Having a glass of wine to wind down after a long, hectic day can feel so relaxing and restorative. However, if you're chugging wine like it's water, or you're drinking too much in the week, it can damage your health and wellbeing, especially in the long run. Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with mind's ability to focus and the body's ability to keep moving with full speed and function.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on finding better ways to balance work and play and manage stress, and I find that often times substance (and potential abuse) can come into the equation. Relying on alcohol won't make you feel better long-term, and it can pose some serious health consequences. It can create imbalanced hormones and increase your appetite, if not consumed in moderate amounts and healthy doses. Feeling this out of control can wreck with your productivity, self-esteem, and general wellbeing. Here are 13 signs that you're drinking too much and should slow down and be more mindful. Switching to water instead can boast some major benefits, and you'll know that you're fueling your body with something hydrated, refreshing, and great for you. There's no downside.
1. Your Social Life Revolves Around Alcohol
According to Peg O'Connor, Ph.D., an expert contributor for Pro Talk on Rehabs.com over email with Bustle, "you might find yourself wanting to spend more time with people who like to drink rather than friends who don’t drink." Or, "you might also find yourself wanting to stay home alone drinking instead of going out with friends. Staying at home may provide the justification for more drinking because, well, you’ve decided you’re not going out. You don’t have to worry about drinking and driving after all," adds O'Connor.
2. You Fear Running Out Of Alcohol
"If you live in a state with laws prohibiting the sales of alcohol on Sunday, Saturday night may be a source of concern for you. If the weather is bad, you might tell yourself to buy some extra 'just in case,'" advises O'Connor. "You may also decide to finish the open bottle because you’ll be buying more and so you might as well get this bottle out of the way," O'Connor adds.
3. You're Annoyed When People Drink Slowly
"You may find yourself wishing other people would hurry up and finish their drinks so that you can get another. No one wants to stand out by obviously and overtly drinking more than others," says O'Connor. "Ordering 'another round' or filling the other’s wine glass gives the appearance that people are socially drinking the same amounts in the same way. You can hide in plain sight," O'Connor recommends.
4. You Pregame
"The idea is to get a head start as a way to loosen up or even save money. You may tell yourself that a bottle of wine only costs $10.00, which is cheaper than buying two drinks at $8.00 each. While you might intend to have only one drink out, you may have that second," says O'Connor. Likewise, "You might not count the drinks you had before you went out because that was hours ago," adds O'Connor. Needing to drink alcohol before heading out can surely catch up to you.
5. You Always Have Drinks In Photos
"While it is true a photo captures only a particular moment, enough of those particular moments can be deeply revealing. You may start to notice you look more intoxicated than the others or that you all look rather intoxicated," says O'Connor. "You may notice that your face and the rest of your body looks different from how you think it looks or how you remember it looks," O'Connor adds.
6. You Have Similarities To Those In Recovery Programs
"You may start to hear your drinking patterns in their stories. You may also see that they drank for similar reasons or for very different ones. They may suffer consequences similar to yours or they may have suffered much worse," says O'Connor.
7. You Display Risky Behavior
If you're prone to thinking you're invincible when drinking, you might partake in risky behaviors that you're not usually used to doing (and that could be super dangerous). For instance, drunk driving or bar fights could be a clear indicator. Drinking safely is so important, and often moderate doses can help keep inhibitions in check.
8. You Don't Drink Water
If you choose alcohol over water too often, or you don't alternate between alcohol and water when drinking, you might have a drinking problem, advises Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, over email with Bustle. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking a glass of water with each glass of alcohol (it'll also fill you up and slow down your drinking).
9. You Have Super Dry Skin
If you have really dry skin and feel dehydrated often (your mouth might be dry or your pee might sting), it could be from excess alcohol, advises nutrition expert Liana Werner-Gray over email with Bustle. Alcohol is dehydrating, so without adequate water and other liquids to keep the body balanced, you're likely to show physical symptoms.
10. You Feel Hungover During The Week
Feeling hungover is a clear indicator of drinking too heavily, says Werner-Gray. To make it even worse, if you're "hungover during the week," not just on a Saturday night out, and it's compromising your productivity at work, then it can be super problematic, long-term.
11. You Miss Your Workouts & Appointments
If you're bailing on your workout regimen or social/work obligations on the regular, then it could be linked to excess drinking and the resultant brain fog and physical impairment that accompanies it, advises Werner-Gray. If you start to mess with your typical routine, take action to get back into a cycle and do your body some good.
12. You Use It To Cope
If you're using alcohol as a way to handle your hard emotions, it's a clear indicator that you're abusing substances and not drinking for the desired reasoning. You should want to drink to celebrate things with others, to be happy and relax after a long day, or to simply enhance the flavor of your food. If you're drinking as a coping mechanism, it won't help you in the long run.
13. Your Friends & Family Are Worried
If your friends and family are worried about your drinking, then it could definitely be a noticeable problem. Of course, you know best, so if you're not harming yourself, they might be mislead. Yet, most of the time, if you're honest, you'll see what they're seeing.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it could mean that you're drinking too much and should both slow down and cut back in general. Drinking too often or in too large quantities can negatively impact your health, for years to come.
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