Today’s big idea is taking an objective, non-judgmental, genuinely curious look at the things we use to numb out now—whether we mindfully indulge or are obliviously unaware—Like, oh, I don’t know… WINE. Or maybe weed. Or maybe your thing is something else… beer, liquor, pills.
Whatever it is, I’m not here to tell you not to do it. I’m just saying, mindfully indulge. Make it a choice. Why? Because while there’s a time and a place for everything, if you’re automatically choosing to numb instead of feel, it’s gonna start taking a toll.
Listen To The Podcast Here
The other day on Twitter I saw a tweet from Taffy Brodesser-Akner, who writes amazing profiles for the New York Times and also wrote the book, Fleishman Is In Trouble. She tweeted: The first cup of coffee is so good that it encourages the second cup, but the second cup is always bad. Why??
Don’t drink coffee
I Get What She Meant
It reminds me of the glass of wine I love to drink.
You know, it’s stress relieving. Delicious. Communal. Mediterranean Diet!
The problem is that after 1 glass of wine the 2nd seems like a great idea.
And the 2nd glass of wine… generally means I wake up at 2am and can’t get back to sleep for a little while.
In normal times, I try to keep alcohol to the weekends, but there are not normal times. Corona first started, was drinking wine 5 or 6 nights a week. I drink a glass while I’m cooking dinner, and maybe a second with dinner. At first it seemed fun, decadent, helpful.
But lately I haven’t been sleeping as well. And my sweatpants were getting a little tighter. The very thought of putting on jeans is like…unh unh.
I’m not unique here. This is how these things work. They do some good. They take the edge off. And they help you relax. Make you a little looser. Feel warm in your chest.
But if you start to pay attention and mindfully indulge, you realize the thrill of the thought of the glass of wine or the flush of those first few sips are outweighed by the fuzzy memory, impaired sleep, and maybe even regret for what you said/did/how you passed out in your kid’s bed.
Also, wine, or weed, or whatever you use to numb out and loosen up aren’t the only ways to get these feelings.
Alternative Means To Unwind
There are lots of ways to unwind. Touching. Laughing. Breathing. Stretching. Meditating. They can all give you a real nice kind of a ‘high’. The opportunity here is to start to lean more in to these methods that DON’T have unpleasant side effects, so that you can find a better balance. And you don’t have to become dependent on some kind of substance to help you feel like you want to feel. You really have so much agency here to help yourself feel really groovy and even and in the flow… and when you are doing these things you don’t NEED the wine or the weed even if you mindfully indulge. You can save that stuff for when it’s just fun, or truly medicinal. Maybe just a weekend kinda thing, or even just your Friday night jam.
And know this, it isn’t about depriving yourself, it’s about how you mindfully indulge making it so you only ever have the cup of coffee that is perfect and delicious, and spare yourself the disappointment of the second cup. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Daily Tiny assignment
There’s two pieces to this: just for one week, write down everything you do or take or drink to numb out. You can’t change a habit you don’t know you have. Is it four times a week, or five? Or six? Or seven? How much is it? Just write it down somewhere. Maybe on your contact log—the journal of all the people you come into contact with that many governors are asking us to keep. Just to see.
And then, for so that perhaps you reduce that subconscious NEED for the wine or the weed or the whatever, let your breath can come to your rescue and mindfully indulge—or don’t indulge at all.
As you inhale, imagine calm pervading every cell of your body, carried in by your breath.
As you exhale, visualize every iota of angst you’ve got being drawn out of your body where it can evaporate into the air.
Repeat as many times as you like, but know that even one of these breaths—done with intention—can create a noticeable change.
And then, whatever your thing is can become more of a “break glass in case of emergency” moment. I hope it will help you find the level that’s right for you.