Updated: Sep 30, 2018
When I hear the old saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb,” I typically reminisce about gluing cotton balls onto a construction paper lamb and putting yarn onto a lion’s mane.
Search that quote on Pinterest; I guarantee you’ll find that 80’s era crafts are alive and well.
The reason I bring up that old trope is because this past summer came in like a big old thirsty lion and thankfully, - due to some mindfulness and less alcohol - went out like a peaceful little lamb.
In June, Amol (the hubby) and I had a full month of travel or hosting guests, which made every weekend a holiday weekend.
Sit on down with your favorite beverage and let Amol and I tell you the tale of #dryjuly.
Now, while we definitely had a blast connecting with family and friends - with all of that socializing comes plenty of adult beverages.
...Every night of the weekend, for the first two weeks of the month.
...Every night of the week, for the last two weeks of the month.
Before the end of the month, we had a few days to reflect on how much fun we had packed into our travels and staycations and made some observations about the effects of all the fun we were having.
We were feeling sluggish.
Our energy was drained.
Our anxiety levels were amped up.
Our self-care practice was struggling.
Our meditation practice was out the window.
Not to mention people at the gym asking,“Where’s Amol?”
After that, we decided that an extended and thoughtful break from “the sauce” was in order.
Thus, #dryjuly was born.
How We Made #DryJuly A Success
When you make a change, friends and family are going to ask, “why?”
They’re going to ask, “how are you doing it?”
In theory, it seemed easy enough, “we’re not drinking.”
It didn’t appear that it was going to be any different than, “we don’t eat meat.”
We had a quick and easy response to why we weren’t drinking. “Dry July.” For one thing, it rhymes - and, on its own, it was enough of an answer for many folks. For those friends (and strangers!) who wanted to know more, they’d ask.
I will say, between the incredulous looks of disbelief, and the smiles and nods of affirmation, it was interesting to see the range of responses this act of “civil disobedience” was getting, especially when you’re at a bar on Folly Beach.
We were accountability partners. Having a buddy to start any new hobby or activity is a great way to ensure you stay committed to what you started...or, you know, when one of us really wants to try that new IPA at Jack of Cups. (I refuse to say which one of us...)
Establishing some checkpoints along the way made the “enormity” of the task feel more manageable. This was less formal than a chart - much to my dismay (#Ilovespreadsheets) - but as the days turned into weeks, a glance at the calendar was a good reminder to know how easy and achievable this goal really was for us.
Sober Observations By the end of the month we were feeling pretty damn good, and not really missing those drinks much. But, I love to push a challenge, so we started #DryAugust.
That hashtag obviously doesn’t have the same ring to it. And even though, we only made it about a week before deciding to raise our glasses again, with #dryjuly’s reset and re-focus, we’ve been able to sustain a better balance.
We may have a drink or two when we’re out with friends, but not always. And drinking at home is less of a habit, which has made its appearance more of an occasion.
So, what did we achieve?
We saved a lot of moula when our restaurant and grocery bills didn’t include alcohol.
Our anxiety was easier to regulate.
Our energy levels went up, and our bloating went down.
Our self-care routines were re-established.
One of the things we were reminded of from this exercise is that staying balanced with our habits and routines requires constant effort. It requires mindfulness and conscious decision making.
Our default response is not always the best response, especially when it comes to our health.
Developing and using tools for self-reflection and change are as important a part of your wellness journey as your physical and spiritual practice.
If you don’t know where you are, how can you know where you’re going?
Self-reflection can also be a really fun way to challenge ourselves to change a routine that is not really serving us.
Want to discuss your favorite local craft beer or talk about starting #DryOctober?
Want to get ahead of the holiday season and get laser-focused on your fitness journey?
Slide in my DM’s or drop me a message in the comments or an email, let’s chat!