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10 tips for cutting down on alcohol and be healthier

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As lockdown drags on for yet another month and forcing us to hibernate at home, many of us may be drinking more than usual. A study by the Australian National University found that during the nationwide lockdown in 2020, one in five Australians increased their alcohol consumption.

When you’re forced to stay indoors, there may be the temptation to relax with a glass of wine or a beer. Without having to worry about how you’ll get home, you may end up drinking more than you think.

Alcohol and cancer

Did you know that alcohol is a known cause of cancer? In fact, drinking too much is linked with cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, bowel and breast. There is no ‘safe’ limit when it comes to alcohol use, the more you drink, the higher your risk.

We recommend that people who choose to drink to keep within the Australian Alcohol Guidelines. That is, if you’re a healthy adult:

“To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.”

Tips for drinking less alcohol

1. Have at least 2 alcohol-free days each week.

2. Don’t keep alcohol in your house. You will drink less if you have to go out in your winter woollies to buy it every time or only drink when you’re at a restaurant or bar.

3. If you are having a drink, set yourself a limit (within the alcohol guidelines) and stick to it, even if you are at home.

4. If you find yourself using alcohol to relax, find other ways to unwind:

  • Have an early night.
  • Take a soak in a bubble bath.
  • Do a puzzle, play a board game or read a book.
  • Indulge in guilty (media) pleasures such trashy magazines, TV series or movies.
  • Call a friend or relative for a chat.

5. If you usually drink after dinner, brush your teeth early. This might stop you from having a drink once your teeth are clean.

6. Sign up for an early morning exercise group or meditation class. This will stop you from drinking too much the night before.

7. Tell your friends and family that you’d like to drink less and ask them to support you.

8. Download the Drinks Meter or Daybreak smartphone apps to help monitor your drinking.

9. Add up all the money you’d spend on alcohol in a year. What else could you spend that money on?

10. Salty snacks, such as nuts, chips, popcorn, and crackers can make you thirsty, so it is best to avoid them while drinking.

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