My relationship with alcohol has evolved a lot over the years.
Especially now spending much of my day counseling on the effects of alcohol, I am very mindful of my own intake.
I want to first say I do not have an all or nothing mentality. It seems like everyone in the world is reading Quit like a Woman and that’s wonderful for them. Ultimately – do what works for you.
My approach is a bit more flexible.
When I was younger, I certainly drank more liberally. I would drink most weekends in college, sometimes week days as well. It didn’t affect my school work, and I didn’t have enough body intuition to see how it was affecting my sleep and mental health.
Now that I am *ahem* 30, I am so much more mindful of my intake.
For one, I have a headache after 1.5 glasses of wine, so it’s rare that I have much more than that. And alcohol now greatly affects my sleep. So I now save alcohol for occasions where: 1. I’m not already stressed or anxious and 2. I have the ability to sleep in and have a relaxing day.
Alcohol has such a profound impact on sleep and mental health. It ramps up anxiety and can lead to depressive symptoms not only the day after, but a few days after. So if I’m already anxious, overwhelmed, burnt out, or not sleeping well, I steer clear of drinking alcohol.
I lean on my other coping mechanisms and skills, and know that while alcohol may provide some temporary soothing in the moment, it will enhance all of my anxious feelings ten-fold in the long run. This post speaks a lot to ways I like to self-soothe in the moment.
But when I’m relaxed, happy, and in the company of friends, I absolutely love a glass of wine or tequila cocktail when cooking a nice dinner or exploring a new restaurant.
I am frequently encouraging patients to think critically about alcohol intake, especially as it pertains to mental health. If you’re using alcohol as a sole agent to soothe during difficult times, then maybe it’s time we brainstorm other ways to nourish and comfort.
Okay that’s it! A shorty lil bloggy this week.