How to Drink More Mindfully
Posted by Nicola Elliott
Being BIG believers in the 80:20 rule that’s more about living a realistic life rather than one of deprivation, we bet we’re not alone in having enjoyed a G&T (or two) this February (they’re good for soul). But should we be more mindful of how much we drink rather than going hell for leather one month and then totally sober the next?
Alcohol is a commonly used crutch to help us de-stress. That glass of wine once the kids are in bed. Cocktails after a tough week at work. We’ve all been there. But it’s one of things that nags at us, we know we should drink less, so we were intrigued by Rosamund Dean’s new book, Mindful Drinking.
We caught up with her to find out more. “I was the girl who was always up for a drink. The one who made other people feel better about their own drinking, because I would always join them, and generally out drink them,” says Rosamund. “From family gatherings to bonding with colleagues, partners or ’mum friends’, every one of my relationships seemed to be built on booze. And drinking was how I relaxed: a glass of wine with dinner after a tough day at work, or a cold G&T after battling the kids into bed.”
“One of the most common reasons for drinking too much is doing so without really thinking about it. Accepting a glass of wine because everyone else is having one, or pouring yourself a drink at home every night. Mindlessly doing something because you’ve always done it is a tough habit to break.”
“In an effort to teach myself how to drink less, I wrote a book about it, Mindful Drinking: How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life. I interviewed psychologists, mindfulness gurus, behaviour change experts and successful moderate drinkers to create a programme that has changed my life.”
“In a nutshell I go by the Rule of Three. This means I only allow myself to drink on three days every week and, on the days I do drink, I have no more than three drinks."
Here are my tips to help you stick to it: -
- When it comes to social occasions, plan exactly what you’re going to drink, and how much, in advance. Have an excuse in mind if a well-meaning friend tries to pressure you into drinking more than you intended.
- Come up with a list of alternative stress relievers that you can turn to if you’re tempted to reach for the bottle. It could be anything from having a bath and lighting a NEOM De-Stress candle or going for a run, to dancing around the kitchen to hopelessly uncool music.
- Find a signature soft drink. Once you have an alcohol-free drink that you enjoy and feel comfortable ordering, you will never again panic, flail around and agree to a wine when someone else is getting a round in.
- Practise sober socialising. Meet friends for brunch at the weekend, or a coffee in the afternoon. The more you arrange sober social occasions, the less weird it will feel. - Monitor your drinking (DrinkAware’s Track and Calculate Units app is really good). Since studies have shown that monitoring habits helps improve them.
- Re-frame slip-ups in a positive way: ie. falling off the wagon helps you identify a trigger that you can now anticipate in the future. “Changing your relationship with alcohol can be done. All it takes is preparation, commitment and a change of mindset. Mindful drinking is not about deprivation, it’s about freedom. I’ll say cheers to that. Simple to remember, even when you’re a glass of Pinot down, and likely to make you feel much better about yourself. We’re in.”
Mindful Drinking: How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life by Rosamund Dean If you have a problem with alcohol please seek the advice of your doctor.