Tips for taking a month off alcohol from The Alcohol Mindset Coach
Many of us attempt to take some time away from drinking alcohol, with mixed success. Kathryn Elliott, The Alcohol Mindset Coach, has some fantastic tips for keeping the momentum going for a successful break from the booze. She also gives some great insights into the mental and physical health benefits of taking a month (or longer) off drinking.
Who is The Alcohol Mindset Coach?
Kathryn is a Melbourne based alcohol coach, who works as a certified This Naked Mind alcohol coach with lived experience of alcohol dependence.
Kathryn works with men and women who want to look more closely at and change their mindset around alcohol, particularly those who identify as binge drinkers. You can find her on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/thealcoholmindsetcoach
What are the mental and physical health benefits of taking a month off alcohol?
Kathryn told us that many of her clients notice both immediate and long-term health benefits from cutting back on drinking. Some of the key benefits include:
- Improved sleep - alcohol interrupts our quality of sleep, in particular REM sleep. Normally we would have 6-7 cycles of REM sleep per night but if we drink, we typically only have two.
- Stronger immune system – alcohol reduces white blood cell production which is needed to maintain a robust immune system
- Better hydrated – water levels in the body are higher.
- Skin health improves – due to hydration. More of a glow, less inflammation.
- Improved mood and concentration levels – due to better sleep, hydration, less inflammation.
- Weight loss – alcoholic drinks can be sugar and calorie dense and also lead to poorer food choices and increased appetite.
- Improved digestion – alcohol interferes with nutrient storage, absorption and elimination.
- Less anxiety and improved general mood – Alcohol increases the amount of stimulants and stress hormones in our system, which makes us feel more anxious, particularly the day after drinking.
- Improved bank balance – if you are spending $40-50 per week on alcohol it can certainly add up pretty quickly. And if you are driving it means you don’t have to spend on taxis/Ubers either, another saving.
- Reduced blood pressure - research has found that just four weeks without a drink can be enough to start lowering both blood pressure and heart rate.
- Improved liver function – your liver regenerates and has a rest from having to prioritise detoxing alcohol.
Kathryn’s tips to keep momentum going for a successful break from alcohol and beyond:
- Breaking habits requires a plan. Look at the week ahead – plan out each day to avoid your usual triggers for drinking.
- Focus on all the gains/positives you’ve experienced during your alcohol break and step into the next month as a challenge
- Take one day at a time and celebrate small achievements along the way. Every day is a big win for your overall health.
- Make sure you have alcohol free options readily available- there are so many fantastic options on the market now that you will easily find a new favourite.
- Change your routine – instead of having a drink at 5pm, go for a walk or a yoga class or call a friend.
- Plan activities that don’t centre around drinking/alcohol- try to catch up for breakfast or a walk instead of a drink with your usual drinking buddies.
- Try to avoid environments that promote/encourage drinking and socialise with people you know are encouraging of the change you have made.