I bet you have heard a flight attendant give the spiel about the importance of using an oxygen mask on yourself before assisting a young child. Why is that? Because if you can’t help yourself first, you are of no use to anyone else.
That is also true as you question the drink.
It is essential to provide yourself with self-care and self-love. It is okay to be a little self-centered during the initial timeframe when deciding to go alcohol-free. I would even say that it is downright a necessity! Your life and the quality of your life depends on it.
During the first few weeks of moderation or of total abstinence, give yourself a break. Just as a new runner cannot complete a full marathon, you need some time to prepare and build up your new thought cycle.
You are in training.
Don’t expect to be perfect right out of the gate.
Here are thoughts to consider:
- As noble as being self-LESS might appear, right now you need to think of YOU. You need this time to honor yourself with grace and acceptance. It’s not easy to make a decision this big. You’ve been wiring your brain to receive pleasure with a substance that is not serving you. This takes time to rewire and retrain your thoughts. Don’t take on the extra pressure of trying to be perfect. (I am guilty of this one!)
- It’s okay to say NO. Don’t feel guilty about saying no to something that you don’t want to do. This could mean trying the new brewery with your friend that is nagging you to go with her so she can check out the “guy scenery”. If you know you will be uncomfortable, then it’s okay to say NO. Or, how about watching your niece or nephew on Saturday night when you already made plans? Don’t feel guilty! If you want to say no, then say no!
- Move & Nourish – this means exercise, do something that raises your heart rate and releases vital endorphins. Eat healthy, organic foods. The saying, “we are what we eat” is true! Choose to be a leafy green or crunchy sweet apple. Your body and mind will thank you. You already know this one so just do it!
- Journal – write down how you are feeling. The art of putting your thoughts on paper is magical! If you’re not good at writing, who cares!! The journal is for YOU. If you want to “word vomit”, then do it! Feel like complaining? Do it! Just remember to end with something of GRATITUDE. No matter how crappy a situation is, there is always something to be thankful for, even if this means the smell of your ridiculously expensive shampoo.
- Take time off of work. (The best gift you can give yourself is going on a vacay by yourself! It’s the best way to discover who you are.) If you cannot afford to miss a few days of work, consider taking just one day off and extend your weekend. Having “YOU” time is beneficial and necessary. Or just call out sick. I know this is daring. Either way, get a few days to yourself! Consider it a “mental health” day, because it is! Your boss will get over it.
- Meditate – the benefits of meditation are essential to your over well being. There are multiple apps to use (Headspace, Calm, etc). Don’t worry if you are a beginner and don’t know how. The suggested apps will guide you as you learn. Just do it.
Start with what you do know and where you are today. One step, one day, one minute at a time is what you need to move forward. Remember, it’s healthy to love on yourself. It is crucial. Wherever you go in life, there you’ll be. You better get used to it.
- Give yourself a break. No need to be perfect. (Not one person is so you are in good company.)
- Learn it’s okay to say NO.
- Accept that you are” in training”. Expect to trip and fall. Just get yourself back up!
- Take time for yourself and soak in how you are feeling at that time by journaling.
- Nourish your body with healthy food choices. Move that booty daily, even if it’s doing squats while brushing your teeth (okay, that might be a little hard but you get the point).
- Start where you are and GO! If you can, get away for a few days. This will be a much-needed mind retreat.
- Meditate. The benefits are astounding. This practice will literally help change your life.
- You are always going to be wherever you go in life. (aka – you can’t get away from yourself!) This could be either like a pesky fly or an awakening spirit that you love. I’d go with the latter.
While you were surely taught to be selfless, there are times that being a little selfish is needed. Don’t feel guilty. You are deeply loved by your creator. Start with YOU, then you can shine the light that is within you on others.
One micro-win at a time. It is why you were made, my friend.