First things first: I have nothing against a glass of wine. I love a great high quality (and natural) one once in a while, as you all know.
But the act of having a glass every single night (or even Thursday through Sunday, a glass or two), is something that can usually become an automatic habit for people, without a lot of thought. And then it becomes a pattern… and one that can be hard to break. It makes sense, right? It’s an easy reward. A way to “decompress” and let go a little bit, without much thought or effort after a crazy day or week.
Except, this one habit also has more negative effects on your body over time (especially when it comes to sleeping well, not feeling anxious, feeling energized in the morning and having healthy balanced hormones and adrenals).
And, I get it.
We all live very busy & full lives.
We all have intensity, stress and lots of stuff that goes on each day.
And wine (or other cocktails, or maybe for you it’s sugar or processed foods), are the easiest, most widely available substances that are slightly numbing agents. Aka, things we use to try and relax, and disconnect from the day or the chaos in our heads.
It’s also such a socially acceptable thing that most people don’t question it. But then, walk through their days feeling anxious, tired, sluggish and in need of coffee (another substance) to balance it out. All just to feel just “normal” during the day.
So listen, this isn’t a post that’s anti-wine or having a great cocktail. You all know I love those things once in a while, when it’s done intentionally. And when I’m relaxed already, not using it as an escape and savoring the moment with people I love. AND when we’re talking about high quality stuff (aka natural wines, like from my favs at Dry Farm (use the code “simplyrealhealth” for a free bottle in your first order, and from Thrive Market too (use this link for 25% off everything in your first order).
It’s not about extremes or all-or-nothing. Unless that is a healthier choice for you. We’re all different.
So anyways, those three things above are key for me.
But I wasn’t always that picky.
What I didn’t realize was the feeling beneath my desire for a glass of wine (or, insert your favorite relaxation thing here).
We have thousands of emotions every single day, but it’s something that most of us are never taught how to actually feel or identify. This is something I talk about in Simply Real Life: The Method (just open this week for a special fall session!) a lot– how we rarely stop to think about what the actual feeling or emotion it is we’re having.
For wine drinking, it’s usually that our nervous system is craving something calming, relaxing, peaceful and grounding. Aka, what your body is really craving is to calm down & chill out. And once you can identify that, there are actually so many options that do that.
Most of which have only upsides for your body, sleep, anxiety, hormones, adrenals and overall health (not downsides, like a nightly glass of wine or sugary-snack pantry raid).
Here are some ideas to try out next time your nervous system needs to be relaxed:
1. Night walk: does it take more effort than pouring a glass of sauv blanc and sitting on the couch? Yep. BUT, the magic is in the act of doing it: pulling on your sneakers, stepping outside, maybe putting on a favorite podcast or audio book (or embracing silence and outside sounds), taking some deep breaths of fresh air and walking. It doesn’t need to be 4 miles or a crazy pace, but the act of simply moving and being outside (especially in the calm evening hours) is such a game changer for your brain to shut down and relax.
2. Epsom salt bath + face mask + a great book: mmm, almost nothing is better at night, imho. Epsom salt is so good for your skin, joints and muscles, and I love multitasking with a great face mask. You can find some of my salt bath and face mask favs at this brand and save 10% using code “simplyrealhealth” at checkout. If you need a new book, check out my team’s summer book club blog post with 20+ books for every reading type!
3. Cup of tea + a book or favorite show: sometimes I still want something to sip on at night but I don’t want to just default to a glass of wine just because it’s there. Tea helps to calm the nervous system and wind you down for sleep, and I love fennel tea, or mint and ginger mixed at night. Try it with this honey mixed in for a yummy pre-bed treat (save 20% with code “SIMPLYREALHEALTH”).
4. CBD drops: I’m a big fan of CBD in low doses, just enough to help my brain and body calm down after particularly busy or stressful days. I love this one currently, and they do free consultations to help you figure out the right dosage. You can get 15% off with code “simplyrealhealth” at checkout!
5. A guided meditation: sleep ones can be great at the end of an evening, or yoga music while you stretch. You can search and find free meditations on Spotify/YouTube, or find guided ones through your meditation app of choice.
6. Foam rolling, theragun or other muscle release: I’m a firm believer that we all need to stretch more, and there’s something so sacred & calming about stretching/releasing your muscles at night before bed. There are tons and tons of resources online – try searching for free stretches or evening yoga on Pinterest and YouTube.
7. Magnesium: All hail magnesium….. srsly. It’s my fav nightly routine and supplement. This one tiny habit has helped me soooo much when it comes to consistent sleep, feeling calm most days and having great digestion. It’s a wonder mineral, but not all kinds of magnesium are the same. I use this kind the most, but probably wouldn’t recommend it for all people because it doesn’t taste great (aka no stevia or sweetener involved, which is why I like it personally). They do make capsules too which are great for travel or if you’re worried about the taste.
A tip: Look for glycinate or bi-glycinate forms for the best absorption. Other great brands to look at: Seeking Health (which I love and also use often), Thorne and Pure Encapsulations. More on magnesium and my other nightly rituals in my most recent evening routine blog post!
I hope this gives you some ideas for ways to reclaim your calm in the evenings (without needing a glass of wine to do so). Happy relaxing!
Did you hear?! Simply Real Life: The Method is now open for a special Fall session!
Join us for a special pilot run of self-guided SRL (at a lower price than normal) this Fall to re-wire your brain, get out of your own way and finally de-code the signals of your own body, so you can live a more effortlessly healthy life! Doors close this Friday, Sept. 16.
Photo by Carina Skrobecki