A little birdie told me people are drinking more alcohol since we have gone on quarantine. Life is different, things are uncertain, and we are stuck inside with our family or we are alone ALL THE TIME. Perhaps that nightly glass of wine with dinner has turned into a 5 o’clock drink after your last Zoom meeting. Followed by another glass while making dinner or waiting for your dinner delivery. And then a few more with dinner.
Quarantine was only supposed to last for a couple of weeks. Many of us ate and drank whatever we wanted. Exercise routines went out the window. The simplest tasks were more stressful than ever. Many people had more alcohol.
Those two weeks at home have turned into two months. What started as a little more alcohol may now be a habit.
Does the thought of taking a week off from alcohol seem scary to you?
Why would one want to stop drinking?
Now, more than ever, having a strong immune system is a goal to achieve. We have heard from medical experts that having a strong immune system and being at a healthy weight, may contribute to having fewer and milder symptoms if we contract COVID 19. Since our actions can impact others who are immune-compromised, building up our immunity is so very important.
We discussed immunity in a past issue. We have discussed replacing sugary drinks with tea. We have talked about ginger and echinacea. We know that increasing vitamin c levels lessen our chance of illness. Drinking herbal tea is calming, delicious, and a healthy choice. Now let’s review the negative effects of alcohol.
You don’t have to be an addict to realize it would be good for you to take a break from alcohol. My good friend Paul Silva recently celebrated 9 years of sobriety. He is a life coach who helps others who are in recovery.
“Regardless of who you are, addiction or no addiction, know that you are exactly where you need to be. There is always room for growth. You can achieve your goals if you make the committed decision to do so.”Paul Silva Coaching
He knows firsthand that the struggles we face and the challenges we overcome, help us to make better decisions moving forward. If you are not feeling great about your health habits, change them. I know it’s not always easy. Some people can become so sick of their unhealthy habits that they STOP. Others need more support and baby steps to achieve new goals. One thing I know with certainty, if you continue making the same decisions everyday, expecting different results, you will be disappointed.
Why Should I Take a Break from Alcohol?
During breaks from certain foods and alcohol, I notice changes in my body, in my mood, in my skin, and my energy levels. I love to feel the progression from sluggish to perky after removing items that are unhealthy for me. I come into my body in a whole new way. I feel empowered and strong when I say no each day to something that I want. That powerful feeling helps to motivate me in other areas of my life. Sometimes it’s just the push I needed to start a difficult conversation or to start a hard project that I was scared to do.
- Lowers immunity
- Upset stomach
- Impaired judgment- can lead to poor decisions
- Can lead to poor decisions
- Breathing difficulties
- Mental fog for days afterward
- Distorted vision and hearing
Long Term Effects of Alcohol (binge drinking or daily drinking in excess)
- Increase of relationship problems
- Injuries: falls, car crashes, burns, drowning
- Alcohol poisoning
- Domestic violence
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Nerve damage
- Sexual problems
- Brain damage
- Cancer of the mouth and throat
- Vitamin B1 deficiency
Did you know there were so many possible side effects from drinking? Even if you are not noticing any of the negative effects above, you are likely going to feel great from a one to two-week break from alcohol. Bloating decreases, the skin becomes clearer, and mental fog disappears. And you will likely have a euphoric feeling of accomplishing something hard. You may find out that it’s not as easy to quit as you had hoped. In that case, I recommend a recovery program. See the resources at the end of this article for extra support – they are there for YOU.
Drink Alternatives to Alcohol
Flood your body with green drinks, herbal tea, homemade smoothies, ginger shots, and sparkling water. Make those mocktails you keep meaning to make. Learn more about herbs to choose the ones that speak to you. Or choose blends specially crafted for your symptoms or desires.
Kombucha for the Fizz
Consider kombucha if you are used to wine or beer. Kombucha is a fermented tea that has a taste similar to sparkling wine. It is full of probiotics and has a multitude of health benefits. I keep a wine glass in the freezer and enjoy a glass of kombucha with dinner, several nights a week. It feels like I am having a glass of wine. It perks me up like wine and is delicious.
Cold Herbal Tea
Keep cold herbal tea in the fridge so you always have something besides water to grab. You can easily make cold-brew tea at night before bed if you don’t feel like heating the kettle. Just place 2-3 teaspoons of herbal tea in a large mason jar of water and place it in the fridge overnight. This doesn’t work for green or black tea as they become bitter, if steeped too long. It works great with herbal teas, like Meditative State of Mind and Trust Your Gut, Know Your Gut. Adding hibiscus will give it a beautiful color and extra flavorful sweetness. If your tea is stronger than you would like it in the morning, add ice, juice, or sparkling water.
Increasing your intake of water will help flush out toxins and is great when eliminating food and drinks from your diet. Aim for a full glass of water every 1-2 hours. Add lemon or lime juice if you tire of the taste of plain water. Water is good for you in a million ways (or 6, according to Web MD).
When making health goals, it’s a great idea to tell someone about it. Even if you don’t expect them to check up on you daily, it helps with accountability. Journaling each day is helpful to praise yourself for your successes. You can write about changes you are experiencing, such as symptoms decreasing or increasing. If you cheat, you can write about that and decide to continue on with your goal or start over with day one. And you can write about how you feel. This may start out as feelings of agitation or anger, tiredness, and hopefully will lead to feeling proud of yourself as the days move on and you have kept your commitments.
Examples of goals to lower alcohol intake:
Make a commitment to not drink alcohol for 1-2 weeks.
Agree to only drink alcohol on the weekends.
Lower intake to 1 glass per evening, if you consume more than that.
Limit alcohol intake to 2-3 times per week.
Order more tea!
Order tea from You, Me, and Uni, hand-crafted by a master herbalist, Jennifer Vollbrecht. Drink it hot with honey, make it cold, or mix it in a mocktail for a non-alcoholic treat. Read for more inspiration on making your own tea blends. Purchase Meditative State of Mind or Know Your Gut, Trust Your Gut for two amazing tea blends already prepared for your benefit!
If you are having a hard time taking a break from alcohol, reach out for help.
- National Helpline Number – 1-844-289-0879
- Alcoholics Anonymous Number – 1-212-870-3400
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics – 1-888-554-COAS (2627)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) – 1-800-NCA-CALL (622-2255)
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Freelance writer and editor in Gainesville, Florida at Walden Writes For Women