Exercise

This 5-Move Core Workout for Runners Will Help Your Miles Feel Easier

This 5-Move Core Workout for Runners Will Help Your Miles Feel Easier

Strong legs are (obviously) important for running. But so is the entire midsection of your body—which is why we have a great core workout for runners that you can easily add to your routine.First though, let’s get clear on what we mean by “core.” While you may think of “core” as simply your abs, there are also a bunch of other muscles involved, too.Your core is “all of the muscles that control your torso,” certified strength and conditioning specialist Janet Hamilton, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist and running coach with Running Strong in Atlanta, tells SELF. This includes your rectus abdominis (which run vertically along the front of your abdomen), obliques (muscles on the sides of your torso), and transverse abdominis (the deepest core muscles that sits beneath your obliques) as well as your glutes, pelvic floor, and the muscles that stabilize your spine and hips.When it comes to running, your core has two big jobs. The first is reducing your injury risk. And the second is improving performance.On the injury front, a strong core may help reduce your chances of common runner ailments, like patellofemoral syndrome (often called runner’s knee), Iliotibial band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and stress fractures, says Hamilton. That’s because movement in one part of your body can affect movement in another area. Say, for example, your foot rolls too far inward as you run (an issue known as overpronation). That excess motion can travel upward to your knees and potentially overstress the knee joint.But, if you have strong enough hips—which, as we mentioned above, are actually part of your core—then they can absorb some of that force and reduce your risk of knee injury.A strong core can also help you run better, since the power that your legs generate from running needs to be transmitted through your core. The stronger your core is, the more effectively that power will be transmitted, and the more efficiently you’ll be able to propel yourself forward.“A good strong core is vital to performance,” says Hamilton.Moreover, the base of your power as a runner is your glutes (yep, which are also part of your core), she says. So by improving your glute strength, you can in turn improve your power as a runner. That’s why when you’re thinking of a solid core workout for runners, you shouldn’t think only about traditional abs exercises—moves that strengthen your glutes are also key.In this core workout for runners, which was created by Hamilton, you’ll work your glutes as well as your hips, obliques, abs, and back. Because you’ll ease into this routine, you don’t need a specific warm-up beforehand. But if you’d like, feel free to do some gentle movement, like walking, says Hamilton.As for when and how often runners should pencil in core work like this, ​​well, there’s no set guidance. However, as a general rule of thumb, Hamilton suggests strength training two to three times a week. This can either be on days when you’re not running at all, or days when you have just an easy run planned.Feeling ready to fire up your core and improve your running in the process? Keep scrolling for a core workout for runners you’ll want to come back to each week.The WorkoutWhat you need: An exercise mat for comfort.ExercisesForearm plankSide plankGlute bridgeBird dogSpeed skaterDirectionsPerform each exercise for the designated time or number of reps, then move onto the next exercise, resting as prescribed. Do the entire sequence 1 or 2 times.Demoing the moves below are Nikki Pebbles (GIFs 1 and 3), a New York City–based fitness instructor; Crystal Williams (GIF 2), a group fitness instructor and trainer who teaches at residential and commercial gyms across New York City; Rachel Denis (GIF 4), a powerlifter who competes with USA Powerlifting and holds multiple New York State powerlifting records; and Amanda Wheeler (GIF 5), a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-founder of Formation Strength.

Linda Evangelista Claims This Popular Cosmetic Procedure Left Her ‘Brutally Disfigured’

Linda Evangelista Claims This Popular Cosmetic Procedure Left Her ‘Brutally Disfigured’

Supermodel Linda Evangelista says that CoolSculpting, a popular cosmetic procedure, did the opposite of what it claimed to do—and left her “permanently deformed.” In an Instagram post, Evangelista revealed new details about what happened and announced she is suing the company behind CoolSculpting.“Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and kept to myself for over five years. To my followers who have wondered why I have not been working while my peers’ careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised,” Evangelista wrote in the post. “It increased, not decreased, my fat cells and left me permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful corrective surgeries. I have been left, as the media described, ‘unrecognizable.’”She went on to explain that she developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), “a risk of which I was not made aware before I had the procedures.” PAH has destroyed her livelihood, Evangelista wrote, but it has also “sent me into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing. In the process, I have become a recluse.” Evangelista filed a $50 million lawsuit in New York federal court this week seeking damages for emotional distress and lost wages due to negligence on the part of CoolSculpting maker Zeltiq Aesthetics, CNN reported. She has reportedly not earned anything as a model since 2016 due to the effects of the procedure.CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical fat-reduction procedure that works by freezing fat cells, which the body then eliminates through waste. The procedure may be an attractive option to consumers because it requires no downtime and allows for a targeted approach, the Mayo Clinic explains. Some common side effects of CoolSculpting can include discomfort during the procedure (such as tugging, numbness, or pinching), as well as temporary numbness, swelling, redness, bruising, and stinging after the treatment, the Mayo Clinic says.But PAH is another possible side effect of the procedure, which occurs when fat tissue accumulates in a particular area. It’s characterized by “the formation of a large, painless, firm, partially mobile mass that develops at the treatment site,” researchers write in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.Although it’s rare, recent research suggests PAH may be more common than researchers originally thought. Looking at 16 reports of PAH after cryolipolysis (the technical term for the CoolSculpting procedure), researchers in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology argue that, “the continuing popularity and high volume of cryolipolysis procedures performed may suggest that PAH may not be a ‘rare’ adverse effect.” 

17 Holy Grail Supportive Sports Bras That SELF Editors Swear By

17 Holy Grail Supportive Sports Bras That SELF Editors Swear By

They pick us up when we’re down, hug us tight, and support us through every challenge. Yep, we’re talking about sports bras. When looking for supportive sports bras, there are a few things to keep in mind: First, consider the actual amount of support you need, which varies based on your activity, and your breast size. Second, take note of the strap style (pro tip: bigger-busted folks should look for thicker straps) and how easy the bra is to pull on and off. For further guidance, glance over our sports bra buying guide. Once you’ve found a supportive sports bra that truly fits, you may be surprised by how much easier workouts become. Your boobs will no longer bounce, and you won’t be left adjusting your bra after every rep and dealing with persistent back pain. The best supportive sports bra is so comfortable you won’t feel like you’re wearing a bra at all.Here at SELF, we spend a lot of time testing various fitness products and activewear (especially for awards). Below, we’ve rounded up some of our editor-approved, holy grail supportive sports bra recommendations that are ideal for high-impact sports like running, low-impact activities like yoga, and everything in between.All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Tallulah Willis, an ‘Antsy-Handed Chronic Picker,’ Shared New Skin Transformation Photos

Tallulah Willis, an ‘Antsy-Handed Chronic Picker,’ Shared New Skin Transformation Photos

Tallulah Willis is celebrating the huge progress she’s made on her skin health journey. Willis, who has previously spoken about compulsively picking at her skin, shared an ecstatic Instagram post this week showing just how much her face has improved after a few months of taking good care of her skin. “Updates from an antsy handed chronic picker ! we have *ascended* to peak alien dewy supple goals,” Willis wrote alongside a series of photos (and a video) documenting her skin’s transformation in reverse chronological order.Willis chalks up the progress to a “a divine symphony” of specialists and skin-care brands she tagged in the post, including a dermatologist and aesthetician—as well as four months free of skin picking. “NOT TOUCHIN MY PRECIOUS DELICATE FACE W GRUBBY NAILS IN 4 – COUNT EM’ – 4 MONTHS 🙃🙃🙃” she wrote. “I don’t think I’ve ever used this many emojis, or felt so motivated to brag – but I am truly forkin proud !!!”In the earlier images, Willis’s acne, inflammation, and scabbing are visible. In the caption, Willis noted the “handlebar ‘stache of scab” that occurred two days before she was scheduled to appear on Good Morning America and do a photoshoot for Vogue. “What a ride it has truly been!” wrote Willis.Willis, who previously spoke to SELF about her how rewarding it’s been to share her struggles with skin-picking on Instagram, concluded her post by speculating that her skin’s health might regress at some point. “All this being said, I am most likely going to sabotage all this progress,” Willis wrote, “but until then I am going to marinate in an attitude of gratitude.” A serious skin-picking habit can be a form of body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRB). This is a group of disorders in which people compulsively touch their skin or hair in ways that result in both physical damage and psychological distress, such as nail-biting or hair-pulling. Some people with BFRBs also have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In skin-picking disorder, sometimes called excoriation or dermatillomania, the person compulsively picks at their skin (or rubs, scratches, scrapes, or digs into it) in a way that damages the skin (like scarring, scabbing, or discoloration) and find it difficult to stop the behavior. Sometimes people focus the picking on acne, blemishes, or areas of dry skin. 

Who Qualifies for COVID-19 Booster Shots? The CDC Approved Them for These 4 Groups

Who Qualifies for COVID-19 Booster Shots? The CDC Approved Them for These 4 Groups

After weeks of anticipation, both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have now weighed in on COVID-19 booster shots. And they’ve decided that four groups of people, which includes a huge swath of the population, should be eligible for the shots.Here’s who now qualifies for Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 booster shots, according to a CDC press release outlining the recommendations:People who are 65 years and older and those who live in long-term care facilities should get booster shots.People who are between the ages of 50 and 64 who have an underlying medical condition that puts them at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms should get a booster shot.Those who are between the ages of 18 and 49 who have an underlying medical condition that makes them more likely to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms may get a booster shot if they wish, depending on their individual potential risks and benefits of the shot.People between the ages of 18 and 49 who face an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to their occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot if they want. But the decision to do so depends on the risks and benefits of the shot for each individual.For all of these groups, the recommendations only apply to those who received a Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for their first doses. And they can only get a booster dose if it’s been at least six months since their first shots. Neither the FDA nor the CDC has ruled yet on whether or not it’s okay for people to mix and match which vaccines they get (if, for instance, someone got the Moderna vaccine initially and gets a Pfizer booster shot).The COVID-19 booster shot conversation kicked off in the U.S. in earnest when the White House announced a plan to offer third vaccine doses to the general public last month. Based on data mainly from Israel, it appeared that protection against COVID-19 infections (but not so much against hospitalization and death) was waning among those who received their first shots early on. After an FDA advisory panel recommended authorizing Pfizer booster doses for specific groups of people (primarily those over age 65), the agency updated the vaccine’s emergency use authorization to allow that use. Then, over the past two days, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to discuss the potential recommendations around who should actually receive booster doses.Some of the most compelling evidence for the use of COVID-19 booster shots that ACIP saw yesterday was for older populations, many of whom were prioritized during the initial vaccine rollout phase and are generally at a higher risk for severe complications from the virus. The panel weighed the potential benefits and risks of administering third doses to other age groups (including the risk for myocarditis, which is most likely to affect young men), underlying medical conditions, and certain occupational risk factors that make them more likely to be exposed to the virus (especially with the highly transmissible delta variant now dominant in the country). 

4 Exciting New Workout Features Coming to Apple Fitness+ Very Soon

4 Exciting New Workout Features Coming to Apple Fitness+ Very Soon

If you’re a fan of Apple Fitness+ or thinking about becoming one, there will soon be a lot more to like about the virtual workout platform. With new types of classes and new ways to enjoy them (including with your long-lost workout buddies), these features will help you stay active and grounded even as the weather gets a little grayer.Most of these features will be available starting next week on September 27, but one won’t be available until a little later on in the fall. Here are a few of the most exciting new Apple Fitness+ options coming soon.PilatesFollowing in the footsteps and scissor kicks of other major streaming platforms, Fitness+ will soon offer both classical and contemporary Pilates classes starting September 27. And, as with other Fitness+ workouts, other members of the training team will be in the background offering modification options.Most of the Pilates workouts on Apple Fitness+ will only require a mat, but others will also involve the use of resistance bands. Classes will range in length from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.Virtual group classesIf you’ve been missing group fitness classes during the pandemic, this innovative new feature is for you. Group Workouts will allow you to take Fitness+ streaming classes at the same time as your friends and give you fun, encouraging ways to interact with them during the workout. To start a class with friends, you’ll navigate from a group message thread or FaceTime call to the Fitness+ app and start a workout, which will give you the option to invite the others to the same class.During the workout, you’ll be able to see your friends’ faces and talk to them via picture-in-picture. You’ll also be able to see their progress on the “burn bar” (which estimates how intensely you’re working) and when they close their activity rings, but everyone’s individual metrics will stay private to them. The Group Workouts feature, coming later in the fall with the new SharePlay update, will support up to 32 people at once. Snow season workoutsFor most of us, skiing and snowboarding are activities we only get to take part in a few times a year. So, to help you get the most out of those precious few days even in the off-season, Apple Fitness+ is introducing Workouts to Get Ready for Snow Season on September 27. The classes are led by champion alpine skier and two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety alongside snowboarder and Fitness+ trainer Anja Garcia. Each workout is designed to help you prep for those snow sports you know and love before you actually hit the slopes. They’re geared towards improving balance, strength, and endurance in an effort to ramp up your performance while also preventing injury.Guided meditationsWhether you’re a total beginner or long-time meditation fan, the new Fitness+ guided Meditation feature will offer a way to get a little bit of calm in your day starting September 27. Led by a group of yoga and cooldown trainers already on the app as well as some newcomers, the meditation sessions will each focus on one of several themes, such as focus, creativity, gratitude, or resilience. You can even filter by theme to find a meditation that will resonate with you that day.Unlike most other virtual guided meditations, these classes have both audio and video components. Although many people meditate with their eyes closed, Apple found during testing that some people—especially those who are new to meditation—prefer to be able to see their instructor, particularly during the introduction and closing moments of the class. You’ll also have the opportunity to perform moving meditations—on a walk or bike ride in the park, for instance—using just the audio with the Apple Watch.Related:

15 Flavorful Salsa Recipes to Fire Up Any Dish

15 Flavorful Salsa Recipes to Fire Up Any Dish

Is jarred salsa ever as incredible as you expect? Not really. The store-bought stuff will save you time, but it tends to lack oomph. That’s why homemade salsa recipes are where it’s at.Think about it: The whole point of salsa is to add bold, zesty flavor to a dish. Pizzazz, if you will. Its entire reason for existing is to be the exclamation point. And while, sure, there are some pretty good premade salsas out there, the truth is it’s pretty tricky to find the salsa excitement you’re looking for—the brightness, the aroma, the depth of flavor—on a shelf.Nope, genuine pack-a-punch salsa is best made fresh at home, using a variety of awesome ingredients. And we’re not just talking tomatoes. While tomato salsa is a classic for a reason, all kinds of fruits and veggies are welcome to this party—in a supporting or leading role. (We’re looking at you, corn, tomatillos, and mango.)Another advantage to taking the DIY route here: You can taste your salsa as you make it, and adjust the seasonings and heat level to fit whatever you’re feeling. Unlike with store-bought salsa, when you can quickly discover that your “mild” bottle is actually fire–or vice versa–with homemade salsa recipes, you can always get that perfect level of spiciness you’re actually looking for. (Pro tip for the heat-wary: Start with half the peppers and add to taste.)Are you convinced yet? Of course you are. So go ahead. Find your favorite salsa recipes among this very tempting bunch, grab some primo ingredients, and get ready for some real delicious dipping. You deserve it.

No, You Should Not Inhale Hydrogen Peroxide in an Attempt to Treat COVID-19

No, You Should Not Inhale Hydrogen Peroxide in an Attempt to Treat COVID-19

Another day, another extremely ill-advised attempt to treat COVID-19: This time it’s inhaling hydrogen peroxide. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) published a post this week warning people against the “concerning and dangerous trend” that is currently making the rounds on social media. Some individuals are “breathing in hydrogen peroxide through nebulizers to try to prevent or treat COVID-19,” according to the AAFA. Nebulizers are small devices that people with asthma can use to turn fast-acting liquid asthma medication into a fine mist, which they can then easily inhale through a mouthpiece or mask. The AAFA urges people not to put hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic and bleaching agent, into a nebulizer and inhale it. “DO NOT put hydrogen peroxide into your nebulizer and breathe it in. This is dangerous!” the AAFA says. Not only will inhaling hydrogen peroxide fail to prevent or treat COVID-19, as the AAFA notes, it also poses health risks of its own. Hydrogen peroxide is a common household chemical found in a variety of products. For instance, it is available at drugstores as a plain, diluted solution (often sold in brown bottles). As an active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide can act as a bleaching agent (in fabric stain removers or teeth whitening products, for example). It can also be used as a disinfectant (in cleaning products for bathrooms and other surfaces) since it is effective at killing germs like bacteria and viruses, as the Cleveland Clinic explains. Hydrogen peroxide has also long been used as an antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes, although some experts now advise against this because it can be very abrasive to the wound, the Cleveland Clinic says. The risks of improperly using hydrogen peroxide go beyond irritating a wound, though, especially if it gets into your airways. “Inhalation of household strength hydrogen peroxide (3%) can cause respiratory irritation,” according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (It can also irritate the skin and eyes, according to the ATSDR.) And inhaling stronger industrial-grade solutions, above a 10% concentration, “may result in severe pulmonary irritation,” the ATSDR warns. It’s important to note here that the ATSDR is just talking about incidental exposure to hydrogen peroxide, such as accidentally breathing it in while cleaning or on the job. Inhaling it deeply and directly using a nebulizer—a device specifically meant to help quickly disperse a substance into your airways and lungs through a fine mist—would likely result in a much more direct and risky form of exposure.  Beyond that, ingesting a hydrogen peroxide solution of any strength—which one could certainly do if using a nebulizer—is dangerous. Ingesting lower household concentrations can result in symptoms like vomiting and GI irritation, as well as gastrointestinal embolisms (when air bubbles block up blood vessels), according to the ASTR. Higher industrial-strength solutions can also cause tissue burning, loss of consciousness, and respiratory paralysis. This is certainly not the first time we’ve seen a ridiculous idea for treating or preventing COVID-19 garner far too much attention. In fact, the whole thing is very reminiscent of how public health and medical organizations had to clarify that ingesting household bleach was not in any way a safe or effective treatment idea after Former President Trump made a comment suggesting it could be. The takeaway here is the same: Save your hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting surfaces, and don’t let it anywhere near your lungs. Related:

U.S. Athletes Will Be Required to Get COVID-19 Vaccines to Compete at the Winter Olympics

U.S. Athletes Will Be Required to Get COVID-19 Vaccines to Compete at the Winter Olympics

All Team USA athletes and staff will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to compete at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing next year. The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced the vaccine mandate on Wednesday in a letter from CEO Sarah Hirshland obtained by Reuters. The mandate will take effect in stages, beginning with anyone who wants to enter USOPC facilities or events. “Effective November 1, 2021, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee will require all USOPC staff, athletes, and those utilizing USOPC facilities—including the training centers—to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” Hirshland wrote. Next, the COVID-19 vaccine requirement “will also apply to our full Team USA delegation at future Olympic and Paralympic Games,” beginning with the upcoming Winter Games, which kick off in February 2022. All athletes hoping to compete in Beijing must submit proof of vaccination by December 1, 2021, according to the USOPC website. Additionally, vaccine booster shots “may be required in the future.” Athletes will have the ability to apply for an exemption “for a legitimate medical reason or because of a sincerely held religious belief,” according to a USOPC document on the vaccine mandate. Those exemption requests will be reviewed by an independent third party on a case-by-case basis. Unvaccinated athletes will have to follow extra safety protocols, such as undergoing frequent COVID-19 testing. The intention of the mandate is to prioritize the “health and well-being of our Olympic and Paralympic community,” the USOPC says. “This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff, and allow us to restore consistency in planning, preparation, and optimal service to athletes.” As with the Tokyo Games, each country’s team will decide its own vaccine requirements for Beijing, given that the International Olympic Committee has not announced one.The USOPC’s decision comes a few weeks after the close of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. While there were a number of COVID-19 safety protocols in place (including a ban on all spectators and athletes’ family members) and vaccination was highly encouraged, it was not required. The USOPC said that about 83% of Team USA athletes were vaccinated, meaning there were about 100 unvaccinated U.S. athletes in Tokyo. And a number of athletes had to bow out of the Games after testing positive for COVID-19, including tennis player Cori “Coco” Gauff, gymnast Kara Eaker, and volleyball player Taylor Crabb. (Both Eaker and Crabb said they were vaccinated and asymptomatic.) There were at least 430 total cases in the Olympic bubble, according to Reuters. Since the close of the Games, vaccine requirements have gone from the exception to the norm in the U.S. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late August, spurring a wave of vaccine mandates from private and public institutions. Earlier this month the Biden administration announced it was mandating vaccine requirements be implemented at all companies with more than 100 employees. Meanwhile, as we near closer to the first Winter Olympics and Paralympics to be held in the pandemic era, the spread of the virus continues and new variants may continue to emerge, as the USOPC notes. Hirshland said in her letter that months ago she was hopeful that the committee would be able to lift their COVID-19 restrictions by the close of the Tokyo Games, per Reuters. But the reality now, she wrote, is that the pandemic is “far from over.”Related:

If the Pandemic Changed Your Drinking Habits, You’re Not Alone

If the Pandemic Changed Your Drinking Habits, You’re Not Alone

So, one thing you can try is to give yourself a drink total before you head out, so you know to stop once you’ve hit your cap. (If you regularly find yourself making excuses to go past that limit or don’t feel capable of stopping once you reach it, we’ll discuss that later.) Having a full glass of water after each alcoholic drink is another way to be mindful of your pace. You’ll also stay hydrated as a bonus, which can help reduce your risk of a bad hangover.2. Your drinking tolerance might feel totally different.Anyone can find themselves in a risky situation if they’re not aware of how drinking more or less has changed their tolerance, which signals the level of “drunk” they’re accustomed to after having a certain amount of alcohol. “If you started drinking more during the pandemic, your tolerance to alcohol may have increased,” Dr. Fernandez says. “People sometimes rely on their own perception of how intoxicated they are but the more tolerant you are, the less you feel the intoxicating effects that can impair driving.” That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a transportation plan in place if you’re drinking away from home—rideshare, public transit, or a DD—so that you don’t feel tempted to drive if you “feel” OK.If you cut back during the pandemic, your tolerance may have decreased, meaning you might feel the effects of that second drink a lot faster. In this situation, it’s important to be especially aware when drinking in new settings and to take it more slowly than you normally would so that you don’t accidentally get sick or maybe do something else that you might regret. (Again, going in with a plan for spacing out drinks and imbibing slowly is huge here.)3. You might feel some anxiety around drinking and socializing.We’re all so used to staying at home now, so it’s understandable to feel a bit of anxiety in social situations. With that, you may find yourself drinking more than you normally do so you don’t feel awkward making small talk with people you don’t know well or haven’t seen in a while. If that’s the case, then you may want to think about what scenarios you’re comfortable socializing in while sober. For now, maybe you feel better hanging out with just a few friends and going for a bike ride together. Over time, as things continue to reopen, you may feel more excited about going out and seeing more people, diffusing the need to use alcohol as a crutch in those moments.However, you might completely avoid social situations involving alcohol if you’ve been drinking less for the past year, because it feels awkward being the only one who’s not drinking or having to explain to others why you’re not. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from having fun!“You don’t want to think about it so much that you paralyze yourself and can’t go out and have a good time,” Alexander Hubbell4, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School and program director of Addiction Medicine and Outpatient Substance Use Disorder Services at MHealth Fairview, tells SELF. If that sounds familiar, before going out with friends, try setting the boundary that you will not drink if you don’t want to. You may find it helpful to order seltzer water with lime or a mocktail so you’re holding something and sipping something along with others. Over time, you will hopefully feel more relaxed about it and feel less pressure to drink.4. You might decide to stop drinking altogether.If you cut back on drinking (or stopped entirely) when social events hit a halt, it may have come as a surprise that you really enjoy drinking less—or not at all. If you’ve been happier without the bar, then it could be the perfect time to create a new narrative for yourself, says Dr. Hubbell. That can be as simple as: “I can go out and enjoy my friends and not give in to the pressure to drink,” Dr. Hubbell says.

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