Alcohol consumption drastically increased worldwide over the past two years. Seemingly in every culture across the globe, COVID restrictions and lockdowns led to spikes in drinking. Unfortunately it’s also led to more health-related issues, including higher blood pressure, weight gain, depression/anxiety, and more.
Plus with the holidays coming up, many folks will continue partying straight through until New Year’s resolutions season. After all, who doesn’t want to get their seasonal fix of pumpkin-flavored everything (including beer and cocktails)? But there’s a lot of good reasons to cut back, even as the pressure of gift-buying mounts.
Alcohol is a toxin, no exceptions, ever
Alcohol affects metabolism, reduces sleep quality, and therefore increases anxiety — because what is anxiety if not just a heightened physiological response?
Regularly drinking alcohol (defined as 1 drink per day) also temporarily increases blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, then the stress from the holidays combined with more alcohol just to relax a little could be potentially harmful.
It seems counterintuitive, but the way out of the anxiety is not by adding alcohol, but learning to live without it.
So what’s the alternative?
Maybe you’ve tried cutting alcohol out before. Sober October and Dry January are popular self-inflicted challenges to curb a drinking habit. But like any habit, you can’t just cut it out; you actually have to replace the habit with something else. Swapping out alcohol for water is definitely an option (and probably the cheapest out of all of them), but you’ve also got more options that may mimic the feeling of drinking — minus the alcohol.
More restaurants are offering “mocktails,” the cocktail without the booze. This may be a great option if you’re looking for something fancier to enjoy when you’re out with friends.
Companies like Surely and many more have taken the market by storm, introducing wine drinkers to a new possibility of great wine without alcohol.
The bottom line on cutting alcohol
This holiday season, just know that you do have a choice in what you put in your body, regardless of how you may think others perceive you. If you have been considering going alcohol-free, there are some great options above for ways you can imbibe without the negative consequences of alcohol.