No Wellness Wankery

64: Is alcohol making it harder for you to be healthy?

June 13, 2023 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
64: Is alcohol making it harder for you to be healthy?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Experiencing anxiety can feel like an uphill battle, but what if alcohol is contributing to your anxiety?

Lyndi was diagnosed with clinical anxiety at the age of 21 and has experimented with medication, therapies and habits along the way. But she was fascinated about the disappearance of her anxiety during both her pregnancies. In this episode Lyndi & Jenna share  personal experiences with anxiety and a journey to better mental health.

Lyndi is on a year-long alcohol break, exploring the booming selection of non-choices, and seeing if it is making a lasting impact on her mental health.  Jenna has previously done a similar experiment but with different results. And we love this because as with everything we highlight in this podcast, it is all about personal experimentation and what works for you.

Listen in as we highlight the importance of being mindful of our alcohol consumption and its potential to take the 'spark' out of our lives.

Wanna drink less? Not sure how? Well, we have some news… join the waitlist HERE for first access to resources that'll help you have a healthier relationship with alcohol.

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy

If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Jenna:

Hello, this is the No Wellness Wankery podcast, the Place to Be If you want to know about wellness or wankery or wankery in the wellness world. My name is Jenna D'Apice and I'm joined by the lovely Lindy Hello hello, Hi everyone.

Lyndi:

Today's episode we're talking about anxiety, something I know very well.

Jenna:

Just to kick it right off. A big player in our lives.

Lyndi:

Sadly, i was diagnosed with anxiety when I was 21. I drove myself to the doctor because I just hated my life. It felt exhausting. I was struggling with chronic insomnia, where I'd lie in bed at night for multiple hours. As a result, this is impacting so many different aspects of my life. I went to the doctor and I got prescribed anti-anxiety medication. Now that was when I was diagnosed, but I certainly had moments not moments pretty untreated anxiety for my teenage years as well. I ended up changing schools. I felt like I got bullied. A whole bunch of stuff happened And then for the next 15 years, my mouth says all right, i was living with anxiety and I was trying all different things with my anxiety. So my medication was really important to me. It really did help me get out of a hole and to take the edge off my anxiety, take the edge off.

Lyndi:

Yeah, so I could actually start to learn those habits and mental things that would make me feel better. I saw a psychologist. I saw multiple psychologists. Each person kind of gave me something else to help with my anxiety. I became really aware of my thinking patterns when I was doing faulty thinking, black and white thinking, catastrophizing and got to a point where I was really good at actually identifying those faulty thought patterns. And here I was, got pregnant with my first child and somehow my anxiety went away. After having more than a decade of anxiety I was like, oh, this is how other people live, This is so nice, So you just didn't feel it at all.

Lyndi:

No no, no, lying a better night, beating myself over something I said, no, replaying my life's worst moments, no, social anxiety, none of it. Which I thought was really interesting And I think it's important to note that I do have social anxiety. That's clinically where I lie, and I was like this is delicious, can I be pregnant forever? And a few months after my son was born, the anxiety came back. The theory at the time was okay, this was a pregnancy related thing, that when I'm pregnant I am just anxiety free and it's a hormonal thing. Yeah, okay. Then I felt pregnant again with my second child And, what do you know, the anxiety went away. And this one, I got a little bit curious because I was like, yes, i am pregnant, but also when I'm pregnant, i'm not drinking alcohol. And that was kind of a bit of a light bulb moment where I was like maybe it's the alcohol.

Lyndi:

And it was a scary kind of thing to go. Okay, this thing that I like doing and as a part of my life, maybe causing or contributing partially to my anxiety, am I willing to experiment to see what it's like without it?

Jenna:

Yeah.

Lyndi:

And that's where I am now.

Jenna:

So how are you feeling now? How long has it been since you've had your little girl?

Lyndi:

So she's almost three months old. And you haven't drank that whole time And I still haven't drunk alcohol And has the anxiety come back? No, yeah, it's really interesting, and I know it's very early for me to be like I'm cured because I'm not cured. What I noticed, though, is that it's been a year without alcohol. If I think back to growing up, i can kind of pinpoint where my anxiety started.

Lyndi:

When you started drinking alcohol And I think there is an interrelationship between. that is around 16, 17. And once again I was like it's hormonal. I'm becoming a teenager. Of course I'm hormonal and this is why I have anxiety. But also I was drinking alcohol And I think for many years I was thinking well, I don't have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol because if I have one drink and I want to stop, I can or I'm not binge drinking. and the times where I definitely was binge drinking, who am I kidding? Yeah, But recently between my children, I was maybe having a glass of red wine at night or what go on the weekends and maybe I'd have like a gin and tonic and then a glass of Wine. so I'm not talking about excessive amounts of alcohol which I just still included in your life.

Lyndi:

Yeah, things that I think are very socially accepted amounts of alcohol, but it was definitely something that was happening pretty regularly. What I found when I fell pregnant is that each month that I hadn't had alcohol, i was feeling better and better and better, and I kind of think that it's a cumulative effect as well. So I'm just running this little experiment at the moment. I'm going to continue to not drink alcohol. If my anxiety just comes and wax me in the face again And I'm still not drinking alcohol, then I think, okay, cool, then I can reassess and maybe this hunch isn't right. But when it comes to managing anxiety, mental illness, i think there are so many different things that can impact us.

Lyndi:

I'm also at the point now where I Have the thought tools. So when you notice a thought coming into my brain, i'm practicing that stuff I learned through going to the psychologist and then I'm kind of diffusing it and, as a result, it's, it's not impacting me. But I tell you what I don't have. You know, you know you drunk alcohol and then you wake up the next morning you have anxiety. Yeah, zero anxiety. I'm not going to get into all the research behind it, but if you think about it, alcohol is a depressant Yeah, it is. It funds immensely. I know you feel really high and happy when you do have it, but the the the outcome is like the general whole is that it is going to give you a have a depressive impact on you over the long term, and I think that's what I was impacting. I certainly have a lot more stability in my mental health since I'm not drinking alcohol And I think there are a few things that I'm doing.

Lyndi:

Firstly, because This is a choice to not drink alcohol, i don't feel like I'm missing out. I don't feel FOMO when people go Oh, do you want to drink again? No, really choosing not to drink alcohol because I feel so much better without having it. I also realized I can still be fun without alcohol.

Jenna:

There's so many Other options. Now, i'm big into the mocktails, are you? because I think every time I In the past I was not drinking, it's because I was trying to lose weight, so therefore I just had to sit there with my glass of water or Something else the lowest possible calories of all time and then you feel like you're missing out something chronic and It's. You have a terrible time. It's a double miss out. Yeah, it's gross. Whereas now, if I'm going out and I don't feel like drinking, i have no problem with having two fun mocktails because I'm not worried about, oh, the sugar or the juice or any of that stuff, and I still have fun.

Lyndi:

I think that's a huge win and I think that's a very important Barrier to jump over before you can start to embrace embrace this kind of way of living.

Jenna:

Because I feel like my experience with it is kind of the same as yours but kind of a bit different, because I so About a year ago, i I've always had anxiety as well, but I've gone through. I probably got diagnosed first maybe when I was like going through the HSC, which is like our end of school exams, and They put me on anxiety medication. But I was the same. There's so many factors. They thought it was because I went on the contraceptive pill. So then I went off the contraceptive pill and all of these things and then I wasn't on medication for a long time. And recently, about a year ago, i started again and I Had a good chat with my psychologist before I was talking, before I started, and She just mentioned like it is alcohol is a depressant and you know I got to start taking this anxiety medication.

Jenna:

Where does alcohol fit into that mix? and I was like you know what? I will just give alcohol a miss Like until I get started on the medication, see how I settle in. And then, like six months had passed and I still hadn't been drinking, and then it was almost a year and I hadn't really drunk anything really and I I didn't feel as different, as I thought I would.

Lyndi:

Anxiety-wise.

Jenna:

Yeah.

Lyndi:

So there wasn't that much difference.

Jenna:

There wasn't that much difference And I think I felt so much better anxiety-wise because I wasn't drinking or having anxiety or spending lots of money on drinking or wasting my weekends being hungover which I didn't really do that much anyway. But I was saying to the psychologist it's like I'm so, it's so strange that I feel like I'm doing all these things, i'm not drinking and I'm moving more, and I'm still feeling anxious. So then it's like then I'm going into looking and other options. So it's like I feel like I had placed so much emphasis on I'll stop drinking and then all my problems will be solved.

Lyndi:

I like this perspective because it's like you could stop out drinking alcohol and your anxiety could be worse than ever.

Jenna:

Because I think there's so much of it in, especially with dieting and mental illness. You're always just looking for the golden key that's going to solve all your problems And you're like this is it. I've got it. And then, when you're doing that, you're like oh, why do I still feel anxious? Because sometimes, yes, obviously alcohol was making my anxiety worse, but probably for me, it wasn't the root cause of it, So it's not going to make it go away.

Lyndi:

I really like this perspective. All we're doing here is we're doing experiments.

Jenna:

You're testing.

Lyndi:

You did your experiment, You found listen, it didn't really have a huge impact. I also think all these things are all cumulative. So, it's like all these little micro adjustments are going to have an impact on whether or not you feel anxious or not, And if you go through a really hectic time in your life, you're going to feel anxiety even if you're doing all the things Exactly.

Jenna:

You're still going to feel those moments of overwhelm, even if you're doing all the things. But I will say, anxiety aside, my life is definitely a lot better without drinking that much.

Lyndi:

Yeah, why do you say that?

Jenna:

I just think, even if you have a few drinks on a Saturday night and I'm the same, i'm talking like, not binge drinking amounts, just like a few drinks You still feel a little bit hazy the next day. It just takes the edge off your spark. And then we work so hard and we do so much stuff and then you get two days off a week and you don't leave them to the max. It feels a bit of FOMO, isn't it? Yeah, just from, not from you, don't you never go out on a night out and you drink heaps and you're like oh, i love that I did that and I love that it made me feel bad the next day.

Lyndi:

No one ever does that?

Lyndi:

Let's talk about things that are actually helping, proactive, tangible things that are helping me not drink alcohol. If anyone is curious about what this looks like and how to do it, one of the things I'm doing is I do have, as you said, the mocktail non-alcohol alternatives, which is a huge booming market because of this. There are so many good ones, delicious ones, so I have the ones that taste like all the cocktails and anytime we're friends over and they're all drinking, i just pop one of those open and I feel like, great, i'm part of it.

Jenna:

No, one knows, No one knows. I love the non-alcoholic beers. They're really nice. Oh, yes, I really like those, And I also find that we have like in our cupboard like a because a bottle of like non-alcoholic spirits and you can still make fun cocktails and have the experience of doing things fun, shaking it up, doing everything you normally do.

Lyndi:

There's no alcohol, yeah, and it's so much more affordable. I just want to throw that out there as well.

Jenna:

Yes, because you don't. you have like two non-alcoholic drinks and you're like, oh, i'm done. Yeah. Whereas if you've had two alcoholic drinks, then you're like oh, this is just the beginning If I'm out at a friend's house and they offer everyone a drink and I want a non-alcoholic.

Lyndi:

I'm not alcoholic option, but I don't know what they have. I will just ask for a glass of tonic water. That makes me feel like I'm having a gin and tonic. Yeah, But I'm not and I really don't need the gin, and it just ticks a box. I can't tell you why it is, It just does Yes.

Lyndi:

And my barrier at the moment, I think, is that I typically would have shared a bottle of wine with my husband And now I talked to him about it and I was like I don't want you to feel like you're missing out because I'm making this change in my life. He's like, well, it doesn't matter. So he's just maybe I hope he's not drinking more alcohol because I'm drinking less. That's not really the goal, But I think talking to your partner or your friends about it, because I was kind of sad that we have to have those conversations, but the norm is to drink alcohol and not drinking is the exception. So having those conversations, especially if it's making you feel a bit anxious about making this change, it shouldn't be a barrier to you experimenting and becoming curious.

Jenna:

This is it With changing your relationship with alcohol and drinking less. It's mainly just difficult. The bar is in socializing Yeah, because there's a lot of things that same. It's like you go To lunch with a friend and you'd normally split a bottle and then you're I don't feel like drinking. The other person's like, oh okay, We're not drinking.

Lyndi:

It's changed as the whole Vibe yeah, and you know I've listened to a lot of stuff around this and sometimes they talk about Needing to find different friends as well. You know, let's say you do have certain friends and what you do is you get really drunk together. That's that is tricky, to still be doing that. And maybe, in addition, you need other friends who you go for Other activities with or it's not surrounded by alcohol, and I'm sure of a friend a friend We should understand if you're not correct.

Jenna:

But this is the thing probably why you felt it's so easy when you're pregnant, because no one puts pressure on you or Things less of you, not things less of you. But doesn't think you're not fun. There's sober pregnant person at a party is a great time, but you can also be the sober non-pregnant person and be just as much a great time.

Lyndi:

I think so. I think what someone's also pressuring you to drink alcohol.

Jenna:

It's more about their relationship with alcohol than it is, and they don't want to be doing it by themselves.

Lyndi:

Exactly so. The peer pressure comes from their insecurity, and let's not let that impact us.

Jenna:

But it's a big topic and I think so much of what we've say in all of these episodes and the entire podcast. It's just about experimenting what feels good for you. Maybe you're fine with alcohol. It doesn't impact you. You could have a glass of wine every now and again or have some drinks on the weekend and you don't feel anything. Maybe you do.

Lyndi:

Yeah, let's just run little experiments to find out. I also just want to throw out the idea of previously. My Experience with alcohol is thinking well, if people would do these things, they go dry July, right, so we don't have alcohol for a whole month, and then what I'd see happen is they binge drink come Come first of August. Yeah, and I was like this isn't really creating much of a healthy.

Lyndi:

No, so I'm not interested in that. I'm not interested in this binge all or nothing kind of approach to alcohol. So, finding where balance looks like for you and maybe it's not drinking any alcohol, maybe it's having a little bit but just trying to become curious about that. I don't feel restricted at all, i don't feel like I'm missing out and I think that's what's really key about this. I will keep you posted because it is only three months. My hormones are certainly still Regulating after being pregnant, so I could still just be in that pregnancy haze, but it's not just me who experiences this reduction in anxiety from cutting out alcohol. So if it's something that you want to consider, think about in addition to doing a whole host of other things to help improve your mental health, i think that's a good idea.

Lyndi:

Anyway, everyone, thanks for listening. If you're keen to share your story with me on the podcast so that other people can benefit from our collective knowledge, i'd love to hear from you. Please reach out. You can send me an email hello at lindycoancom, or reach out on Instagram at nude underscore nutritionist, and think about it. You can get some free advice and help a whole bunch of people at the same time. Would love to hear from you. Thanks listening.

Alcohol and Anxiety for Lyndi
Changing Relationship With Alcohol for Jenna
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