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      Tips for drinking less this holiday season

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      By Tara Jackson, Holistic Wellbeing Coach for Sensitive Souls | Seasonal living advocate | Nap lover

      We’re coming in to a time of year known for more indulgence, when it’s easy to drink way too much and end up feeling awful all over and increasingly so as you keep topping up with every work or social event and more, and when you work in an office there can be many.

      I struggled with drinking at this time of year for a good decade of my life. When I worked in an office I loved the Christmas parties as they were a time to let loose and celebrate the year gone by. I also had some incredible colleagues and we always had a lot of fun. 

      But more often than not I’d drink past my limits and have to be put in a cab or manage to stumble in one myself. We’d laugh it off the next morning in the office, as we devoured our hangover breakfasts together, and there were always a number of amusing stories to tell. But, deep inside I knew something wasn’t right and I always felt as though alcohol had a hold over me. 

      I noticed my health mentally and physically slowly declining over the years I drank, and particularly in December when my drinking was at an all-time high. I gained weight so easily and found it increasingly hard to lose. I felt constant low levels of anxiety and struggled with depression. As well as that my digestion was all over the place and I had to know where the bathroom was at all times. Come January I’d be feeling awful inside my body, bloated, stiff, low in energy, constant mood swings and like I needed to eat fruit and vegetables only for a month to feel like me. It was a seemingly never-ending cycle.

      Aside from the moments drinking and connecting, which was one of the main reasons why I drank, the negative effects began to far outweigh any positive benefits and I started to challenge myself to regular periods not drinking, ranging in length from 10 days – 6 months. These periods, over time, made me realise how good I can naturally feel (a few things for me are: more energy and wanting to be more active, weight loss, clearer skin, feeling calmer and more balanced, sleeping better, better digestion, more embodied, connected and grounded, more money in my bank account) and how much fun you can actually have not drinking. Something I genuinely thought was never possible. Today I have chosen to live a sober life and can honestly say I feel I so much better all over.

      You don’t have to be in the same place as I was, nor do you have to stop drinking forever. But, if you feel that you’d like to drink less or stay off the booze this holiday season, even if there are a number of events you have to go to, here are some tips which might support you. 

      1. Connect with why you want to stay off the booze or drink less. Really feel into it and connect with the vision of yourself that is who you want to be this holiday season. It may also be for health, financial or other personal reasons. Keep this vision and / or reasons somewhere you can see them daily, to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.
      2. When it comes to work events, have a plan for how you are going to handle them. I know it’s easy to feel a lot of peer pressure and also easy to have a few too many. So, by knowing what you are going to do you – making a firm choice – and sticking to it, you’ll be putting yourself at an advantage. You could decide to have one drink then switch to soft drinks. After the first one nobody notices anyway. Or you can be strong and say you aren’t drinking. Half the time this triggers people as they are concerned about their own drinking and again, after the first one nobody notices. Plus you’ll be the one feeling upbeat the next morning. 
      3. Be prepared as a whole this festive season with tools (such as some of the following) to support you. This way you can manage how YOU want to handle your drinking or not drinking.
      4. When you’re at an event ask about the increasing range of awesome non-alcoholic options available, so you don’t feel like you are missing out. 
      5. Put aside all the money you are saving and treat yourself to something that will make you feel good in January, or at a time of your choice. Or you could give the money to a cause you believe in.
      6. Keep reminding yourself why you are choosing to not drink or drink less. How do you want to feel? How will you feel the next morning? 
      7. Find a support group or meetup either online or in person, with other non-drinkers. This can be particularly helpful as if things get tough you can reach out and get some inspiration, encouragement or motivation to keep going. These days there are so many groups online (free and paid for) that offer support for not drinking without labelling yourself, you can just show up and get the support you need for where you are at and help others too.
      8. Sign up for a physical activity, such as a charity run, which will require you to be in good shape. This can be motivating as you’ll need to keep up your exercise and movement, which is a lot harder to do with a hangover.
      9. Get creative. So often we drink to feel something inside of ourselves, to express or let loose. Think about what you did as a child when you didn’t drink alcohol. You likely found a way to entertain yourself (if you’re my age anyway ;-)) and spent time using your imagination. Creativity is a similar outlet and way to connect with this part of your being and you can do it any way that feels good to you. Creating can be painting or drawing yes, but it also can be flower arranging, photography, singing or any way that you enjoy expressing yourself.

      Wishing you a wonderful festive season that feels good in your body.

      About The Author

      Tara is a holistic wellbeing coach who works with highly sensitive people to help them with seasonal and cyclical self-care, self-love, reconnecting with themselves and being fully embodied, so they can thrive in today’s fast-paced world. 

      You can join her free seasonal self-care challenges for sensitive people here (http://bit.ly/30daysofselfcare) and find other ways to connect and work with her here (www.tarajackson.co.uk).

      The PA Life Workplace Wellness & Wellbeing Summit

      PA Life will be hosting seminar sessions throughout the two-day PA Show on February 25th & 26th.

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