Real talk: Since quarantine started, I have been drinking a lot of wine. ESPECIALLY in the beginning, when one of the first things I did was order a case of wine (for curbside pick-up, naturally).
It was kinda like I reverted back to my 20s (circa the era of that accompanying photo).
Today’s big idea is taking an objective, non-judgmental, genuinely curious look at the things we are using to numb out now. 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, be mindful. 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.
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??”
Now, even though I don’t drink coffee (I know, it’s weird, I’ve just never liked the taste—but I love me some black tea with coconut creamer), I get what she meant, because that is exactly what happens with the glass of wine I love to drink.
You know, it’s stress relieving. Delicious. Communal. It’s part of the Mediterranean Diet and why French women don’t get fat, for Pete’s sake!
The problem is that after one glass of wine, the second glass seems like a great idea. And the second glass of wine generally means I wake up at 2 am and can’t get back to sleep for a little while.
In normal times, I try to keep alcohol to the weekends, but these are not normal times. When the coronavirus quarantine first got going, I 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. They help you relax. Make you a little looser. Feel warm in your chest.
But if you start to pay attention, 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 of relaxation and a pleasant flush.
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. 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 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?
If you’d like some help in without NEEDING the wine, the weed, or the whatever, download my free mini e-book “Calm the Eff Down”. It walks you through 21 days of alternate ways of getting to “ahhhhh.”