Do you routinely reach for a bottle of something at the end of a stressful day? A few drinks may help you feel more relaxed but if you’re regularly drinking more than 14 units a week you could end up making things worse.
Alcohol is a depressant which means it slows down how the brain processes things. Using alcohol is not a healthy coping mechanism as it doesn’t deal with the problem head on. It’s an avoidance strategy masking the problem. People that drink heavily are more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
Drinking heavily on a regular basis is also likely to interfere with your sleep pattern, damage your memory and negatively effect your close personal relationships. All of which will make it even harder to tackle your stressful situation healthily.
No amount of alcohol is considered entirely safe but drinking within the low risk guidelines will reduce your cancer risk and several other conditions. If you currently drink up to 14 units per week try and spread these over 3 or more days.
Consider some of these healthier alternatives to cope with stress below:
- Get active – Go for a brisk walk, hit a punch bag, do a class with your mates.
- Family and friends – Surround yourself with people you love spending time with as they’ll want to support you.
- Relax and unwind – Take a hot bath, do some gentle stretches, practice mindfulness, listen to some music.
- If you decide to drink, only have one with dinner and buy a small beer/wine glass to keep an eye on the amount you are drinking.