Mindfulness involves cultivating a present moment of awareness that has no judgment and it can occur in every aspect of our lives.
As January is upon us, I am sure many people will be thinking of creating positive changes to start the year and one that always gets a lot of press is “Dry January”. Instead of only committing to Dry January, can you commit to a year of mindful drinking instead. This 100% doesn’t mean you have to give up alcohol for good, it can mean different things for different people. I share some of my top tips below to help you on your way.
Decide what mindful drinking means to you – whether it’s reducing your intake, replacing your usual drinks for those lighter in alcohol or removing alcohol completely. If your intention is to reduce your alcohol intake, can you set a goal rather than simply saying you will “drink less”? This will allow you to keep track and stick to your goal.
So many of us switch on to autopilot for many aspects of our lives. Whether this is our walk to work – getting from A to B without remembering the details – or simply reaching for that evening glass of wine without even thinking about it. Instead, can you pause and ask yourself, do I need this? Do I even want this? Because sometimes it can become a habit that isn’t actually supporting what we want in life. If we strive to notice these habitual behaviours, we can begin to make healthier choices.
Before you reach for your next drink can you check in and ask yourself if you really want a drink or is something else going on. Drinking alcohol can mask what we are feeling emotionally: anxiety, boredom, loneliness and even hunger. And if it is trying to mask something else, can you turn to another activity that can support you in a healthier way?
One of the key principles of yoga is satya or truthfulness. I find that when I want to change a habit, starting small and realistic works best if I want to succeed. So if you know that cold turkey isn’t going to work for you, be truthful with yourself and set a realistic goal instead. Maybe that is to simply reduce the amount of alcohol you consume, for example, using only 25ml of gin in a G&T, rather than 50ml.
If you’re going to have a drink, enjoy it! Be mindful as you drink it and immerse yourself in the experience – the taste, the colour, the texture, the smell, the way it makes you feel. When we stay in the moment and enjoy what we are drinking, isn’t the experience so much better?
Another key principle of yoga is ahimsa which can be thought of as non-violence, or I like to think of it as kindness. This applies to yourself as much as other people. We are living with a great deal of uncertainty and stress right now, so if you end up drinking more than you wanted on one day, be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up. When we feel angry or shameful at our behaviour it can make us want to give up. So be kind to yourself and see tomorrow as a new day towards mindful drinking.
Bacardi-Martini offers mindful cocktails containing less than 1 alcohol unit and a range of options to fit your lifestyle. If you’re looking for no and low cocktails then try these three options, for no we have the Martini Vibrante non-alcoholic Aperitif Spritz, and for low the La Vie En Rose with St Germain Liqueur or a Mojito Spritz with Bacardi Carta Blanca rum.