Christmas can be a real test for those of us that have given up something or are struggling to gain control. Or maybe you’re someone that struggles to regulate your intake of anything.
Depending on what your poison is will depend on how difficult this festive season might be.
Alcohol is probably the top one, it’s pretty much everywhere anyway, but something happens at Christmas that seems to make alcohol multiply like I have never seen before or is it just me!!
Food and sugar is another hard one, the whole thing is about food. What is it that happens to an office on the run up to Christmas it seem to turn into a junk food feeding ground, pastries, cakes, chocolate you name it its available in the bucket load.
So what can you do if you are alcohol free, attempting moderation or even just want to be healthy.
Here are my 10 tips for surviving the festive season.
1. Remember there are no rules you don’t have to fit in with everyone...
Stephanie has invited me to do a piece about confidence. Am I confident enough I wonder? Go on then!
Confidence, I have recently learned, comes from one’s self esteem and feeling of self-worth. This is developed in (about) the 4th year of life when we experience how significant we are to our parents, or care givers. To be dear to someone, to have closeness and connection. Eventually, through adolescence and then when we become adults, we learn that we can create this very connection with ourselves, and become self-aware, to believe in ourselves, to support ourselves, stand on our own two feet.
Of course, we all know the notion of “having one’s confidence knocked”. That is when we momentarily doubt our self-worth. Mostly because of a situation or circumstance where we, erroneously, compare ourselves to others. We forget our own significance within.
The good news is that confidence (self-esteem, self-worth) can be learned and can be expanded...
Relapse. (just checking you saw that in there).
Yes relapse is part of the process. You can call it whatever you want.
This isnt just restricted to drugs and alcohol either.
Think about healthy eating, exercise, drinking water etc.
Now when people describe this, its not actually a fair representation of what happens, as its a cycle, makes it sound like a circle, people might feel like they are going round and round.
But you are not.
This is why we will refer to it as the bicycle of change.
Because yes, we are human, yes we are learning machines, yes we learn by making mis-takes. But we keep moving forward.
We learn from our alcohol free days, our days when we dont drink very much, our reductions, as well as our moments when we have a blip.
And we move forward, might not feel...
Blip, slip, relapse; I don’t mind what you call it. Please don’t use language that makes you feel like shit.
It doesn’t matter what your drug of choice is: alcohol, cocaine, crappy food (although not a drug, people do use it in a similar way). When life changes, even subtly, its super easy to find ourselves reaching for our old favourite to cope, to comfort us, to escape, to fill time, because well, whats the point?
I am going to talk about lockdown in England specifically, although I am sure the psychology of it is similar in other countries.
For most of us, in some way (to different degrees), the rug has been pulled out from under us.
Now this isn’t about moaning or being entitled, this is a fact.
It doesn’t have to be a massive problem, most of us know that what we are experiencing are first world problems and we know that we are lucky.
That’s not the point.
I haven't relapsed, but I understand how it can happen. The...
If you are struggling, feeling depressed, low, anxious, not sleeping well, have an overactive brain, roller coaster emotions, the list goes on. Please, take a break from drinking alcohol.
If you drink alcohol regularly, it will have an effect on you, your physical health or most likely your mental health at some point. The effects of alcohol on the brain have been well documented.
Let's take sleep on its own. Alcohol impacts on your ability to get good quality sleep. If you are tired and not sleeping properly this alone will affect your emotional health.
Do you drink regularly? Could you cut down? Does it affect your sleep? When was the last time you took a break from alcohol?
First things first, take a break; 3 months at least. Then re-assess, see how you feel. Most people will feel better within the first few weeks. While you are taking a break, sleep, be nice to yourself, take it easy, eat healthy food, do...
Here is the thing, there are no guarantees in life.
Well I can guarantee that how you are feeling now will change, because everything changes. Like the weather, you can wake up feeling sad and then by the end of the day, feel good. The same way you can wake up and its sunny, then it will be raining by the afternoon.
There is so much that we dont know, or cant predict, we need to make peace with uncertainty.
If your thoughts are running away with you, please remember this, you are not your thoughts.
Your thoughts are just a small part of your human machine, like your heart beating, your blood pumping, lungs breathing, eyes seeing and so on.
Most of your thoughts are not real, or helpful.
Treat them like back seat drivers, tell them to shut up.
If you take a moment to imagine that your thoughts are another person, lets give them a name. What would you say if that person kept speaking to you, in the same way your thoughts do?
The bands, the music, the people, new friends to be made, losing your tent, losing your friends, maybe even your mind? Will it rain and will we get covered in mud this year? Or will we all get sunburn and be dehydrated? Who knows what the British festival season will bring.
Most people have a great time at festivals with no problems. The only thing they take home are great memories and thoughts of “when can we do it all again?!” But for some people with a tendency to over-indulge or openness to try new things a number of things can go wrong.
So what can you do if you want to have a good time, but don’t want to feel like the world is ending for the next week afterwards? Maybe you just want to enjoy the experience without any dramas, attempt moderation or festival healthy style? Yes it is possible to have a healthy festival trust me I have done it quite a few times.
Friday! Best day of the week! What if Friday became your nemesis? What if the weekend became nothing but a test of your resolve; a mirror reflecting the worst of you?
In my twenties I worked in the city. Most Friday’s we’d have a boozy lunch and hit the bars around 4pm! I’d wake Saturday mornings anxiety ridden! Where did we go after 6pm? Did I eat? How the hell did I get home? Yet, Saturday and Sunday I’d be drinking again with friends. Back on the merry-go-round I couldn’t jump off. Everyone was having fun, right?
Monday mornings we’d recount Friday night’s antics. Only I was acting! I had no clue how the night ended. I had no memory of falling down. How did they remember? Surely, they’d drank as much as I did? Sound familiar? Friday to Sunday spent pinballing...
I spent a bit of time with a female friend recently and we got talking about sex, like you do. So many of her sexual experiences involved alcohol, which left her with an uncomfortable feeling. Questioning her experiences. Did she really want to have sex with that person? Was she really consenting? It all felt a little, rushed, sloppy and forced. Add to that the usual anxiety, guilt, shame and questioning: “what did I do and say last night?” etc. You know those awful flashbacks you get where you think OMG, did I really swing from the chandelier? It’s a recipe for disaster.
That got me thinking, how many of us have had unsatisfactory sexual, intimate encounters because we have drunk too much?
I like to think I have quite a good attitude to sex. I am open minded, confident, happy to play and experiment,...
I know this is going to be controversial, but it’s ok, I am ready for it. I am writing this because essentially, I want you to be happy, it’s about quality of life, we only have one life. So please don’t waste it giving yourself a hard time or being wasted.
Now this blog isn’t for everyone, so be honest. How much alcohol is too much? You have to be honest with yourself when answering this question.f you are someone that can’t stop once they have 1 drink, then this isn’t for you. If you are someone that puts themselves and others at risk when they drink, this isn’t for you. If you are someone that has a mental health issue or any physical health problem’s, then this isn’t for you.
You can drink less and feel better. You can let go of that endless internal dialogue. Beating yourself up over why you can’t do the year alcohol free.