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Dry January

So, let’s think about Dry January and why you’re doing it….

Understanding Your Drinking Habits

Do you wake up in the early morning hours recounting the wines the night before, but you get up and function well during the day. You get your workout in, eat a balanced diet, or exhibit other “healthy” lifestyle choices. Other days, you experience wasted mornings and weekends, feeling hungover and angry over little things. Other people don’t often know about these days—they don’t see your sleepless nights, your self-loathing, your racing, anxious mind. What goes on internally regarding your drinking is different from what you present externally.

The Grey Area of Drinking

You’re a long way from rock bottom, but you’re a consistent drinker, most days a glass or so and perhaps more at the weekend. Most people don’t fall into either of those drinking extremes; many people land somewhere between these extremes: in the grey area.

Have you taken a break from drinking at different times Dry January or Sober October? Probably you did it with ease and comforted yourself that you didn’t have a problem with Alcohol. But the trouble is Alcohol is a problem for you. It disrupts your hormones, messes with your sleep. Alcohol is not your friend.

Alcohol’s Impact on Health and Lifestyle

We drink to celebrate, commiserate, the end of the day, Friday, the weekend, a good movie, a bad movie, with friends and without… basically no excuses needed, but a drink is there most days or evening in most households. By being on the drinking carousel, the wine o’clock starts to be a priority at the expense of your mental health.

You probably know people who drink much more than you do. If you talk about it with others, they might say, “You don’t have a problem, why are you worrying so much about this?” Alcohol is your reward at the end of the day. It’s how you have fun, relax, unwind, connect, have sex, and fall asleep at night. Everything in moderation, right?  Grey area drinking can be a slippery slope, and the social pull to keep drinking is strong.

Menopause, Hormones, and Alcohol

As you may have noticed the fallout from drinking alcohol and the symptoms of menopause are extremely similar: brain fog, anxiety, fatigue, night sweats, hormone disruption, weight gain. Alcohol is a hormone disrupter and if you are taking HRT it will disrupt that too. It is slowly messing with you and your life. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis is acceptable and it goes on in most family houses. However, filling emptiness or even happiness with a glass of wine, does not make sense.

So, because hormones are affected by menopause as well as alcohol, and because the brain is affected by hormones, it is imperative that women take responsibility for their brain health and prioritise it just like preventing cancer and any other life-threatening diseases. Your genes are not your destiny, but lifestyle choices are. Alcohol/Ethanol is a poison and is the very same product you put in your car or sanitize your hands with, it is playing havoc with your hormones, HRT and brain health.

The Mental Health Consequences of Alcohol

Alcohol is the cause of many mental health problems, including low mood, anxiety and depression. White wine and Champagne seem to bring on more hot sweats than spirits and Vodka is loaded with Gluten, which could bring on gut and digestion issues also. Alcohol disrupts our quality of sleep and this is a real danger to our mental health and recovery. We need to get 25% of sleep in the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep (REM) and if you are drinking regularly you could be lacking in this quality of sleep.

Regular alcohol drinkers will also suffer with inflammation of the joints and their gut will likely to be too acidic. To achieve an alkaline environment in your microbiome, you need to restrict processed foods and sugar which of course means alcohol.

Making a Change: The Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

Quitting Alcohol is one of the most fundamental life-style choices you could make as a mid-life woman. You will replace it with energy, laughter, joy, freedom and the strength to be whoever you want to be. However, it is not easy to stop on a permanent basis, people will challenge you on it and they will encourage you to join them in a drink. This, of course, is to make themselves feel better about drinking. There is very real peer pressure to drink at every occasion, but if you take the time to notice how it actually makes you feel, then you will find the strength to see what is on the other side. Alcohol and mid-life women don’t mix.

Support and Solutions at M Clinic London

Here at the M Clinic London, we have bespoke packages for Well Aging Integrative Medicine and Therapy. Not only do we hormone test and prescribe HRT but we look at the holistic side of life including talking therapies.

Call us and make an appointment with Lucy it may be the best resolution you make this year.


Lucy Blenkinsopp

Lucy Blenkinsopp

Holistic Coach and Solution-Focused Therapist. Lucy specialises in many counselling and coaching theories. She is passionate about helping people find their way forward and have more fulfilled lives. She has 63 years of lived experience including cancer, divorce, parenting and ‘grey-area-drinking’ and she can help you with all of this and more.

M Clinic London