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Drink safely during Dry January and beyond
29 December 2016

Drink safely

Do you drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week?

Try the impact calculator to check your weekly intake. See how much you can save in £££s and calories by reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.

Over Christmas and the New Year period we tend to drink more than usual. Don’t let drink sneak up on you.

Simple steps to cut down alcohol

The good news is there’s no need to stop drinking alcohol altogether. Dry January doesn’t mean you have to go cold turkey – set yourself an achievable goal to reduce your alcohol intake each week and build this into your normal routine.

The guidelines state that you shouldn’t regularly drink more than 2 units a day – and up to a maximum of 14 units in a week.

Simple steps to keep on track:

  • Introduce drink-free days.
  • Take a smaller drink – a smaller bottle of beer instead of a pint or a small glass of wine rather than a large one.
  • Try and avoid mixers – they often have lots of sugar.
  • Drink with a meal only.
  • Have a tea, coffee or glass of water instead. The chances are you won’t feel like alcohol afterwards.

Find other ways to wind down

If you drink to unwind, try finding other ways to relax e.g.:

  • Catch up with a friend over the phone/FaceTime.
  • Start a new hobby – something you really want to do.
  • Rediscover your music collection.
  • Walk the dog, go for a run, take a bike ride or go for a swim.
  • Join a local club, gym or five-a-side team.
  • Reward yourself – go to the cinema, treat the family to a day out.

A new, improved you

Cutting back on alcohol will help with your general wellbeing and you’re likely to notice the benefits quite quickly:

  • Feel better and fresher in the mornings.
  • Have more energy and feel less tired during the day.
  • You may stop gaining weight or lose some pounds.
  • Your skin and hair may start to look better.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • A better night’s sleep.
  • You’ll have more £££s in your pocket to save or spend on a special treat e.g. getting a facial, having your nails done, doing sports or a unique experience.

Quick facts

  • Drinking a glass of wine equals the same amount of calories eating a slice of cake.
  • 917,000 violent accidents each year relate to alcohol.
  • You are more likely to drink more if your anxious, depressed, stressed or in debt.

If you’re not managing

If you can’t control how much you’re drinking and you know you’re drinking too much – please seek immediate professional advice from your GP or national support line. It is good to talk to someone to understand what might be causing this and work through strategies to help you manage it better, so you can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Additional support and information

  • Alcohol Concern – try the interactive alcohol calculator. Can you cut down your weekly alcohol intake?
  • Drink Aware – including effects on the body and sleeping.
  • Dry January – sign up to national campaign.
  • Frank – drug advice.
  • Mind – alcohol and managing anxiety and stress.
  • NHS Choices – including info for carers of people with unsafe alcohol drinking.
  • NHS One You – including App alcohol checker.