What makes you reach for the bottle?
Like it or not, you might well recognize one of these drinking ‘characters’ – have a think about each of them and decide if you might like to make some changes to your own drinking.
- The stress-head
- The dinner time guzzler
- The sports fan
- The ‘relax’, it’s the weekend! drinker
When you pour a glass of wine or ping the cap off a beer, do you ever think about what your motivation is?
Whether reaching for the corkscrew after a hard day at work or having a few beers in front of the football, there are certain situations that tend to go hand in hand with a drink.
Which of these characters best reflects your reasons for drinking alcohol?
You’ve done a solid eight hours in the office, up against deadlines, a demanding boss and fussy clients. When you fall in the front door, blood pressure sky high, a relaxing drink may seem like water in the desert to you.
Or perhaps you’ve been running around after children since the crack of dawn. The second bed-time arrives and out comes the wine.
Alcohol may help you relax for an hour or two. But it can increase your stress levels overall. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows down the brain and the central nervous system’s processes. At first this can make you more relaxed and less wound up, but if you drink too much it can end up making you feel depressed, anxious – and more stressed. If you are going to drink, try to follow Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines.
There are lots of other things you can do to unwind. Hitting the gym or heading to a yoga class are some of the best. Or you could simply break into a box set you’ve always fancied, or phone a friend and share your frustrations.
The dinner time guzzler:
For you, dinner isn’t complete without a glass of wine or two.
It all starts with the preparation. You love playing chef for family and friends, and a glass of wine while you cook up a storm may seem to be part of the fun. But often that turns into two or three and oops…half the bottle’s gone before you even make it to the table. Then the rest goes during the meal.
If you’re going to drink why not save the alcohol until you sit down to eat? That way you’ll make sure your meal is perfect, and you’ll stay hydrated while slaving over your hot stove. You’ll also be alert for dinner time conversation.
If you’ve got some wine left over, no need to finish the bottle. Put the last bits in an ice cube tray, freeze them and use them in your cooking next time – wine can be great for sauces, marinades and gravy.
The sports fan:
You love football. Rugby. Maybe a bit of cricket. Your perfect weekend is watching all the big matches on TV. And maybe it’s accompanied by a beer or two or three…
The last thing you want to do is miss the full euphoria of a screamer of a goal because you’ve drunk a bit too much. Often, you’ll be watching sport for a good couple of hours at least. So the key is to make sure you drink within the lower risk guidelines and pace yourself. Having a soft drink for every alcoholic one will slow you down, as will eating – so get plenty of healthy snacks in. You could try some low alcohol beer too.
The ‘relax’, it’s the weekend! drinker:
When Friday finally rolls round you can flop down on the sofa and look forward to a couple of days off. It’s time to celebrate, which may mean cracking open a bottle. But if the celebration lasts through into Saturday night you’re in trouble, especially if it stretches into Sunday lunch.
Why not think about only drinking on one weekend evening as a compromise – either a Friday or a Saturday?
Keeping within the low risk drinking guidelines is important. But it can be difficult to keep track of what you’re drinking at home. If you drink spirits, ordering our unit measure cup is a good idea – otherwise you can easily pour far larger measures than you would get in a pub – most people do. Buying small (125ml) wine glasses will help you drink less and keep track too.