If you’re a working adult of wine-drinking age, chances are you’ve probably relied on booze to unwind at the end of the day. You know the drill: you pour yourself a glass of wine, cue the Netflix… and before you know it, one glass turns into three.
Let the record show, I’m human too and I love wine. But I know that even though it can help me doze off, it’ll be a poor quality sleep, the kind that’ll leave me tired for the next day (and potentially hungover). Drinking can also worsen depression and anxiety (my arch nemesis), to say nothing of liver and digestive health. Lastly, puffy skin and under-eye bags that no amount of concealer can hide – need I say more?
I have no plans to give up drinking anytime soon, but I do try to reserve my wine-unwinds for social occasions. If I’m feeling anxious or wound-up before bed, here are the six techniques I use to de-stress. If you’re doing the “Dry January” thing, or just want to drink less on weeknights, try these and let me know what you think!
1. Stop Scrolling
The information overload of social media – plus falling into the “comparison trap” while eyeing other people’s seemingly perfect lives – is almost certain to make us feel worse. Instagram is a part of my job, but I log out of the app after work hours, and try not to look at my phone at all.
At first it felt silly, but journaling has become one of the go-to tools in my wellness kit. It’s like therapy, but free! (And you can do it in your pajamas.) I start by writing down what happened that day and then explore [on paper] what thoughts I’m having about the situation that are making me anxious/stressed/angry/sad. Then I see if I can reformulate my thoughts about the situation.
It’s amazing what insights into your own psyche you can gain after unbottling what’s inside. It’s equally amazing how quickly you can change your mood by adopting a new perspective. It doesn’t have to be some beautiful notebook – any piece of paper will do – and you don’t have to keep or even read what you’ve written. The point is to locate the negativity and let that sh*t go.
3. Phone a Friend
Chatting with a close friend or family member has a similar effect to journaling – plus the added benefit of an outside perspective. Talking things out almost always has a cathartic effect because negative emotions are often the result of isolation – and all anyone really wants is to be heard, right?
Asking a friend how they are feeling can also help you get out of your own head and focus on someone else, which can help you feel better, too.
4. Read a Book
Remember books? They’re these things with all these pieces of paper that are bound together, with stories printed inside that are usually pretty entertaining?
I know this sounds like really old-timey advice, but in this day and age where we ignore everything that’s not a screen, I feel like it’s necessary. Much like talking to a friend, getting out of your own head and focusing on an outside narrative can do wonders.
5. Drink Peppermint Tea
The soothing, minty aroma of peppermint is a natural stress-reliever so it’s a great drink to unwind with. If peppermint is not your thing, find something else that’s warm, but caffeine- and sugar-free, to induce that cozy, relaxed feeling.
6. Slather on the Lavender
Right before climbing into bed, I rub some essential lavender oil between my wrists and on my chest. The relaxation is basically instantaneous and helps me fall asleep in record time. I swear by this stuff.