A year ago, my Friday night ritual would look something like the following.
I would spend Friday afternoon at work counting down the hours until the working week finished, and the weekend officially started.
While I really enjoyed my job it wouldn’t stop me from mentally checking out on a Friday afternoon, my thoughts straying to the cold bottle of sauvignon blanc in the fridge.
If I looked at Facebook at any time on a Friday afternoon I’d invariably come across a post or two from friends sharing a funny alcohol-themed meme or picture. Those who were lucky enough not to be working were already posting images of lunch-time drinks or pool-side cocktails.
By the time I switched off the computer and opened the bottle of wine, my anticipation of that first glass would be so high that the very act of pouring the drink would make me feel relaxed.
Was the wine really relaxing me?
Logically I realise that while I thought it was the wine making me feel relaxed, it couldn’t possibly have been as I would feel the tension releasing even before a drop of alcohol entered my bloodstream.
The thought of having a drink would be enough to cause that response.
One large glass of wine would soon be followed by another.
I would then spend the night on the couch next to my partner mindlessly watching something on TV while scrolling through social media.
Often I would fall asleep on the couch only to wake up an hour or so later and drag myself to bed.
The morning after the night before
The next day I would wake up sluggish, hungover and drained of energy. But it was okay – by mid-afternoon I was ready to start it all again.
Fast forward a year and my Friday night ritual is quite different.
If I’m not going anywhere on a Friday night I make sure I treat myself with something relaxing.
It can be as simple as having a bath, complete with aromatic bathbomb, to ease away the stresses of the week. Sitting out on the deck with a good book and a mocktail is another way I unwind.
For you it may be going for a long run, cooking a slap-up meal or watching a movie with your family.
Whatever it is, make sure it feels like a treat for you and helps you to forget about any of the stresses of the week – even if just temporarily.
I now go to bed clear headed and totally relaxed and wake up full of energy ready to take on whatever the weekend holds.
Exposing the alcohol lie
I can’t believe that I was so worried about taking a break from alcohol as I thought that there was no way I would be able to relieve stress and relax at the end of a week.
As it turns out, alcohol is actually a very ineffective way to unwind, and my alternatives are much more effective as well as being so much better for my physical and mental wellbeing.
Just one more alcohol lie that I’m glad to expose.