Making Healthy Choices for a Healthy You This Summer

Not only is it Mental Health Awareness Week (May 1-7), but summer is just around the corner!

We’re guessing that you’re as excited as we are to get out there and enjoy it! With beautiful weather and sunshine come barbeques, outdoor sporting events, picnics, camping and so much more. All of these events are great times waiting to be enjoyed. These are also occasions where alcohol is often present.

We want you to get the most out of your summer in the sun, so why not first take some time to think about your drinking habits and learn some easy tips to lower the amount of alcohol you consume. While we know that enjoying a cold beverage on a hot day can be satisfying, there are also plenty of non-alcoholic and tasty options out there that are far less harmful to your mind and body.

Even mild to moderate use of alcohol has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, cancer, mental health problems and liver disease. This alone seems like a good reason to skip the booze and enjoy a cool refreshing “mocktail”, water or ice tea.

However, should you choose to partake in alcoholic beverages this season, here are some helpful ways to lower the amount of alcohol you are consuming, so that you can enjoy a fun, healthy and safe summer:

First and foremost, pay attention to how much you drink. The standard size of an alcoholic drink has about 14 grams of alcohol. This translates to a 12oz glass of beer, a 5oz glass of wine, or a single shot of hard alcohol (like vodka or rum). So, a pint of 5% beer is actually 1.3 standard drinks and a pint of 7% beer or cider is equivalent to 2 standard drinks.

Surprising? Often when people start calculating the number of standard drinks they have consumed they are astonished to learn that the number is much higher than the number of drinks they have actually ordered.

While even 1 drink comes with risks, high-risk drinking is considered to be 5 or more drinks at one time for men and 4 or more drinks for women. This means that for ladies… 2 double rum and cokes and that backyard barbeque has placed you in a high-risk drinking category.

Not only will high-risk drinking increase the likelihood of developing several health problems, but it also increases the risk for car accidents, falls and injuries, and sexual or physical assault. Alcohol use can also lead to dehydration. Under the hot summer sun, this could cause heat stroke… which doesn’t sound like a great way to enjoy the summer does it?

Get a friend to cut down with you. Summer is time for fun with friends so my not find someone who can cutback with you. Find fun non-alcoholic drinks together and use each other for support whey you’re feeling tempted or peer pressured to drink.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Drinking on an empty stomach causes the alcohol to be absorbed into your system faster, which means it is going to have a stronger impact on your brain and body. Alcohol can lower your inhibitions and lead to you making bad decisions, including drinking more than you had intended to. So sip slowly and let yourself be in control instead of the alcohol.

Avoid easy access. Do you have a wine rack sitting on your counter or a fridge door full of beers and ciders? Having alcohol easily accessible makes it more likely that you are going to consume it. So remove the temptation. Removing alcohol from your immediate vicinity will help you to have more booze-free days each week, which your body and mind will thank you for.

Alternate with a non-alcoholic drink. Alternating an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic one or water can actually result in your reducing your consumption by half! On top of that, drinking water is giving your body something it actually needs and will keep you hydrated and healthy.

Put the money towards something else. There is no denying that alcohol is expensive. Why not put that money towards something else? Start putting the money that you would have spent on alcohol in a jar instead and see how much you can save. Whether it a holiday or special item you have been eyeing for a while you can now get one step closer to attaining a goal instead of drinking your money away.

So there you go! Try out some of these tips and see what happens. Take the Be You Promise this summer so you can enjoy the happiest and healthiest version of you all summer long!