Health Hub

Having a Dry July has great health benefits. We've brought together a collection of articles that could help you with your Dry July.

How to be supportive when a friend is giving up booze

By ABC Life / By Flip Prior on

Since I hung up the wine glass almost a year ago, I've been perplexed at how weirdly defensive or combative people can be when they're told someone they know isn't drinking.

Personally, I've been lucky this year: I have supportive friends who, once they recovered from their initial surprise, accepted my decision without blinking and now shout me sparkling waters instead of wine — probably relieved I'm a much cheaper date.

While I've submitted politely to many questions about why and for how long, not once this year have I been made to feel I'm boring or uncool because I no longer drink.

Unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone.

I asked women in a private online group, set up to offer peer support to alcohol quitters in Australia,...

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Eat well to make the most of Dry July

By Anne Finch on

Taking a break from booze is absolutely one of the best things you can do for your health. Not only are you giving your liver (and other organs!) a break, but you can expect these benefits:

  • Better sleep – alcohol might help us fall asleep, but it leads to poorer quality sleep
  • Less bar snacks – drinking stirs hunger, and can also lead to sub-optimal food choices (I’m looking at you late-night doner kebab)
  • Less hangover remedies – greasy bacon and eggs, sugary drinks and fast food are pretty common on Sunday morning, meaning the effects of your weekend drag on
  • More movement – not being glued to the couch recovering means more opportunities to get out and about

If you’re looking for even more ways to treat your body right, we’ve got some...

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A Beginner's Guide to Fitness

By Kirsty Welsh on

I’ve worked in the health industry for long enough to know the biggest goal when an individual joins a gym is, ‘I want to get fit!’

What does this even mean? 

If you want to ‘get fit’ you need to start with a good definition of what fitness means to you, otherwise where do you even begin? It can be overwhelming! 

Here’s a little bit of help to get you going. Physical fitness can be defined as the ability of the body to perform with energy and alertness. (Yes please, where do I sign up!) 

Fitness to me is not just physical; although we normally focus on the physical, I prefer to look at fitness as a blend of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. The beauty of physical activity is that movement allows us to think...

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Kickstart Yourself Back Into Movement

By Leanne Hall on

We’ve all been there. Hitting the gym regularly, eating really well and feeling fabulous. Then it happens. Maybe we over eat at a work function, or take a week off the gym because we’ve been feeling unwell. Or maybe we just feel bored with our current fitness routine. Whatever the trigger, the result is the same. Motivation takes a drastic nose-dive and we find ourselves frustrated, and perhaps even depressed at the fact that we just can’t seem to pull ourselves together and get back on track.

So how can you get back on the health and fitness wagon? Well, here are my tips to help get you back to your healthy self again!

Identify Obstacles

When motivation disappears, the first question you need to ask yourself is this: “Why?”

Identifying...

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Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine? No you won’t says new study

By Kai Hensel on

Plenty of us have been there: waking up after a night out with a thumping headache, feeling sick and swearing never to touch alcohol again. If only there were a way to prevent these terrible hangovers.

It isn’t uncommon for us to mix our drinks, maybe a beer in the pub before moving on to wine. Folk wisdom has something to say about this: “Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer.” This idea is very prevalent and versions of it occur in many languages. In my native country, Germany, for example, we say: “Wein auf Bier, das rat’ ich Dir—Bier auf Wein, das lass’ sein.” This translates as: “Wine on beer, I’ll advise you to drink beer on wine.” 

But it turns out that there is no truth to these...

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Why do our friends want us to drink?

By Simon Lenton on

Anyone who has ever tried to give up drinking, or goes somewhere and says they’re not drinking, knows people encourage us to drink and are unhappy when we don’t. Why is this? Is it uniquely Australian? What can we do about it?

The phenomenon of people experiencing pressure to drink in social situations has been identified in many countries around the world, not just in Australia. 

Research on negative reactions to non-drinking and non-drinkers has been reported in countries including the USA, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Japan, African countries, and Finland. Within countries, drinking norms also often vary from one social or cultural group to another..

Doing what our mates do

In some groups, heavy drinking might be normal. In these...

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Using Meditation to Curb Cravings

By Geraldine Coren on

Sugar cravings. We all know how powerful they can be, whispering to us that we MUST have that chocolate, that glass of wine, that cake! It’s like a voice in our ear – and an impulse felt in the body too – distracting us from our goals to be healthy and vital. Yet we all know where acting on our cravings too often leads us. The cycle of trying to resist, then indulging, feeling guilty and even sick, berating ourselves when we know our behaviour isn’t good for us ... and then setting up the sugar craving pattern to be repeated all over again.

Most of us have heard of the benefits of meditation, how it can slow down a busy mind and calm the nervous system. But meditation is more than just focusing and relaxing. It is a powerful tool for...

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Navigating drinking culture in the workplace when you're sober

By ABC Life / By Flip Prior on

This year, I've had plenty of time to reflect on what influenced my past drinking habits since quitting on January 1 — and colleagues have emerged as a strong theme.

Look, I'm not about to try to blame Bob in accounts for my own after-work boozing, but given how much time most of us spend at work (and how stressful that environment can be) it's not surprising workmates loom large in shaping drinking behaviour.

Hanging out with colleagues in social situations often brings a not-so-subtle pressure to drink — it's ubiquitous, especially in the media industry, and opting out can feel uncomfortably weird.

And like lots of situations in which drinking is involved, habits can be ingrained after many years until they eventually feel normalised...

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My problem with your drinking: Australia’s hate-love relationship with alcohol

By Paul Harrison on

In the 2015 annual alcohol poll, 34% of Australians said they drink to get drunk, 43% said they had vomited as a result of drinking and 75% said Australia has a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse. 

But in the same Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education poll, 92% of Australians identified themselves as responsible drinkers. 

As the young people might say, what the …? A majority of Australians agree we have a problem with alcohol. But almost all say it’s not a problem of theirs – it’s a problem that exists somewhere outside of their world. 

There are both contradictions and abstractions in this discussion. But it makes perfect sense to me.

It’s simply easier to say others are flawed than admit you might be...

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