August 12, 2022

Are you familiar with mindful drinking? Our friends at Sunnyside shed some light.   

Mindful drinking has been a growing phenomenon over the past few years. 

The pandemic proved to be a mental strain for many and as a result excessive alcohol consumption rose significantly

However with increased alcohol sales and consumption, so came with it the interest in a more mindful approach to drinking.

Mindful drinking is all about moderation and awareness around your drinking. It’s not about sobriety or quitting drinking, but rather building a healthier relationship with alcohol. 

In order to better understand this movement, we spoke with Co-Founder at Sunnyside, Ian Andersen. Sunnyside, for anyone not familiar with the product, is the only alcohol tracking, planning, and coaching app that’s all about mindfulness and moderation, not sobriety. 

They’ve helped countless people build a healthier relationship with alcohol, without ever pressuring them to quit. Check out their website for a free 15-day trial if you’re interested.

How would you define mindful drinking and why is it important?

I think of mindful drinking as a way for people to enjoy alcohol more, by really reflecting and optimizing your own consumption in a way that fits your lifestyle and your own personal health goals. 

With Sunnyside specifically, many of our members are attempting to build healthier habits around their own drinking behaviour. 

Essentially, mindful drinking is a way to be more present when you are consuming alcohol- and understanding how alcohol is impacting you in the moment, so that you can enjoy the experience of drinking more, instead of letting it get away from you.

It’s about understanding why you drink. Some people consider drinking a fun social activity, and others use alcohol as a way to unwind at the end of the day. There are also people who have a drink as a nightcap to help them fall asleep. 

But the potential issue with some of these behaviours around drinking, is that they can become habit-forming overtime. 

With a more mindful approach, you can start examining whether or not you really need those habits and rituals in your life. 

And so it comes down to being able to carefully draw the connection between your own behaviours, your health goals and your drinking patterns. 

What’s the difference between mindful drinking and moderate drinking?

Moderate drinking is more about the quantity of what you’re drinking where the specific focus is on drinking less. Mindfulness on the other hand, really lets you become present and understand how alcohol connects to your mind and your body. 

Tell us about Sunnyside. What made you want to start the company?

My co-founder Nick and I started Sunnyside in October of 2020. We were actually trying to find a way to drink more mindfully ourselves. 

We wanted to start adjusting our own habits and relationship with alcohol. After exploring what was out there we were surprised to find that the only options that really existed were focused around completely going sober. 

We wanted something that would help us track and plan our alcohol consumption and we noticed there wasn’t a lot about mindfulness and moderation out there. Much like you would use a fitness or calorie tracker, like Noom, or MyFitnessPal. We were hoping to create something that could fit in our overall health toolkit.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to practice mindful drinking?

1) Confide in a friend

Start by confiding in a friend or someone who you can trust to keep you accountable. One of the biggest challenges cited from Sunnyside members is that they struggle to cut back on their drinking, because their friend group might be heavier drinkers.

It’s a pretty common roadblock and I was in a similar situation. I ended up talking to a close friend, one who I often enjoy drinking with. 

I was upfront about my desire to cut back on drinking and positioned it more as a way that we could improve our connection with each other, without relying on alcohol. 

We ended up deciding that we would drink less together and it kind of became this mission for both of us and our friendship is a lot stronger because of it.

2) Explore non-alcoholic options and mocktails

Next, I would introduce non-alcoholic drink alternatives into social settings for yourself, but also as a way to introduce new ideas to your friends.

Whether that means trying out a mocktail, or an non-alcoholic beer like Libra. Brands are getting a lot more creative with how they introduce non-alcoholic options. They certainly taste better than some of the older options that usually just taste like sugar water rather than beer. 

There are also a lot of low-calorie options that actually taste really great! 

3) Make a plan, communicate it and keep track of your drinking

Like any goal, it’s hard to achieve it unless you plan for it, and keep track of your progress. By communicating your goals to a friend or family member, you also ensure someone else will help keep you accountable. 

Sunnyside lets you plan weekly and we recommend a personalized plan each week to help you stay mindful and view your progress over time. We have a 3-min quiz that allows us to create a personalized plan for you as well. 

Where to go to learn more about mindful drinking?

For anyone who wants to learn more about mindful drinking, I would naturally recommend visiting Sunnyside’s website.

Sunnyside offers a service that is a monthly subscription to help people proactively cut back on their drinking, without the pressure to quit. We also offer a lot of resources including our Mindful Drinking 101 guide that is referenced earlier. And if you have any specific questions you can always reach out to us for recommendations! 

You can also watch our video on mindful drinking here. 

Mindful drinking is something that should be considered a long-term journey and lifestyle choices. Practicing better drinking habits has its ups and downs, but over time it can be something that really improves your sense of wellbeing. 

You can find out if Sunnyside is the right choice for you by taking the 3-minute quiz, so that you can start building healthier drinking habits!