Wine, wellbeing and why one glass is not enough

This is a difficult post for me to write (no, not because I’m drunk thank you). The truth is I love a glass of wine or two in the evening. That delicious slosh of shiraz hitting glass after the kids have finally gone to bed represents a little bit of ‘me’ time.

I work hard. I parent hard. I deserve it don’t I?

But recently, I’ve been pouring a glass while the kids eat dinner. Or sipping along to the nightly episode of Octonauts with my 4-year old. My 21-month old yells “mumma wine?” when I reach into the cupboard…

Oh dear.

I’m not saying having a glass or two of wine is a bad thing. Studies have found that red wine is good for your heart and could even contain cancer-fighting properties — although newer studies are refuting this claim (ignore those for now).

But when it becomes an unconscious, and nightly, habit, maybe it’s time to look at why you’re reaching for the bottle. And why it’s so hard to have a night or two off.

Here are a few tips to help keep your wine habit in check.

Identify your wine o’clock triggers
What makes you reach for a drink? A stressful day at work? Kids who won’t go to bed? Money worries? Identify each one of your triggers and be mindful of them before you next reach for the wine bottle.

Find an alternative, positive habit
Rather than having a wine after a bad day, take a walk. When the kids give you a rough time, take ten minutes to meditate when they eventually go to bed. Money worries? Make yourself a cup of tea in a proper cup and saucer. OK, it’s not the same but think about the cash you’re saving by not drinking wine.

Enjoy quality over quantity
I recently bought half a dozen drinkable cleanskin wines that were about $8 a bottle. All six were gone in just over a week. But buy a $20 bottle, and you’re much more likely to have one glass, savour it, and save the rest for another night. Also, don’t buy in bulk. If you don’t have wine in the house, the extra step of going out to the shops might help you have a booze-free evening.

Try not to drink alone
Again, this is a tricky one for me. When my kids are in bed and my husband’s out, there’s nothing better than a glass of wine to accompany an episode or two of Revenge or True Blood… But drinking should be a sociable activity. Regular solitary drinking has been linked to heavier drinking and more alcohol-related problems.

Keep you wine habit in check, but don’t go cold turkey
How many times have you said (usually with a hangover) “I’m giving up the booze” or “this month’s a dry month” then failed within the first few days and felt crap about yourself?

Once or twice eh? Me too.

Try baby steps. Buy less. Commit to an evening exercise class. See if your partner or housemates will cut down with you. Set yourself achievable goals, like three wine-free days a week. Just try not to reward your abstinence with a wine binge! If you lapse, don’t beat yourself up, but don’t give up. Give it another go.

I’m off to grab a coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in months. We’re going to a child-friendly cafe. There will be no wine. The afternoons are easy.

It’s the evening and the already open bottle of wine in my kitchen that will be the challenge. It’s just one night but you know what they say — abstinence makes the heart grow fonder…

I’ll let you know how I go.

How’s having a little less wine been for you. Did it bring the good? The bad? Maybe it brought out the plain old ugly? I’d love your comments. And while you’re here, sign on up to follow Wellbeing bites by email. You have to verify your email after you enter it but I promise your inbox will be happier for it….

*Even too much wine is not enough drawing by Sam Brown, explodingdog

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4 thoughts on “Wine, wellbeing and why one glass is not enough

  1. clealala

    How about the after dinner chocolate addiction, or checking your phone as the last thing you do before going to sleep… That's my little bad habits I'm trying to let go at the moment. A cup of tea instead of the chocolate and reaching for a book instead of my phone. I was at the BHB conference a couple of weeks ago and one of the speaker said: – the “stop doing” list is just as important as the “start doing” list. Indeed. x

    Reply
  2. Bec Cavalôt

    A 'stop doing' list — I like that. I'm also guilty of social media FOMO. (See http://appleadayhealth.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/why-fomo-is-making-us-miss-out-on.html)
    And chocolate is a hard one to give up… But I think the first step is awareness and then simple moderation – just as you're doing. And not beating yourself up when you lapse (I had two glasses of red wine last night after a tough day…) Best of luck with your habit changing clealala!

    Reply
  3. Bec Cavalôt Post author

    Hi Mirna. Thanks. I think I deserve a wine of two too! That may be part of the problem 😉 Sign up to receive WellBeing bites posts: if you’re on a mobile it can be found by scrolling down past the recent posts and it’s under the Older posts link before the search box. If you’re on your computer, it’s on the right hand sidebar at the very top above the search box.
    Looks like you might have found it! Welcome to WB. Good to have you here. x

    Reply

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