The festive season often brings joy, celebration, and a few too many glasses of holiday cheer. While indulging in alcohol during Christmas and New Year is a common tradition, the aftermath may leave some individuals wondering how to manage their alcohol consumption moving forward. In this blog, we’ll explore strategies for responsible drinking and provide resources for those seeking additional support.
Understanding the Impact
After the holiday season, it’s not uncommon to reflect on the potential consequences of overindulgence. Excessive alcohol intake can contribute to physical and mental health concerns, impacting daily life and overall well-being (Stephens & Duka, 2008). Recognizing the need for moderation is the first step toward a healthier relationship with alcohol.
Understanding Why You Drink
Deliberately considering ‘why’ and ‘when’ you drink, can help you identify patterns and triggers. This can be a first step to managing them.
Some example, patterns and triggers for drinking alcohol:
- At home after work?
- On the weekend?
- While cooking dinner?
- With friends?
- To switch off or forget about the day?
- When bored or lonely?
- Because others are drinking?
- Because you feel uncomfortable?
- Because you don’t want to feel?
- If you have experienced trauma, maybe drinking means you don’t think about or feel emotions about traumatic experiences or the consequences of.
Most likely you are reading this because you want to change your relationship with alcohol. Thinking about the ways your life could improve by drinking less, might help. Being aware of what you might feel (the potential for loss) by not having alcohol in your life the same way is also important.
Thinking about your reasons for change, your values and if alcohol use and the consequences of alcohol use are in line with your values can help as you start to make changes.
Setting Realistic Goals
Establishing realistic and achievable goals for alcohol consumption is essential. Start by identifying the factors that contribute to excessive drinking, such as social pressure or stress. Consider setting limits on the number of drinks consumed in a given time frame and choose non-alcoholic alternatives when possible.
If managing alcohol intake feels challenging, seeking support can make a significant difference. Talking to friends, family, or a mental health professional can provide valuable insights and encouragement. Additionally, support groups, both in-person and online, offer a sense of community for individuals navigating similar challenges.
If your alcohol use relates to experience of trauma (no matter how long ago) then consulting with a mental health professional is very important.
Incorporating Healthy Habits
Embracing a healthier lifestyle can complement efforts to manage alcohol use. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep contribute to overall well-being and may reduce the desire for excessive drinking. Finding alternative stress-relief strategies, such as meditation or engaging in hobbies, can also be beneficial.
For those facing persistent challenges in managing alcohol consumption, seeking professional assistance is a proactive step. Mental health difficulties are often related to problematic alcohol consumption. The Centre for Clinical Psychology in Melbourne offers therapeutic services to support individuals to improve mental health and manage substance use. Trained psychologists can provide personalized strategies tailored to individual needs.
As the holiday festivities come to an end, reflecting on your alcohol consumption and taking steps toward responsible and mindful drinking can benefit your well-being. Setting realistic goals, seeking support, incorporating healthy habits, and, when necessary, reaching out to professionals can contribute to a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.
If you or someone you know overindulged in alcohol use over the holiday period, help is available. You can consider booking an appointment at the Centre for Clinical Psychology, Melbourne. Contact them at 03 9077 0122 or visit https://ccp.net.au/booking/. Take the first step toward a healthier and more balanced life today.
Stephens, D. N., & Duka, T. (2008). Review. Cognitive and emotional consequences of binge drinking: role of amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 363(1507), 3169–3179. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2008.0097