Our holistic approach to wellbeing means we rely on many experts knowledge. Delighted to share this blog from Stephanie Chivers, a habit and addiction specialist.

I love January, I know its only a name of a month and it means nothing, but, I still love it. Why? Because it feels like the whole world wants to be healthy. And that’s great, but really it would be good if we could do this majority of the time not just one month a year. I am not asking for perfection, I am definitely not perfect, I like the 80/20 rule.

People ask me “Do you do Dry January”, my answer is we do dry any month. We don’t need a month to reduce, take a break or stop drinking alcohol. Although yes, I get its easier to do when the rest of the world is doing it.

So many people ask me, how much is too much? Great question. Yes we have government recommended guidelines and they are 14 units of alcohol a week, which equates to around 1.5 bottles of wine or 7 cans of lager, depending on the % that is, but gives you a rough idea. Now this doesn’t mean this amount is safe. There is no safe amount of alcohol, but what we do know is the less you drink the better.

When people ask me how much is too much, I ask them “why is alcohol a problem for you?” Yes, I can say that anything over the recommended amount is an issue, but that doesn’t really mean a lot to the individual, its more about what’s the problem for you?

The lower level stuff we see with alcohol is things like, skin problems, over acidity, stomach problems, anxiety, depression, interrupted sleep, poor memory, hangovers, anxiety the day after drinking, impact on self esteem, tiredness, lacking in energy, weight gain. That’s not to say that some of these things are not important and dangerous, they are of course, but this is usually what we see in most people who drink regularly. Following on to more serious issues, like cancers, severe anxiety and depression, ulcers, liver disease, pancreatitis, to name a few.

If you drink alcohol regularly I highly recommend you educate yourself so you are making an informed choice about what you are putting in your body. The most important points are: it’s a poison, its highly addictive and habit forming, it can be physically addictive, it can cause serious harm and does kill a large number of people every year. 1 person every hour dies due to alcohol in the UK. This is not a drug to be taken lightly.

No matter how much you drink, take a break, 7 days, 30 days, any amount of time, just to see how you feel. Most people feel better, they sleep better, have more energy, sometimes lose a bit of weight and notice all sorts of benefits in different areas of their lives. (Warning if you are drinking significant amounts daily then please see a medical professional as you may need to reduce slowly, or be prescribed medication to come off alcohol slowly.)

Drink water, whether you are drinking alcohol or not. Alcohol will dehydrate you. Drink lots of water daily as it is essential for your body and brain to function efficiently
For more information and tips check out my book There is no Magic Button

Stephanie Chivers is a habit and addiction specialist with over 15 years personal and professional experience.