It is common for many people to enjoy a drink now and then. Whether it's a glass of wine after a long day or a celebratory toast with friends, alcohol is deeply ingrained in our social lives. As we soak up the sun and take a break from regular routines, it's natural for many of us to enjoy a refreshing beverage or two.
At the same time, with our focus here at Calltime promoting positive mental health and addiction awareness, it's important for us to remind everyone of the physical and mental health benefits of monitoring and moderating alcohol consumption. Canada’s new Guidance on Alcohol and Health states that the science is evolving with the latest research showing that no amount or type of alcohol is actually good for your health. Said simply, if you drink, it’s better to drink less.
Addressing the topic of alcohol consumption and discussing personal drinking habits can be a delicate matter. We understand the importance of approaching this subject without judgment or prying, as each individual's relationship with alcohol is personal. So, let's navigate this conversation together and consider ways we can enjoy a vibrant summer while keeping our physical and mental health in mind.
Why Consider Limiting Alcohol Intake:
Choosing to restrict or limit alcohol consumption can offer numerous benefits for our health and well-being. Here are a few reasons why someone might consider this choice:
Physical Health: Alcohol, when consumed in excess, can have detrimental effects on our physical well-being. It can contribute to liver disease, high blood pressure, increased risk of certain cancers, and weight gain. By moderating our alcohol intake, we can reduce the risk of these health issues and promote a healthier body.
Mental Health: Alcohol is often used as a means to relax and unwind, but excessive consumption can have negative effects on our mental health. It can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, disrupt sleep patterns, and impair cognitive function. By monitoring and limiting alcohol intake, we can support better mental well-being and emotional balance.
Improved Energy and Productivity: Excessive alcohol consumption can leave us feeling lethargic and fatigued, impacting our energy levels and productivity. By moderating alcohol intake, we can experience increased energy, improved focus, and enhanced productivity in our daily lives.
Canada’s new alcohol risk guidelines has been updated based on the attest research as follows:
0 drinks per week — Not drinking has benefits, such as better health, and better sleep.
2 standard drinks or less per week — You are likely to avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself or others at this level.
3–6 standard drinks per week — Your risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer, increases at this level.
7 standard drinks or more per week — Your risk of heart disease or stroke increases significantly at this level. *Each additional standard drink radically increases the risk of alcohol-related consequences. **Consuming more than two (2) standard drinks per occasion is associated with an increased risk of harm to self and others, including injuries and violence.
Strategies for Monitoring and Reducing Alcohol Consumption:
If you're interested in monitoring and reducing your alcohol consumption, here are a few practical strategies to consider:
Set Clear Goals: Start by setting clear goals for yourself. Determine how many days a week you would like to take a break from alcohol or establish a maximum number of drinks per occasion. Setting realistic and achievable goals will help you stay on track.
Track Your Consumption: Keep a record of your alcohol intake. This can be as simple as jotting down the number of drinks you have each day or using smartphone apps designed to track alcohol consumption. By monitoring your intake, you can become more aware of patterns and make informed decisions.
Modify your drinking behavior and patterns: Drink slowly; drink lots of water; for every drink of alcohol, have one non-alcoholic drink; eat before and while you’re drinking.
Seek Alternative Coping Mechanisms: Often, alcohol is used as a coping mechanism for stress or emotional challenges. Find healthier alternatives to manage stress, such as practicing mindfulness, engaging in physical exercise, or pursuing hobbies that bring you joy.
Create a Supportive Network: Surround yourself with friends and family who support your goals of moderating alcohol consumption. Share your intentions with them, and they can provide encouragement and understanding when you're in social situations where alcohol is present.
Explore Non-Alcoholic Alternatives: Embrace the growing trend of non-alcoholic beverages. There are now a variety of alcohol-free options available that mimic the taste and experience of traditional alcoholic drinks. Experiment with mocktails, alcohol-free beer, or flavored sparkling water as alternatives.
Seek Professional Guidance: If you find it challenging to monitor and reduce your alcohol consumption on your own, consider seeking professional guidance. Reach out to your Union benefits plan’s Employee & Family Assistance Program/Member Assistance Program (see union benefits page here), your doctor or healthcare provider, a counsellor, or support group specializing in alcohol moderation for personalized assistance.
Taking the initiative to monitor and moderate our alcohol consumption can have a positive impact on our physical and mental health. By making informed choices, setting goals, and exploring alternative coping mechanisms, we can create a healthier relationship with alcohol and enjoy the benefits of a balanced lifestyle. Remember, it's about finding the right personal balance for you, your family, and your well-being.
Note: It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and support when making significant changes to your normal alcohol consumption habits.
For further information and support on monitoring and moderating alcohol consumption, consider exploring the following resources:
Calltime Alcohol & Substance Abuse resource section - https://www.calltimementalhealth.com/alcohol-substance-abuse
Book: The Alcohol Experiment: how to take control of your drinking and enjoy being sober for good https://a.co/d/iHa7B3H
Book: How To Control Your Alcohol Consumption: Learn to drink responsibly so that you can enjoy a drink rather than depend on it https://a.co/d/84t2wIZ
What you should know about Canada's new alcohol guidelines – CTV News https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/what-you-should-know-about-canada-s-new-alcohol-guidelines-1.6239499#:~:text=In%20other%20words%2C%20to%20minimize,and%2010%20drinks%20for%20women
Drinking Less Is Better Campaign Poster/Canadian Guidelines Summary https://ccsa.ca/sites/default/files/2023-05/CGAH-Drinking-Less-is-Better-en.pdf