A psychologist’s playbook to drinking less this party season

Psychologist Nancy Sokarno on how to manage your drinking when you think, enough is enough. 

There’s no arguing that the party season is well and truly upon us. After months and months of restrictions, lock downs all over the country, and with Christmas just around the corner, you can almost feel party season in the air.

Whilst a drink or two during party season can be great way to celebrate an occasion, what if you’re ready to drink less?

With a host of people wanting to make up for lost time, a backlog of events ready to go, and a never-ending list of catch ups that can all involve drinking, perhaps the idea of drinking less can seem tricky for you.

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If you’re finding that drinking less is becoming increasingly difficult, below, Lysn psychologist Nancy Sokarno provides her advice to help you get through the party season.

Activity switch

There’s no arguing that catch ups with friends and family are well overdue. This can mean you might find yourself in many social situations that involve drinking, so it could be worth switching up the activity. If you know that catch up is going to involve alcohol, suggest an alternative activity that is less likely to! A day at the beach, a hike, or a lunchtime event where they don’t serve alcohol can mean you still get the catch up, but without all the drinking.

Plan it through

We all have that one friend (or maybe you are that friend) that can seemingly twist anyone’s arm when it comes to encouraging excessive drinking. If trying to limit your alcohol intake around this person is particularly difficult, you may need to talk to them about it, or instead, limit the amount of time you spend with them or plan to do activities that won’t lead to drinking. Thinking ahead and having some alternative things to suggest instead can be a great way to avoid drinking.

Try non-alcoholic alternatives

Thankfully there have been a huge range of brands popping up on the market that offer non-alcoholic versions of your favourite drink. You can get non-alcoholic or low alcohol beer, gin, vodka, wine and the list goes on! Many of these options taste like the real thing but without the alcoholic effects.

Set limitations for yourself

Consider setting some clear limits when it comes to the amount of alcohol you consume and how often. For example, if the amount you’re drinking is worrying you, consider limiting your drinks to say one drink every two hours.

Or if you know a person you’re meeting up with is going to encourage excessive drinking, try to set every second drink to a non-alcoholic drink so you’re not drinking as much. You can also set limitations by avoiding certain situations entirely, however, try not to get into the habit of doing this too often. As humans, it’s incredibly important to have social interactions and right now is a great time to spend with friends and family (especially after so many months of being restricted from doing so)!

Talk to someone

If drinking is a cause for concern for you, or for someone you know, consider talking to someone. You can talk to friends and family about your concerns, and even ask them to support you in your endeavours to drink less. Have discussions about how your friends and family can help by considering their own behaviour and how it could make you feel pressured or encouraged to drink.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to friends or family, or feel as though drinking has become a problem, consider talking to a professional. There are a range of resources you can find that can arm you with tactics to help you curb your habits, or a considering discussing with a qualified psychologist. Lysn offers online psychology via video chat where sessions can take place from the comfort of your own home. It can be a great option for those who want to access secure and confidential help at a time that suits that best suits them.

Nancy Sokarno is a psychologist at Lysn. Lysn is a digital mental health company with world class wellbeing technology which helps people find their best-fit professional psychologist whilst being able to access online tools to improve their mental health. www.welysn.com

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