ASK CHAR: “I don’t know how to relax at the end of the day. I start out drinking one glass of wine and the glass turns into a bottle. I know this isn’t good or even working for me, but what can I do?”
This is such a common question, especially from women, and I used to come up against this as well. I would love coming home to my glass of wine after a hard day’s work, but at a certain point I outgrew this ritual, and it sounds like you are too. It just didn’t feel like the thing to do anymore.
Alcohol is a suppressant. It is like putting a lid on pot of boiling water. You may not see the steam anymore but it’s there, building up! Alcohol doesn’t get to the root cause of what’s going on.
Our bodies are so smart and are always seeking balance, so it makes perfect sense that we would self-medicate our selves with a suppressant when we are filled with anxiety and tension. But if you want to heal, then you have to look deeper into what is causing the anxiety.
In the end, wellness is the ability to cope with life. I have found much better ways to cope with stress than alcohol.
First, let’s start with The Witching Hour. When my son was a little baby, I noticed that at 5PM, he would start to lose it. Anyone who has a baby knows this. Their tiny nervous systems are done for the day. They have had all they can take, so they cry and get fussy. They can no longer contain their energy. They are over stimulated and tired.
This sounds corny as hell, but that little baby is inside you. 5PM is toddy time, right? At the PaleoFx conference this past weekend, I learned that our nervous systems are processing up to 400,000,000 bits of information in any given moment! So please have some compassion for yourself.
Here are some other things to consider that can help stabilize your nervous system and energy levels during the day, so when 5PM rolls around, you feel like you can handle it!
#1 Go to bed as close to 9PM as possible. I know, no one wants to hear that. It sucks, but it’s the truth. Move with the sun as often as possible. This means when the sun goes down, so do you.
#2 Find time to walk. Even just 30 minutes will do the trick. Walking relieves stress, although almost any movement will do. Breathing gives your liver an internal massage, allowing it to clear stress hormones much more efficiently, and you will feel calmer. Not to mention that studies have shown that the side-to-side movement of our eyes, scanning the ground when we walk, allows our brain to process the events of the day.
#3 What did you eat for breakfast? Remember that alcohol is a sugar. If you start your day with carbohydrates like toast, cereal, orange juice, oatmeal, etc, then you will crave sugar later in the day and that glass of wine is going to look really, really good. Set yourself up for success by having protein and fat for breakfast. Sausage, eggs, butter and bacon will fuel your brain with steady, strong energy.
It is best to avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster at all costs! I mean, think about it, once you get on a roller coaster, you can’t get off, right? So don’t get on.
#4 Eat a serving of animal protein at every meal. The fattier the better. This simple intervention stabilizes blood sugar levels better than anything I have ever seen, decreasing the need for sugar, particularly in the form of alcohol.
I happen to love this recipe for Bangin' Liver for adding more rich, flavorful protein to my diet.
#5 Find your herbal allies. There is a category of herbs called nervines. These help to calm and restore nervous system function in the face of stress. These are some of my favorites:
Passion flower - great for circular, obsessive thought patterns
Kava – a skeletal muscle relaxant that calms the body to calm the mind.
Chamomile – great for winey people (you know who you are)
California poppy – anxiety associated with nerve pain
Schisandra – an herb of emotional containment; fantastic for leaky people who sweat when stressed, cry a lot, and are overly expressive
Milky oats – a very gentle way to restore and calm a tired nervous system
While I don’t like talking about herbs in little sound bites, that’s the best I can do for now! Herbs are an amazing way to bring your best self forward. If they haven’t made it into your life, you’re missing out! Remember that herbs are not just something you take before bed when you want to calm down, but are used to keep the nervous system in balance all day long. To find more in-depth information about applying herbal medicine to your life, click here!
#6 Consider B vitamin and magnesium supplementation. These deficiencies are rampant in our modern world. They are rapidly depleted by stress and our food supply is deficient as well. Eating liver once per week and leafy greens daily will be supportive here. I like Cataplex B from Standard Process. This is a supplement made from food, which is available through licensed health professionals. Natural Calm, found on the retail market, is helpful to boost magnesium intake and to relax.
Any of these suggestions will be helpful to you, but remember the power of synergy. 1+1=3. If you can do two of these things or even all six, watch out world, here you come! Wine will become a thing of the past and you will experience the freedom of vitality!
Also, don't underestimate the power of ritual. Sometimes you just need something to look forward to. For me, I enjoy a kombucha and I like Live Soda for a treat. When I really need to switch gears I make a refreshing Kava Colada!
Drink in Peace!
If you have a question for me about wellness, herbs and nutrition, be sure to reach out HERE. While not every question will make it to the blog, we will respond to every email.
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Please remember that I do not diagnose or treat disease. If you have immediate health concerns, please consult your medical doctor immediately.
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