Mindful drinking

PMD mindful drinking

Pull up a chair, pour yourself a beverage and let’s talk booze. Specifically, mindful drinking. Do you practice it? Or are you stuck in a rut or routine around your daily drink? I’m going to get real here and I encourage you to do the same – either in the comments or within the safety of your mind.

Up until last October I was in the habit of marking the start of every evening or at least that last bit of evening with a drink. Sometimes it was a glass of wine while preparing dinner and other times it was a cocktail after my daughter would fall asleep. Most get-togethers with my girlfriends were marked by a bottle of bubbly and no date night was not complete without a bottle of wine. I want to be clear that by and large, I don’t consider this kind of drinking to be a problem for me and I don’t judge other people one bit for their drinking. Just like food, drinking alcohol is a personal choice and completely subjective to one’s lifestyle choices.

I still love toasting celebrations with champagne, I enjoy wine tasting and mixing a gin cocktail. But, my daily drink habit has been replaced by sparkling water with loads of fresh lime and various delicious teas. This change was triggered by my commitment to reducing my overall intake of sugar (and grains). It never occurred to me that wine is basically sugar water. And not drinking it on the regular has helped contribute to major improvements in my overall quality of life. i.e. I sleep better, I wake up with a clear head and my jeans fit better than they have in years.

The tough part was the initial mind shift and the feeling that somehow I was missing out on some sort of grown up right of passage. I would say to myself, “I’m 39 and I’ve earned the right to drink with my meal!”. And while that may be true, I am making a choice most nights to drink something else that contributes to my wellbeing. That’s not to say that a drink is going to hurt me, but really approaching each opportunity with a sense of choice has helped me to shift my pattern of behavior. Pretty quickly, my taste buds have changed and I no longer settle for cheap booze. If I’m going to have a glass or wine or a cocktail it’s going to be good and it’s going to be worth it. Same with cake, by the way. My standards have gone way up and my life has vastly improved as a result.

The biggest challenge has been what I call the witching hour. That transitional time many of us parents face when we’re scrambling to organize dinner, the kids are doing homework (or not) and you’re trying to shake off your workday. That’s when a touch of panic sets in for me and I really want a drink. That feeling has become a big alert for me to slow down and take a moment to sit with whatever crazy is going on in my head or home. Turns out if I acknowledge the feeling it passes pretty quickly. I’ll usually pour myself a glass of sparkling water in a pretty cup and add loads of lime juice and try to really enjoy it or I’ll brew up a cup of tea and take just a bit of time to check in with myself and figure out what is driving the manic or the panic.

I’m taking the same approach while eating out. Meals out have always been paired with wine for me. And at first, it felt really strange to order sparkling wine or tea with brunch or dinner. Fast forward three months and it feels completely natural. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not swearing off booze. I’m just making it a constant practice to truly check in with myself before I consume anything. Whether it’s a bowl of kale, a glass of champagne or dessert, I quietly ask myself the following. “What will nourish my body, mind and soul in this moment?” Just that simple act of checking in helps me to make wise decisions for myself every single time.

I’m really curious to know how you handle social drinking. Do you have a witching hour, too? Have you found a go-to beverage that feels like a healthy alternative to alcohol?
Ayala's Herbal Water

I attended the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco earlier this week and got to taste some fantastic new teas, coconut waters and some amazing herb-infused sparkling waters. These might just be a complete game-changer in my daily routine. The lavender mint and clove, cardamom, cinnamon were insanely good and I’m not one for flavored water. I think they’d also be delightful with a splash of good vodka – when your feeling mindful, of course! Cheers, friends.

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  • stephanie

    There is definitely a “witching hour” in my house…I am in the same place you are, realizing i need to take a moment and “sit with whatever crazy is going on in my head or my home.” So well said. I’m attempting mindfulness in this area and many others, doing a challenge called whole life challenge. I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater but this challenge has opened my eyes to the idea that I am on autopilot more than I’d like to admit. It’s also showed me what I put in my body has as much an effect on me psychologically and spiritually, as it does physically. I know not everyone is like that. But I am.

    Sorry got a bit off topic there! This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.

    xo Stephanie (little miss spf from insta. =)

    • Estelle Hayes

      Stephanie, it’s so great to hear from you here! Love our little ig community. :) This change to my lifestyle has triggered so many positive changes in my life. The mindfulness just trickles into every aspect of our life, right? I really love not being on autopilot and it makes the occasional cocktail taste so good and feel so special.

  • Jennifer Cooper

    AHHH! This is crazy timing. I swear you and I are so in sync. First, excellent post. Second, I was doing the same thing with the drink in the evening. It became a routine, and it kind of took the specialness out of having a drink.

    Also, and this is full honesty here, I recently started to gain some weight (ahem) after having lost lost 20 lbs over two years ago and I really hated seeing the scale sneak back up. I know that probably sounds vain, but it also has to do with also feeling comfortable in your own skin.

    Anyway, I’m off to see what stores near me have that fancy sparkling water! I’ve been looking for some healthy, non-alcoholic cocktails/drinks. xo

    • Estelle Hayes

      Jen, I hear you and I love that we are on the same page. I have lost some weight since changing my lifestyle and cutting back on the wine. It feels so good and I feel so clear and alert – much less fuzzy. :) I’m going to have to order some of that sparkling water from Amazon since I can’t find it yet around my house. It was THAT good. :)

  • http://torriesessions.blogspot.com/ Torrie @ a place to share…

    i am on the exact same page here. cocktail hour was happening a little too often & starting a little too early. in a way that was mindless & numbing (which i believe, was unfortunately the goal). in the past few weeks, i’ve shifted this dramatically… & the results have been dramatic.

  • http://torriesessions.blogspot.com/ Torrie @ a place to share…

    & ps~ good for you for making these incredibly positive changes in your life <3.

  • meganbrowne

    So does this mean Moet or bust in Hawaii?