How much alcohol should you have this Canada Day? Best tips to avoid drinking too much this summer

You might be tempted to reach for another glass of wine or beer bottle at your next summer event, but is it really a safe idea?

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

A group of friends having drinks and celebrating at sunset with a wine toast. (Photo via Getty Images)
Celebrating special occasions with loved ones might be challenging for some people if there isn't alcohol involved. But recent Canadian guidelines on drinking suggests people should be more wary of how much alcohol they're consuming. (Photo via Getty Images)

Another Canada Day is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate the kickoff to summer with a long weekend full of drinking? Whether you're spending this year's holiday camping in the woods, enjoying a picnic with loved ones or soaking up the sunshine at your local beach, sipping on an alcoholic beverage might seem like second nature.

But according to Canadian guidelines, it might best to prioritize your health and skip the trip to the liquor store. Last year, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) released a new Guidance on Alcohol and Health, updating the 2011 Low Risk Drinking Guidelines. The final report indicated no amount of alcohol is safe, and consuming more than two drinks per week is risky.

In fact, the CCSA noted in its guidelines that anyone consuming more than two drinks per week raises their risk for developing some cancers. There's also an added risk of heart disease or stroke or people who consume more than seven drinks per week. Interestingly, the CCSA suggested many people are unaware alcohol is a group 1 carcinogen, joining the list of things like tobacco and asbestos.

While some people may find cutting down on their drinking an easy task, others might consider changing their behaviour a next-to-impossible challenge. As summer weather begins and celebrations like Canada Day near, here are some tips to consider if you want to try drinking less this year.

 Happy multiracial people enjoying happy hour with pint sitting at bar table. (Photo via Getty Images)
Canadian guidelines indicate having more than two alcoholic drinks per week can increase your risk for some cancers. (Photo via Getty Images)

Before you skip off to your next summer gathering, create a plan that will help you drink less. The more specific you can be, the more effective you will be. According to Action for Happiness, writing down our goals makes it more likely that we'll stick to them. When creating your plan, consider including measurable goals such as the following:

  • How many drinks do you want to consume?

  • What drinks will they be?

  • What time will you have these drinks?

  • Do you want to stay completely sober?

  • If so, what alternatives will you drink instead?

Keep yourself accountable by keeping a record of how you did. If you don’t hit it, don’t worry, you can try again at the next event.

Summer is typically a time to be a bit more care-free and relaxed, but that doesn't mean stress and extra work completely vanish. While you might think turning to alcohol is a good way to take a load off, there are lucky other ways to reduce your stress without drinking. Taking time to de-stress before entering a social situation is a great way to help you stay conscious of how much you are drinking.

Before a gathering, try relaxing with breathing and de-stressing exercises. You might also want to try giving yourself a quick neck massage, taking a bath or exercising. You can do these things quickly and at home, making them easier to fit around a potentially-busy summer schedule.

Woman sitting cross legged while meditating on a yoga mat
De-stressing is a great way to help you stay conscious of how much you are drinking. (Photo via Getty Images)

When the sun starts peeking out and temperatures start rising, it might be difficult to not think about ordering drinks like a spritz or mojito. While these might be fun drinks to help you cool off in hot weather, a good trick to limit how much your drink is to alternate every beverage with a non-alcoholic alternative.

That doesn't necessarily mean you have to opt for water or soda. Many restaurants have a dedicated list of non-alcoholic drinks, and they're even available to purchase like regular alcohol. Many Canadian brands now offer non-alcoholic beers, spirits and mixed drinks. Or, try mixing yourself a mocktail that brings just the same amount of fun.

Bringing your own drinks to events is a smart way to minimize your alcohol intake and keep track of what you drink. When heading to your next family picnic or summer party, think about what you might want to bring in your bag to sip on.

This can help you plan when you'll drink them, ultimately letting you pace yourself throughout the gathering. As a result, you are less likely to lose track of how many different drinks you've sampled.

beneath view of people clinking glasses at a party
Bringing your own drinks is a smart way to minimize your alcohol intake. (Photo via Getty Images)

It's easy to stay at a party longer than you thought you would, especially when there's warm weather, good music and enjoyable company. But if there's alcohol involved in your event, the longer you stay means the more drinks you're likely going to consume.

Even if the party is still going, have an exit strategy and stick to it. Choose a hard cut-off time, set an alarm on your phone or tell a friend to call you. You'll thank yourself the next day.

When you feel like reaching for another glass of wine or another helping of beer, remind yourself of the good things that come from minimizing your drinking. While it might be fun in the moment if you know how to limit your consumption, try to think about your longer term goals.

Will it help you progress towards your fitness and health goals, be more present with your family or feel more productive the next day? It might be a good idea to focus on your personal and professional goals and how alcohol might impact them.

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