I actually wasn’t going to write any more on this topic but have had so much feedback from people on the previous two blogs, thanking me for starting a conversation, for being honest and open about it and telling me they were looking forward to hearing how it goes, I figure I must have hit a nerve. So here I am, OctSOBER done and gaining momentum, but here’s the thing, my birthday is coming up, I love nothing more than a glass (or 3) of bubbles on my birthday, AND we are going on holiday; where a chilled wine or a fruity cocktail would be the daily norm… so what will I do?
I know I’ll be more mindful in any drinking I now do because of all I’ve read, thought and discovered, and honestly what I’ve learnt about alcohol and its effects on me puts me off anyway.
Firstly there have been so many benefits from not drinking - the quality and quantity of my sleep, being more present, less brain fog and anxiety to name a few. It turns out that a lot of the symptoms I was experiencing and putting down to this next phase of life - the mighty perimenopause, were being exacerbated by my alcohol consumption. Brain fog, night sweats, poor sleep, mood swings, concentration, anxiety and fatigue are all well documented symptoms of perimenopause, but introduce a glass or two of wine to the mix and whammy there is a a lot for the body to contend with. The introduction of my Oura ring really confirmed this as it tracks my body temperature and heart rate. Every time I had even one glass of wine (worse so with red wine FYI) my body temperature would rise - hello night sweats, my heart rate would take so much longer to lower and settle meaning it takes much longer to reach restorative sleep and then of course the repercussions of poor sleep roll out the following day - I can’t concentrate, I’m tired, stressed, anxious and grumpy. All symptoms of perimenopause BUT ALL exacerbated by that glass of wine!
Sober October saw me falling asleep quicker, sleeping better and without night sweats. Day times saw less brain fog meaning better concentration, I experienced less anxiety and overwhelm, was less snappy, felt calmer and was more present. All very valid and rewarding reasons to continue this alcohol free journey. It’s interesting though that when I’ve felt anxious, stressed or overwhelmed in the past, I’ve often reached for a glass of wine “to take the edge off” and here’s the kicker - alcohol doesn’t actually help you relax, essentially it slows down the brain so that you temporarily stop caring. There’s a difference, and without the wine, you have to live in those uncomfortable emotions. Remove the wine altogether and there is less need for it in the first place - viscous circle!!
So the first weekend outside of my month of sobriety has seen me not even think about a glass of wine. I’ve been happy with my water bottle, happy to fall asleep with a clear head and even happier to wake up without any of the shit that booze brings. Perimenopause was kicking my butt, but alcohol free Perimenopause is so much more manageable, I honestly wish I'd known this months ago and would highly recommend that if you are in this stage of life you give it a whirl. You don’t have to cut it out altogether but cutting back can reap huge rewards too! Why not give it a try? I would love to know how you go.
Health + happiness