Tips for dealing with drinking excess over Christmas

12 Days till Christmas Guide on alcohol from Georgia Foster creator of Drink Less Mind a training guide for people wanting to manage their drinking habits and reduce their drinking and enjoy it before the next stop  – which would be to stop drinking completely. 

If you are worried about drinking too much in the build up to Christmas and the day itself, here are 12 daily tips to support you to drink less alcohol.

14th December
Start reviewing in your mind the day before the social function you are going to, seeing yourself socially confident without a glass of alcohol in your hand. Keep practicing this. The more you do this, the more your mind will recall these moments and utilise them in the reality of this time of year.

15th December
Make a list of all the people who could potentially sabotage your healthier drinking habits. Becoming aware of the people who coerce you will help recognise who you need to watch when re-filling your glass.

16th December
Plan a few alcohol free days (AFDs) so you feel refreshed before your big party night.

17th December
Make a plan to eat something healthy before you go out or while you are drinking so that the alcohol has something to attach itself to.

18th December
Make a few notes on your phone, or somewhere readily available, about how great it feels waking up without a hangover after a party.  Keep looking at this when you feel a desire to drink too much.

19th December
Stick to the alcohol you know you can tolerate and are familiar with.  Do not try any fruity cocktails that pack an alcoholic punch.

20th December
Don’t be dragged into negative or fearful conversations about life. If you feel trapped in a deep, drunken discussion, lighten it up by saying ‘Let’s talk about something nice or funny that has happened to us recently’.

21th December
For every drink you don’t have remember less calories and a slimmer and healthier you in 2015!

22nd December
Make a plan to have a number of different conversations that are stimulating during boring parties, that people will find entertaining. This will help you to drink less, knowing that you are entertaining yourself and others without the need to drink too much.

23rd December
With each alcoholic drink, keep a glass of water handy to hydrate you.

24th December
Hold your glass in your non-dominate hand.  It will feel slightly uncomfortable so you will be more aware of what you are drinking.

25th December
Remember Christmas Day is only 1 day and whatever you have to deal with socially or emotionally will just be a memory tomorrow, so pace your drinking and enjoy the moment.

10 mantras for a happy, healthy, binge-free New Year

Your mind is an amazing tool.  Irrespective of your past, the neuroscientists confirm that you can change your unhelpful thinking habits to be more positive.  The key is to utilise the emotional part of the brain.  The best way to do this is to lie somewhere comfortable, put on some relaxing music, close your eyes and imagine yourself achieving what you want to achieve, while saying the following mantras or ones that resonate with you.  Practice this for 5 minutes a day and over a few weeks, your mind will learn that this is normal thinking and will enact on it more easily and comfortably.

  • It is safe for me to create a more positive future than my past
  • My mind does know how to be happy and I am practicing it right now
  • I am learning to think before I eat and drink so I can respond from a place of calm
  • I am enjoying drinking less alcohol naturally and easily
  • I am naturally making healthier choices as the days and nights are going by
  • I am feeling more confident as the days and nights are going by
  • I realise that I don’t have to be perfect to be happy
  • I am enjoying listening to my intuition more each day than ever before
  • I am open to new opportunities that will enhance my life
  • I am attracting emotional, kind and loving people
  • My thoughts are becoming more supportive, no matter what happens
  • I am enjoying becoming more assertive to having my needs met
  • I accept that life does not always work out the way I want it to, but that just means something better is coming along

5 things most people get wrong about drinking alcohol

  1. Drinking without eating to save on calories actually makes your hangover worse and then to make yourself feel better many people consume lots of carbohydrates.Best to eat while drinking, so the alcohol can be absorbed into food, so that you don’t binge the next day.
  2. Many people assume that drinking makes them more confident, sexy, witty and clever.This is a fallacy.Alcohol shuts down the critical and judgmental part of the brain, which is why some socially shy and anxious people like to drink a lot. Self-esteem is key to building confidence, so that you don’t need to drink to feel better.
  3. The Standard Glass measurement is not based on any medical fact.It is based on statistics from doctors who realised that people tend to under-calculate by 3 times how much they consume. The truth is that if people pace their drinking with 1 glass an hour over a 2-4 hour period whilst hydrating with water and eating food, a few times a week will generally be healthy.
  4. A lot of people who are worried about their drinking do not belong in Alcoholics Anonymous.They are emotional drinkers and use alcohol as a way to escape from the world.Once the emotional driver is understood, then with the right sort of stress management tool they can reduce.
  5. Some people assume that drinking the next day helps the hangover. This is untrue.It can lead into an unhelpful cycle of drinking every day. A hangover is a sign that your body is toxic and needs some recovery time.

The 5 tell tale signs that your drinking has become a problem

  1. You feel anxious and fearful about reducing your alcohol consumption
  2. Hangovers are becoming an every day occurrence
  3. Family and friends are commenting about your excessive drinking
  4. You sneaky drink or drink in secret
  5. Excessive drinking is starting to cause problems in your personal and professional life

Bad Drinking Habits and how to break them

Bad habits are actually not bad habits. The emotional part of the brain doesn’t know the difference between good and bad.  This part of the brain is where we learn and store coping strategies.  So, if you have learnt to associate alcohol with feeling better, then your brain may start to create an unsupportive drinking behaviour.  Below are a few examples of how to train your brain to move on from this vicious cycle of drinking.

  • Whenever you have a desire to drink and it is not an appropriate time, such as going into a meeting or that you would actually prefer a wine than a coffee, take a pause moment and ask yourself what you think that glass of wine will give you?  Is it calm, or confidence? Recognise that these emotions are driving the thoughts of drinking.  So, during this time bring in a funny memory or loving safe memory and hold it there for a few seconds.  This memory connection to happiness will shift your thinking away from drinking.
  • Keep a diary over a month of when you succumb to excessive drinking. There will be a direct correlation between your emotional state and the drive to drink.  Understanding why you need to over-drink will give you a conscious acknowledgement that something is not right in your life and needs to be addressed.
  • People pleasers who have the inability to say ‘no’ can often attract heavy drinking bullies.  So, if you feel guilty about opting out of a drinking session, tell your friends a little white lie, such as you are not feeling well, or you have an important meeting in the morning.  Even better, tell them you have a cracking hangover and couldn’t face a drink!

Binge drinking, or what I call ‘all or nothing’ drinking, is driven by the perfectionist personality.  The Perfectionist drinks excessively or not at all.  There is no in-between.  This means that alcohol free days are easy but drinking a healthy amount in one sitting is fairly impossible. A great way to combat this behaviour is learn some daily relaxation techniques to take the pressure off to be perfect but rather be in the moment and enjoy. When your mind learns it is safe to ‘just be’ it won’t need to drink to run away from being perfect.

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