Potentially, you could be more susceptible than most. As a contractor, working long hours and dealing with stressful situations, demanding clients, as well as personal and family challenges, liquor might be among your ways to deal with mental and emotional stress, writes Shwezin Win, founder of Win at Life.
Difficult (boozy) questions
Or is it more than that; do you turn to alcohol as a way to actively manage life’s pressures – for example, that hiring manager who just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer!?
Do you justify your alcohol intake as ‘just something I do’ at the day’s end? Again, after long hours with said-hiring manager.
Joking aside, how often do you imbibe, and how much alcohol are you consuming? Are you aware that the most recommended per week (which is for men), is 14 units; so six pints /10 small wines – and even then, the NHS advises that such a maximum weekly intake should be over three days; at least?
Go Sober for October. Why not, with just 12 days left?!
Not keeping check of how much alcohol you’re taking into your body is one of the reasons Macmillan Cancer Support is inviting you to “Go Sober for October.”
The campaign isn’t just for those who want to help raise funds, although that’s always a bonus, it also gets us thinking about our alcohol use (or dependency in some people’s cases). And how reducing alcohol intake benefits us — six-fold, the charity says.
I want to touch on these six and go further by sharing with you some more of the untold benefits I’ve seen first-hand in contractors who have abstained, sometimes for as little as just four weeks.
In a nutshell, reducing alcohol intake improves both our physical and mental well-being – and therefore our life overall.
My five benefits of alcohol reduction… as seen in contractors I’ve life-coached
Alcohol reduction (for even just a short period) results in the following advantages:
1. Improved physical health
Cutting back on alcohol can lead to enhanced physical wellbeing, from liver function to cardiovascular health, which contributes to a healthier body.
2. Enhanced mental clarity
A lower weekly alcohol consumption has been linked to improved mental clarity and cognitive function, so you’re able to think clearer and get better focus. Imagine getting to tell that irritant hiring manager where to get off in just half the time!
3. Quality sleep
I’ve seen alcohol disrupt sleep patterns. Cutting down on alcohol and gaining some sobriety can lead to better sleep quality, fostering overall wellbeing and vitality.
4. Emotional stability
Alcohol can influence mood swings. By moderating its intake, individuals often experience more stable emotions and increased emotional resilience, helping with navigating challenging situations and improving decision-making.
5. Reduced anxiety and depression
You won’t find this written down the side of the next beer can you reach for, but it’s a fact — alcohol is a central nervous system depressant.
That means, if you consume too much, it exacerbates symptoms of anxiety and depression.
This is often on show on Saturday nights. If you’re out with friends and one of them suddenly becomes morose when they’ve had a skinful, that’s very likely an excess of alcohol in their system doing the talking!
You’ve convinced me. How do I start drinking less and living more?
The first step to moderating your alcohol intake is to consider the triggers that lead you to alcohol.
It’s important to recognise that triggers can be interconnected and you may experience combinations of factors leading you to reach for that glass (or few).
However from contractor life-coaching sessions I’ve led, with confidence I can tell you that the top three most common triggers are:
Stress is a common trigger for alcohol consumption.
Identifying stressors (pesky hiring manager) and developing healthy coping mechanisms (agreeing with pesky hiring manager even when he’s wrong), such as mindfulness or exercise, can mitigate the urge to turn to alcohol.
Feeling overwhelmed may lead to seeking solace in alcohol.
Breaking down tasks, practising time management, and seeking support can help manage overwhelm without resorting to alcohol.
3. Social pressures
Social situations can be triggers for drinking.
Communicating boundaries, choosing alcohol-free alternatives (they’ve come a LONG way in terms of taste), and surrounding yourself with supportive friends, can help navigate yourself out of these situations.
Come on contractors, it’s the top of game you need to be on right now
Understanding your alcohol triggers is a crucial step in developing healthier coping strategies.
When contractors come to me for support with their personal or professional lives (or both), their purpose is mainly to keep themselves at their best. They know they’re in a competitive space and knowing that opportunities are harder to come by, as they were in September, makes it worse. Being mentally and emotionally at the top of your game is crucial.
When we talk about dealing with triggers, though, the solutions tend to differ, depending upon the individual.
How to manage alcohol triggers
Here’s a few tips, however, that contractors have all but come up with themselves in our sessions. They might help you with managing YOUR triggers healthily:
- Mindfulness and meditation – incorporating mindfulness practices, even for just five minutes, can help manage stress and overwhelm. Techniques like meditation provide a healthier outlet for dealing with challenging emotions, as and when they occur.
- Regular exercise – physical activity is a powerful stress-reducer. Engaging in regular exercise not only boosts mood but also provides a constructive way to cope with stress. So whether you go for a walk, run or just pop to the gym for a quick work out, it all helps.
- Seeking support – whether through friends, family, a coach like me or support groups, having a network to lean on is crucial. Sharing feelings and experiences can provide emotional support during challenging times and you don’t feel so alone. As we established in July, it’s better out than in!
One for the road? Sure, but it’s October so make it zero per cent
Embracing a sober October comes with untold benefits, both physical and mental. By understanding triggers and adopting healthier coping mechanisms, you can navigate stress, overwhelm and other challenges without relying on alcohol. The journey towards reduced alcohol intake is not only about saying ‘no’ to a drink, but saying ‘yes’ to a healthier more balanced life.
If you found this article helpful and would like to talk to me about how I can help keep you at your best, click here to book a FREE call with me: https://go.oncehub.com/ShwezinWin