Not all that long ago, participating in happy hour was seen as a non-negotiable, and deciding not to drink meant one of only three things: a) you were pregnant, b) you were recovering from alcoholism, or c) you were the unlucky designated driver. Yet, in recent years, it’s become more and more normal for our social lives not to revolve solely around drinking. In fact, the Office for National Statistics shows that the proportion of adults who drink is at the lowest level on record (only 56.9 per cent of those aged 16 and over had a drink in the week before being interviewed, in comparison to 64.2 per cent in 2005) and Alcohol Research UK estimates that 4.5 million people took part in Dry January this year.
Here at Neat, we're all about advocating a balanced lifestyle that works for you, and we’re certainly not here to tell anyone whether drinking is right or wrong. However, for those who ARE choosing to cut down or go tee-total, here are some of the ways it could benefit you, as well as our top tips for surviving social situations:
You’ll Save Money
Let’s not beat around the bush here; ordering a lime and soda is a whole lot cheaper than sinking three G&T’s and whatever else you’d usually order at the bar. Trust us, over a year, that small weekly saving will start to add up, and that far-flung holiday to Cuba might be more attainable than you originally thought...
You’ll Feel More Productive
There’s nothing worse than trying to tackle your inbox with a pounding head on a Friday morning, after getting accidentally drunk at a 'casual' dinner the night before. Paired with a lack of sleep, you're sure to end your week on an all-time productivity low! Maybe we'll pass on the wine list after all...
It Can Benefit Your Mental Health
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with the odd drink or two, if you’re someone who suffers from poor mental health, you’ll likely know the effect that too much alcohol can have on your mind. Alcohol is a depressant after all, so cutting back on weekly, heavy boozing sessions could have an amazing impact on your overall mood.
You’ll Learn To Be More Confident In Yourself
A drink loosens us stiff Brits up, and many of us don’t feel confident in social situations unless we have a strong drink in our hands. Getting used to attending the same social gatherings when sober is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone, making you feel more comfortable being yourself.
You’ll Feel Healthier
We're all about living that (slightly cliched!) 'balanced lifestyle', but we can’t sit here and pretend it’s terribly good for us. Alcohol is a toxin – which is exactly why it often makes us feel pretty terrible. You’ll be surprised at how much healthier and energized you feel from simply cutting back on how much you usually drink.
Concerned About how to Approach not Drinking with Friends?
We understand that opting out of that shared bottle of wine isn’t always met with open arms. Friends can take your decisions as a judgement on themselves, and often respond with disappointment, annoyance or cutting comments about you not being ‘fun’ anymore. So, here are our top tips on how to deal with social situations:
Prove Them Wrong
If you’re usually the life and soul of the party, then BE the life and soul of the party. Forget about the fact that you don’t have a drink in your hand and stay up just as late, and definitely don’t be afraid to bust a couple of moves on the dance floor!
Find a Great Alternative
Having a drink in your hand is a total comfort blanket, so it’s helpful to find a non-alcoholic drink that gives you that same feeling. Try a Seedlip and tonic, lime and soda or even a non-alcoholic cocktail. Yes, it might feel a little lame when you’re ordering it at the bar, but it will be a lot nicer than just sipping tap water or holding nothing at all. Plus, if you’re trying no avoiding making not drinking into a big deal, it’ll help you slip by without anyone noticing.
Explain Your Reasons
Going to a small gathering or dinner where you won’t be able to hide the fact you’re not drinking? Be open and honest about your decision and the reasons behind it, whether that’s reaching a particular goal or improving your mental health and confidence. Your friends and family love you, and so hopefully with a little bit more understanding of how this is making you happier, they will be ready to be fully supportive.