence’ take over and join in with the drinking with my friends. One leads to another and before you know it, you’ve got a hangover and in charge of a one year old all day. Since having Freddie last year, I can’t drink much alcohol without it going to my head rather quickly and the next day I always feel a bit sluggish. I felt brilliant for saying no and enjoying the chocolate cake instead.
Week Four: We were invited to my in-laws house for engagement celebrations where there was more Prosecco and champagne on offer. I decided to drive to their house that evening so my husband could have a drink instead and removed the option for me to drink.
In the past I have found myself declining invitations out instead of going and refusing certain food and drink and sometimes it’s not worked in my favour (i.e no future invitations!) This was different and my family understood why I had driven and were very supportive in me not drinking and being the designated driver.
It always amazes me at how many units are in a standard serving. It’s no wonder that they can quickly add up. Over on the Drinkaware website, there’s a handy Drink Compare Calculator that lets you find out how your weekly drinking compares to the rest of the UK. It is really interesting to find out what the weekly recommended unit intake is. It’s just 14 units per week, and those 14 units can quickly add up when you’re drinking with dinner each night, on a night out or even just a takeaway and a drink. The Drinkaware website (and the Drinkaware app) are really useful with plenty of information, facts, advice and drinker tracker and tools to try out.
Over the last four weeks, I’ve enjoyed having #drinkfreedays. It’s helped me regain some of the self-care time that I desperately needed and has also helped me build up my willpower (if only I could apply that same logic to chocolate!) I know that by having more #drinkfreedays I’m increasing all the health benefits including sleeping much better, reducing the risk of getting life-changing diseases and increasing multiple wellbeing benefits.
With my #drinkfreedays I’ll continue to enjoy walks in our local park with the boys, enjoying the fresh air, kicking leaves and reaping all the health benefits. To find out more about the health benefits you could be seeing by reducing your alcohol consumption with #drinkfreedays, and to take the Drink Compare Calculator for yourself head over to https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/drink-compare-calculator/