We’re coming in to a time of year known for
more indulgence, when it’s easy to drink way too much and end up feeling awful
all over and increasingly so as you keep topping up with every social event and
I struggled with drinking at this time of
year for a good decade of my life. When I worked in an office I loved the
Christmas parties as they were a time to let loose and I had some incredible
colleagues and we always had a lot of fun. But it was like I was different from
everyone else, I had no ‘off’ button when it came to drinking and I often ended
up going past my limits on drinking and being taken home as I was too out of it
to get there myself.
Even remembering these times now fills me
with sadness and embarrassment. We’d laugh it off the next morning in the
office, as we devoured our hangover breakfasts together, and there were always
a number of amusing stories to tell. But, deep inside I knew something wasn’t
right and I always felt as though alcohol had a hold over me. I hated the fact
that I’d not been able to ‘control’ myself, that I had made a fool of myself
I noticed my health mentally and physically
slowly declining over the years I drank, and particularly in December when my
drinking was at an all-time high. I gained weight so easily and found it
increasingly hard to lose. I felt constant low levels of anxiety and struggled
with depression. As well as that my digestion was all over the place and I had
to know where the bathroom was at all times. Come January I’d be feeling awful
inside my body, bloated, low in energy, constant mood swings and like I needed
to eat fruit and vegetables only for a month to feel like me.
Aside from the moments drinking and
connecting, which was one of the main reasons why I drank, the negative effects
began to far outweigh any positive benefits and I started to challenge myself
to regular periods not drinking, ranging in length from 10 days – 6 months.
These periods, over time, made me realise how good I can naturally feel (a few
things for me are: more energy and wanting to be more active, weight loss,
clearer skin, feeling calmer and more balanced, sleeping better, better
digestion, more embodied, connected and grounded, more money in my bank
account) and how much fun you can actually have not drinking. Something I
genuinely thought was never possible. Today I have chosen to live a sober life
and can honestly say I feel I so much better all over.
You don’t have to be in the same place as I
was, nor do you have to stop drinking forever. But, if you feel that you’d like
to drink less or stay off the booze this holiday season here are some tips
which might support you.
- Connect with why you want to
stay off the booze or drink less. Really feel into it and connect with the
vision of yourself that is who you want to be this holiday season. It may also
be for health, financial or other personal reasons. Keep this vision and / or
reasons somewhere you can see them daily, to remind yourself why you are doing
what you are doing.
- Pick which social engagements
you want to go to. It’s a lot easier to manage how much you will be drinking
and whether you want to drink or not with a little planning. It’s easy to say
yes to a few glasses of mulled wine if you are at an impromptu event or
gathering as you are putting yourself in a situation you hadn’t planned for. Whereas
if you go to events you have planned to attend you can decide for yourself
beforehand how you want to handle them and be prepared with tools (such as some
of the following) to support you.
- Book in activities to connect
with others that don’t involve drinking. This could include exercise classes or
another form of movement with a friend, seeing an exhibition or play, going for
a walk, meeting friends for tea , or anything you enjoy that means you get to
still socialise and enjoy some of the festivities without drinking.
- Create a personal non-alcoholic
festive drink that you look forward to and can drink whenever there are others
around you drinking. Make it delicious and special so it feels like a treat.
There are some awesome non-alcoholic options available too, so you don’t feel
like you are missing out.
- Put aside all the money you are
saving and treat yourself to something that will make you feel good in January,
or at a time of your choice. Or you could give the money to a cause you believe
- Keep reminding yourself why you
are choosing to not drink or drink less. How do you want to feel? How will you
feel the next morning?
- Find a support group or meetup either
online or in person, with other non-drinkers. This can be particularly helpful
as if things get tough you can reach out and get some inspiration, encouragement
or motivation to keep going. These days there are so many groups online (free
and paid for) that offer support for not drinking without labelling yourself,
you can just show up and get the support you need for where you are at and help
- Sign up for a physical activity,
such as a charity run, which will require you to be in good shape. This can be
motivating as you’ll need to keep up your exercise and movement, which is a lot
harder to do with a hangover.
- Get creative. So often we drink
to feel something inside of ourselves, to express or let loose. Think about
what you did as a child when you didn’t drink alcohol. You likely found a way
to entertain yourself (if you’re my age anyway ;-)) and spent time using your
imagination. Creativity is a similar outlet and way to connect with this part
of your being and you can do it any way that feels good to you. Creating can be
painting or drawing yes, but it also can be flower arranging, photography,
singing or any way that you enjoy expressing yourself.
Wishing you a wonderful festive season that feels good in your body.
If you would like support around your wellbeing in any way, please book in a free 30 minute call with me here and let’s chat around your needs.
Photo by Alex Robert on Unsplash