Whether it’s kicking back at a summer BBQ, or snuggling by a winter fire, the time of year can have a big effect on your drinking habits.
If you’ve noticed seasonal patterns in your alcohol intake, then you’re not alone. The time of year can play a large part in cueing up those drinking triggers—the obvious image that comes to mind is beer gardens and BBQs during summer, when the appeal of drinking in the sunshine kicks in. But as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, we’re hitting another spell when people often find themselves drinking more than they would at other times of the year.
Studies have explored the link between increased alcohol consumption and the colder, darker months. Some have suggested it could be due to changes in mood, possibly related to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) brought on by reduced levels of sunlight. But there also seems to be a general correlation between colder climates and higher alcohol intake, when compared to warmer countries.
So why does the cold bring out the drinker in us? It could simply be that we spend more time indoors when the weather makes it less appealing to venture out, but on the other hand, it’s not called the festive season for nothing. People are usually more social in the run-up to Christmas—there are work nights out, catch-ups with family and friends, and occasions like Halloween, Bonfire Night, and Thanksgiving to celebrate. Mulled wine, hot cider, eggnog—you get the idea.
Baby, it’s cold outside
Appealing as it is, unfortunately drinking in the colder months can be worse for your health than in warmer times. Cold and flu bugs come out in strength during autumn and winter, and since alcohol can be damaging to your body’s immune responses, drinking can leave you more vulnerable to germs and viruses.
Give yourself a break
There’s no doubt that January is a popular month for people to take a break from drinking. Last January alone, 6.5 million people signed up for Dry January. And it’s understandable—the lethargy is very real after the overindulgence of the yuletide season, and the promise of a fresh new start for a fresh new year can be very appealing.
But. Here’s a sneaky idea. What if you just… started now? Or, if you’ve been doing Sober October, what if you kept going?
You could avoid that lethargy before it even begins. You could start your brand new year already feeling fresh, healthy, and focused. You could give your body the best chance of fighting off all the bugs and lurgies lurking around. You could be sleeping better, feeling less anxious, and able to be really present to enjoy the excitement of the next few months.
“I saw an ad for OYNB in November and the penny just dropped. I was rubbish at moderation, so I decided it was all or nothing. November suddenly turned to December, then January and February all slipped by with no drink.
I love waking up with a clear head, hopping in my car after a night out or knowing the kids can call any time and I can pick them up. I still go out, dance and have a laugh. My nights at home can be long, especially in winter, but I am much more productive and more focused at home and work.”
Want to see how being alcohol-free could work for you? Download our free mindset hacks series here.
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.