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Beyond Dry July: A Balanced Approach to Healthy Drinking

Jul 1, 2024

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Dry July, the month-long challenge to abstain from alcohol, has become a popular way to reset your relationship with alcohol and potentially improve your health. However, for some people, complete abstinence can feel restrictive or even counterproductive.

This blog explores a more balanced approach to healthy drinking, focusing on mindful consumption and sustainable changes throughout the year.

Moderation, Not Abstinence:

While Dry July promotes complete abstinence, a more sustainable approach might be to focus on moderation. This could involve:

  • Setting personal drink limits (e.g., two drinks per occasion).
  • Choosing alcohol-free days throughout the week.
  • Opting for lower-alcohol beverages (e.g., light beers, wines).

This allows you to enjoy alcohol in moderation while potentially reducing your overall intake.

two people enjoying a drink

Celebrate the Non-Alcoholic Revolution:

Let’s move beyond viewing Dry July as the absence of alcohol and instead celebrate the abundance of delicious non-alcoholic options available:

  • Mocktail Magic: Unleash your inner mixologist! Create exciting and flavourful mocktails with fresh juices, herbs, and spices. Explore online recipe resources or experiment with your own flavour combinations.
  • Sparkling Delights: Discover a wide variety of sparkling waters with interesting flavours to tantalise your taste buds. From citrusy twists to floral notes, there’s a sparkling water to suit every preference.
  • Beyond Beer and Wine: The market for non-alcoholic beverages is booming, offering innovative beers and wines with complex flavours that rival their alcoholic counterparts. Enjoy a hoppy IPA or a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon without the buzz.

This way, you can still enjoy refreshing drinks in social settings without the alcohol.

fruit drink with a bottle of sparkling water

Tailor it to Your Needs:

Not everyone needs to completely abstain from alcohol to improve their health. Here’s how you can personalise your approach:

  • Cut Back on Specific Types: If sugary cocktails are your weakness, focus on reducing those while enjoying a glass of wine occasionally.
  • Reduce Frequency: Aim to drink less often, even if you don’t necessarily reduce the amount per sitting.

The key is to find a balanced approach that fits your lifestyle and preferences.

Long-Term Sustainability:

Dry July is a temporary challenge. However, focusing on long-term, sustainable changes has greater benefits:

  • Mindful Consumption: Be present and savour the taste of your drink, avoiding mindless sipping. Pay attention to your body’s signals and stop when you’ve had enough.
  • Social Enjoyment: Enjoy alcohol in moderation as part of a social occasion, not the sole focus. Focus on connecting with friends and family, not the number of drinks consumed.
  • Prioritise Healthy Activities: Focus on activities that promote well-being, like exercise, healthy eating, and stress management. This holistic approach creates a foundation for a healthy relationship with alcohol and overall well-being.

Alternative Challenges for a Well-Rounded Approach:

If you crave a month-long health challenge, consider other options that complement healthy drinking habits:

  • Move More May: Focus on increasing physical activity through daily walks, new exercise routines, or joining a sports team. This not only improves your physical health but can also reduce stress and cravings.
  • Sleep Sound September: Prioritise healthy sleep habits by establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimising your sleep environment. Good sleep is crucial for physical and mental health, and it can also help regulate your appetite and cravings.

Remember, the key is to find a healthy and sustainable approach that works for you.

people doing yoga

The New Zealand Heart Foundation on Alcohol:

It’s important to be aware that the New Zealand Heart Foundation advises that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. If you currently don’t drink, they recommend not starting. If you do drink, it’s best to drink less. Alcohol increases your risk of several health conditions, including atrial fibrillation, hemorrhagic stroke, heart failure, and ischaemic heart disease.

If you are looking for help or need guidance on your relationship with alcohol, here are some resources:

Remember, a healthy lifestyle is key to overall well-being. Find a balanced approach to alcohol consumption that works for you and prioritise activities that promote your physical and mental health.

This approach goes beyond Dry July and empowers you to make sustainable changes for a healthier you.

Richard Kellow

Richard Kellow

Richard is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and Virtual Gastric Band Practitioner based in Rotorua in the gorgeous Bay of Plenty. With his personal experience and training from the UK, US, and New Zealand, Richard is a living testament to the power of hypnosis.

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