Whether it's cocktails by the pool or beer and barbecue, one thing is for sure: Summer comes with lots of drinks. We're already halfway through the warmer months, but it isn't too late to make these remaining months the best they can be. Why not try a sober (half) summer?
There's so much you can do and discover without a drink in hand. Everything from outdoor sports and concerts to afternoons spent window-shopping in the city will all be clearer and leave you with memories unimpeded by the haze of alcohol.
Of course, there's more than just nostalgia at play here—your health will improve in so many ways if you take a break from booze. If you're thinking about making the switch this sunny season, here are five more health-related benefits that might sway you in the right direction.
1. It'll clear your conscience.
After a night of drinking and bar hopping, you might wake up with more than one regret. It's true that alcohol works as a social lubricant and gives you the confidence to say and do what you really feel in the moment. Unfortunately, some of these impulses won't go over well when replayed soberly the next day. And this type of mental strain can cause you to feel bad about yourself—often a side effect of drinking.
In order to give yourself peace of mind in social settings this summer, say no to booze. If you feel pressured or uncomfortable around people who are drinking, try whipping up a mocktail so you look like you're partying too.
2. You'll trim down.
Here's a visible side effect of an alcohol-free lifestyle: fat loss. When you drink a lot, your body is flooded with calories and sugar that it doesn't need, and that combination causes alcohol to be stored as fat. Without a regular influx of alcohol calories, your belly fat will start to burn away.
3. You'll sleep better.
The idea of the "nightcap" is a bit misleading since alcohol has been shown to have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep: While it may help you doze off faster, it lessens the amount of time spent in REM—the most restful type of sleep.
Without booze on your summer agenda, you'll be sleeping more soundly and for longer and, therefore, reaping the many benefits of a good night's rest.
4. Your liver will rejuvenate itself.
When you drink, your liver diverts its attention from its other tasks in order to filter the booze out of your bloodstream. When you take alcohol out of the equation, you give your liver the opportunity to do what it’s supposed to do—and to do it well.
In fact, researchers found that regular drinkers who abstained for five weeks had 15 percent less liver fat than they did when they started the study. (Liver fat is one of the precursors to liver damage.)
5. You'll shrink your budget concerns.
Summer requires you to be social, which means you'll be out and about, which means you'll be spending money. Typical adults with jobs and budgets find this to be a stressor, especially if alcohol is eating away at your budget.
Whether you go cold turkey or slowly ascend to sobriety—a tactic that's been found to be better for your health, if you're a big-time drinker—you'll find lots more money in your pockets. And with a bit of extra wiggle room, you're likely to be much less stressed about your summertime budget and beyond.
Summertime seems to call for everyone to lift and clink glasses in celebration of the year's hottest season. However, with a few drink-free outings under your belt, you'll realize that the benefits of a booze-free lifestyle far outweigh the positives you thought you saw before.
So, get out there and really enjoy summer while it's still here—no drinks required.