Changes and Benefits at Week One Alcohol-Free

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We’ve got the tea on changes you might be feeling the first week after going alcohol free, but first: You did it! You stayed dry a week one and that’s huge!

Some might already feel the effects of alcohol leaving or being gone from their systems, while for others not so much. Yet! We are all different, so don’t be discouraged. You’ll get there.

Here are some common changes you may already be seeing or will experience soon:

  • The first few days you may have felt irritable and low-energy. This won’t last long!
  • Sleep could be challenging at first without alcohol to get us there faster (a double edged sword, as it ultimately interrupts sleep). Now is a great time to create a solid bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time each night if possible, shut down electronics, take a warm bath or shower, read or listen to calming music, meditate, drink calming tea and set yourself up for success for the coming days and weeks.
  • By day 4 or 7, your body should be back in action with higher energy levels and focus. Huzzah! Sleep might also be better by now. (If you have struggled with the dreaded 3 a.m. bathroom wake up and anxiety variety show, it has probably stopped, too!) Are you having crazy, vivid, outrageous dreams? You aren’t alone. Just enjoy or ride it out.
  • Your level of hydration is probably back to normal by now, too, since alcohol causes dehydration.
  • You’ve saved calories from not drinking and from not having those midnight taco snacks or greasy hangover burgers. Bonus: You’ve also saved money!

With everything you’ve been through this week, along with the cash savings, you deserve a treat to celebrate! Gift yourself flowers, a new scarf, a trip to the botanical garden, bubble bath or bath salts, a hiking adventure, takeout from your fave restaurant, a yummy candle, fine chocolate or coffee or perhaps some good tea. You do you!

Congrats on slaying week one! How will you treat yourself today or this weekend?.

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So much has happened in just a one week! If you aren’t yet experiencing any of the above benefits, don’t get discouraged. Everyone is different and even if there aren’t visible or noticeable changes, there are immensely beneficial changes going on in your body and brain. Are you curious about what happens in the coming weeks? Read the week twoweek three, week four and week five posts.

Changes and Benefits at Five Weeks Alcohol-Free

What if we told you that abstaining from alcohol for five weeks not only offers seen and unseen current health benefits, but also a few that last?

What if I told you that abstaining from alcohol for five weeks not only offers seen and unseen current health benefits, but also a few that last? That’s right, according to a a 2016 study cited in a December 2020 report by Men’s Health “adults who participated in Dry January found that up to six months later, they were drinking on fewer occasions and drank less when they did imbibe.” It’s no secret that cutting back on alcohol for the long term is beneficial, so to that we say (alcohol-free) cheers! Meanwhile, here are some of the changes and benefits you may be experiencing at five weeks alcohol free.

  • Better sex: Yup. After all, booze is a neurotoxin and it numbs our nerve cells, dulling our senses. By now, you may have noticed an increase in physical sensations and improved performance (sorry guys and gals, alcohol doesn’t discriminate and can cause sexual dysfunction in both sexes). We love following writer, podcaster and “Sober Sexpert” Tawny Lara for articles and information on this topic.
  • More Hobbies: If happy hour, bar hopping and day drinking were your top three hobbies leading up to your alcohol-free break, you’ve probably found (or revisited) activities to enjoy instead of the drinking arts. Or, you’ve discovered that previously-boozy events can still be fun when you aren’t imbibing. Whether it’s getting crafty with your knitting needles, heading out for a hiking or a camping adventure, hitting an art show, biking with friends or catching up over a big Sunday brunch, there is probably a little more variety in your life now that you aren’t spending innumerable hours bellied up to the bar.
  • Increased Productivity: The gang over at One Year No Beer reports that, according to a survey conducted with 725 of the platform’s 90-Day (alcohol-free) Challenge members, 71 percent are more productive. With improved brain function, higher energy and more time, it’s no wonder you are a whirlwind of productivity.
  • Lower Cholesterol: An oft cited 2013 study by published by the staff at the New Scientist indicates that at five weeks, abstainers saw a total blood cholesterol drop of almost 5 percent. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Stabilized Glucose: The same study reported that the “blood glucose levels of the abstainers dropped by 16 percent on average.” High glucose is a factor in Type 2 diabetes. Read more about Type 2 diabetes and the effects of glucose on insulin production from the Mayo Clinic.

So much has happened in just a few weeks time! If you aren’t yet experiencing any of the above benefits, or those covered in week oneweek twoweek three or week four, don’t get discouraged. Everyone is different and even if there aren’t visible or noticeable changes, there are immensely beneficial changes going on in your body and brain.

13 Things to Do Instead of Drinking

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Replacement drinks (aka zero proof cocktails, mocktails, alcohol-free beer and wine) are great and all, but that’s not the only thing to reach for when you are moderating your alcohol intake, or living that #AlcoholFree life.

Some of our tried and true tools are:

  1. Caring for our plant babies
  2. Coffee and tea
  3. Yoga
  4. Getting out in nature
  5. Treats (think chocolate or your favorite dessert — in moderation, of course)
  6. Meditation
  7. Exercise (especially walks and biking, because we think it’s fun, so think FUN)
  8. Journaling
  9. Music
  10. Crafting
  11. A hot bath
  12. Old hobbies
  13. New hobbies

What are you reaching for today instead of wine (or beer or tequila shots)? What new or old hobbies are you exploring?.

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4 Meditation Apps We Love

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Did you know that meditation can help curb cravings? Many people avoid it due to the popular misnomer that to meditate we have to clear our minds of all thoughts. That’s physically impossible, but noting our thoughts is doable and helps with focus and self-awareness, while deep breathing activates our sympathetic nervous system, giving us a sense of calm.

According to the Mayo Clinic the emotional benefits of meditation can include:

✔️ Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
✔️Building skills to manage your stress
✔️ Increasing self-awareness
✔️ Focusing on the present
✔️ Reducing negative emotions
✔️ Increasing imagination and creativity
✔️ Increasing patience and tolerance

Some of our favorite apps are My Life, Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer, which offer countless meditations, courses and more (if you are on a tight budget, Insight offers the most free content of the bunch).

If you can breathe you can meditate! Are you already a meditator? Tell us about your practice or drop your favorite apps in comments. 

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