Is Happy Hour Hurting Us?
More women are dying from alcohol than they were 20 years ago. 85% more to be exact, according to the most recent report from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)1.
Furthermore, while men are still more impacted by alcohol-related deaths overall, males experienced a much less alarming increase of 35% in the same time period between 1999 and 2017.
As a female-founded company, the ITN team was just as shocked by these new statistics as you likely are. Why are women drinking more?
Stress? A busier than average social calendar? The media’s portrayal of binge drinking as a normal nightly activity? Whatever the reasons, we’re here to ask the bigger question – what can be done about it?
Fierce, fearless females take note – it’s time to do a project review of yourself. Just like you would with a goal that was running off course or a client who wasn’t getting the results they wanted. You would pause, review, and re-strategize goals.
IS HAPPY HOUR HURTING US?
Consider if you do any of the following on a regular basis, making note of how often:
DRINKING JUST TO RELAX
Order drink – relax. It can be incredibly easy to associate relaxing with drinking, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Alcohol triggers the central nervous system to calm down, so the tranquil feeling it instills is very real. That said, this is a great opportunity to tap into other things that help you relax.
In addition to the suggestions listed previously, consider painting, cooking, or investing your time in a great TV show to wind down. Be patient with this one – it can take some time to break a habit, especially if you’ve been associating the two for some time.
There’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine, a good book, and a hot bath, but if you’re concerned you’re drinking a lot more than this while alone, it may be a good idea to change your routine.
Find alternative ways to relax outside your home such as going to the movies or a museum with friends. If it’s the alone time you crave, a massage, infrared sauna, or acupuncture session could be exactly what you need.
DRINKING JUST TO BE SOCIAL
For anyone who’s ever abstained from alcohol while at a social event, it can be challenging. The good news is, there are endless advantages to limiting your alcohol while out – no hangover, more sleep, increased productivity, less anxiety – the list is endless.
You may find it’s actually the habit of having something in your hands, and a seltzer water or kombucha can easily fill the void of a wine glass.
DRINKING BECAUSE IT’S WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO
Targeted alcohol ads are a huge issue because they create a societal expectation that all women should be drinking.
Combine this with TV shows portraying endless after-work events, open bars, and non-existent hangovers, and suddenly it’s weird to not drink.
Remember, you can meet friends for cocktails on a Saturday night or not – the choice is, and should always be, yours. You should never feel pressured to drink alcohol by friends, family, or the media.
Women are excellent at breaking down boundaries and challenging the status quo, everywhere from congress and corporate to the community and beyond, more women are represented than ever before.
In a world that says, “No, it can’t be done,” women everywhere are standing up to say, “Actually it can.”
Running successful businesses, launching products, building a personal brand – Beyoncé was not lying when she said girls run the world. Naturally, alarming research like this can make you stop and think.
If you mentally checked yes on some of the reasons listed above, this can be a great time to make some changes and do a health check on yourself about your alcohol habits.
Next time you’re at happy hour, enjoy your glass of wine (or two!) but make a conscious effort to leave a little earlier than usual. During dinner, drink water with your meal, savoring your favorite cocktail for dessert, or up the caliber of your favorite brunch spot to prioritize great food over unlimited mimosas.
Remember, fearless females, you can have it all, but your health and wellbeing should not be the cost.
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse, there is always someone to talk to.
Resources and support: https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol-addiction-support-groups#alanon