Just Empty the Bins

This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.

To read other posts in this series, simply scroll down past this one.

We all know that what we do on a Sunday can hugely influence
the week that follows.  Dedicate some
time to preparing for Monday and we often reap the rewards all week, everything
from time and money saved to stress avoided.
Have a Sunday where that kind of preparative work isn’t possible and we
can feel the ripples for days, whether it’s because we have to buy our lunches
out or because by Wednesday we find ourselves rummaging in the laundry basket
for a pair of socks that we can reasonably wear again.  

Trouble is, those Sundays when we don’t have time to calmly
do weekday prep are often the best ones!
Part of the joy of weekends is being able to step away from to do lists
and schedules – having the freedom to be out for the day on a whim, anything
from a last-minute trip to lunch with friends that runs on into the
evening.  No-one wants to be the person
who leaves early or forgoes an invitation because they have to do their ironing
on a Sunday night.  

Even if we don’t go out or have anything in particular
planned for our Sunday, that doesn’t mean we want to dedicate all the time to
gearing up for the week ahead.
Relaxation and downtime is hugely important.  I truly believe Albert Schweitzer’s statement
that ‘If
your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan
’ – although I also believe
that this kind of Sunday nourishment for the soul can take many forms, whether
it’s going to church or playing with your kids or curling up with a cup of tea
in bed in the morning.  Sundays often
give us the chance to take time in a way that feels impossible on the other six
days of the week.  We don’t want to
sacrifice that at the altar of ‘getting organised’, which is probably why even
when we have the opportunity on a quiet Sunday evening to prepare for the week
ahead we don’t do so.  

So we face a dilemma: we want the benefits of time spent
preparing for the week without feeling like we’re surrendering a precious day
of the weekend in order to do so.  How do
we get around this?  I think I have found
an answer…

I have read enough women’s magazine and self-help advice
over the years, and seen innumerable Instagram and blog posts on this topic, to
be able to create a ‘Fifty Ways to Prepare for Your Week’ article off the top
of my head.  Actually, I could probably
list one hundred actions you could take.
All would no doubt be useful in some way, but the list would make you
either want to punch me or simply refuse to do anything next Sunday except lie
on the sofa watching repeats of Storage
Hunters.  

My solution?  Just
empty the bin(s) in your kitchen.

Emptying the kitchen bins is a small, discrete task that
doesn’t take long but somehow gives you a sense of huge satisfaction.  Let’s face it, there’s nothing more depressing
on a Monday morning than going to chuck something away only to discover that
you can’t cram anything else in there – and it smells – and suddenly you’ve got
bin juice on your clothes – and that’s it, the most hellish start to the week
imaginable.  

So if you do nothing else, just empty your kitchen
bins.  

Feel calm, in control and like some kind of domestic goddess
for the absolute minimum effort possible.
Then if you feel energised into doing some other preparative bits too,
then go ahead.  You know what would work
well.  You know the kinds of actions that
make your week run more smoothly, whether it’s time to write in your journal or
complete your planner, making a batch of dinners to freezer for the evenings
ahead, or ensuring that the kids have done their homework before 6pm so there’s
time to chill before bed.  I like to make
sure there’s no ironing lingering.

But if not, then at least you’ve got nice empty bins to
start the week.  And tell me that doesn’t
feel a little bit good?

What about you?  Do
you have a routine for preparing for the week ahead – or do you just take it as
it comes?  If the latter, is that a
conscious choice or would you prefer to take a different approach?  If you’d like to share with me then there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).

This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.

To read other posts in this series, simply scroll down past this one.

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Now Wash Your Hands

This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that
began, you can
click here for the opening post.

To read the first post
in the series, you can
click here.

One of the things that irritates me most in life are the
signs on toilet doors that instruct ‘Now wash your hands’.  To be clear, I mean irritate, not full-blown
annoyance; I’ll reserve that for more serious and significant matters than
this.  Still these signs are one of life’s
bugbears.  I’m no rebel (eating a chocolate
bar not purchased on the premises whilst in a coffee shop last Monday made me
feel naughty, even though I had bought a drink from them), but being given this
instruction makes me want to refuse.  I’m
almost tempted to feel a bit gross and potentially spread nasty germs around
simply because the condescending tone irks me.

This urge to not wash my hands when I see these signs runs
completely counter to my general attitude to the issue.  I am a big fan of handwashing.  I am also aware of how facile that statement sounds,
like a glib quotation from a celebrity lifestyle advice, but hear me out on
this…

I’ve found that handwashing is a great little mind-trick in
all sorts of situations.  I allude to
this in my previous post about resetting
your day
, where I list it as one of the steps to help you start over when
things aren’t going well.  Even without
the other actions, though, handwashing can have an affect beyond the obvious
one of hygiene.  

Cleanliness is undoubtedly part of it.  Even though many of us don’t get our hands
particularly dirty in the course of day-to-day life, it can be surprising how
good it feels – how clean – if we wash our hands after doing an activity.  I first noticed this when I started regularly
doing a long commute in my car.  Often
when I got home, I’d be seized by a strange urge to thoroughly clean my
hands.  Immediately some of the fatigue
and stress from the journey would evaporate.

The metaphorical aspects of this are pretty obvious.  If you’ve been doing something challenging
then you get a sense of washing it off yourself, rinsing yourself clean of the
issue, or sending the problem down the sink.

There’s also a meditative element.  Consciously choosing to wash our hands provides
a few moments where we can simply be present with the task itself, give it our
attention and focus.  Just let the water
flow, rub our hands, lather the soap, rinse it off.  Even if meditation doesn’t appeal to you,
consider trying this next time you need a bit of timeout.

Finally washing our hands is a natural demarcator.  Think of all the timeless activities that
involve handwashing at the start, end or both: preparing food, for instance, or
changing a baby’s soiled nappy.  This way
of marking opening and closing can be applied to anything in our lives; try it
whenever you have something you wish to begin or complete.

As you go
about your days, look out for any times when a good wash of your hands might be
just what you need.  Maybe you’ve been
snapping at your kids and just want to stop doing it.  Maybe you’ve been worrying about a problem at
work but know there’s nothing you can do until you go back on Monday.  Maybe a throwaway comment from a friend just
really pushed a button.  In all these
situation and more, it could be the simplest technique for letting go and
moving on.

Let me know how get on if you! If you’d like to share with
me then there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).

 This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that
began, you can
click here for the opening post.

To read the first post
in the series, you can
click here.

Why You Should Always Carry Stamps

This post is part of my
‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.

To read the first post in the series, you can click
here
.

Today I will be taking a walk up to the Post Office to
purchase postage for a large letter.  I
don’t quite know what size qualifies as ‘large’ for Royal Mail in the UK as
this is a fairly new category, but I think it’s some combination of size and
weight.  Anyhow, I know that my A4
envelope requires a different kind of stamp than is usual.  I don’t really mind making a special trip but
it is a bit irksome when I have four perfectly good regular stamps in my wallet
already.

I always carry stamps.
As with yesterday’s favourite
mug habit
, I’m not exactly sure when this began.  It goes back at least to 2008.  It was around that time a friend lent me a
book (I think it was Sam Gosling’s Snoop: What Your Stuff Says about You)
where the author asserts that the world is divided into two kinds of people:
those who always carry stamps and those who don’t understand why anyone
would.  I definitely identified with the
former.  

My teeny tiny A Life
Of One’s Own
tip for today is therefore the suggestion that you get
yourself a book of stamps and carry them in your wallet.  As there’s no expiry date with postage, it
doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to use them, but when you’re
eventually down to one, buy another book before you run out.  Then repeat.

Why?  

Firstly to help yourself.
Now that electronic communication has reduced levels of mail, we may not
use stamps as much as we used to, but often when we do need them it is for
something urgent or important: the birthday card that needs to be in today’s
collection, the bank form that has to be with them by tomorrow.  Now think about the nearest pillar box in
relation to your home or workplace.
Wouldn’t it be easier if, rather than having to go to a shop that sells stamps
first, you could lay your hands easily on what you need and pop the item
straight into the post?

If that alone doesn’t convince you (and why wouldn’t it?!),
a second reason to always carry stamps is in order to connect with others.  There are two aspects to this.  It is in part about communication via
mail.  Maybe you’re out somewhere and see
a funny postcard that instantly makes you think of a particular friend or
family member; if you have a stamp on you then sending it to them seems much more
straightforward than if you have to factor in getting postage too.  Likewise when you hear some big news or an
announcement.  Whether it’s passing an
important exam, an engagement, a birth or a death (or remembering a birthday at
the last minute!), having one less step in the process makes buying/sending less
hassle.  Carrying stamps opens up more
opportunities for you to connect with those you care about, recognising and
celebrating the important moments in their life.

The other aspect of connecting with others is the giving of
stamps.  We’ve all said to people around
us ‘I need to get a stamp’, and we’ve probably all asked or been asked if we
have a stamp.  It’s up there with the ‘Do
you have a light?’ appeal between smokers.
In a way, the two function similarly, albeit stamps posing less risk to
your health.  If the request can be
fulfilled, a moment of connection is forged.  The person receiving is grateful because
without that, their object (the cigarette or the piece of mail) is
useless.  It cannot function without the
other element, be it the light or the stamp.
In the case of the latter, you’ve also saved them time and possibly hassle.  

As the giver of the stamp, you’ve just helped someone out
for very little cost (in fact no direct outlay, as you’d bought them anyway)
and no inconvenience at all – they were already in your wallet.  You’ve done them a favour, made their day a
little easier.  That’s a good
feeling.  It may only be fleeting but
aren’t most experiences in this life?  

Grab opportunities to connect as much as you can.  Buy stamps.

What about you?  Do
you carry stamps?  If you don’t then has
this post encouraged you to buy some?
Who knows what opportunities it will facilitate!  If you’d like to share with me then there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).

This post is part of my
‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.

To read the first post in the series, you can click
here
.

My Favourite Mug

This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week – to read how that began, you can click
here
for the opening post.

I’m not sure when the ‘favourite mug’ thing started but it
was certainly a thing by the time I worked in an office aged twenty-one.  In that instance, I became particularly
attached to a red McVities mug designed to look like a packet of their
digestive biscuits.  I didn’t realise how
attached a colleague proudly placed it on my desk after it was her turn to make
the tea one afternoon: ‘I like that mug’, I said; ‘I’d noticed’, she
replied.  

Some years later, a counsellor asked me to tell her
something about myself and the first thing that came to mind was that I like to
have a favourite mug.  I elaborated
somewhat and she said it was one of the most lovely things anyone had ever
shared with her.  This perhaps overplays
it somewhat as there’s nothing elaborate or particularly special about it.  What it is: wherever you regularly have hot drinks
(home, work, round a friend’s), select which of the available mugs that you
like the best.  Whenever you are there,
try to use that mug or request your drink in it.  Not even any need to go out and buy a new one.  You could if you wanted but it’s by no means
necessary (I haven’t purchased a mug myself since the mid-1990s; it was from The
Body Shop, purple with a yellow elephant and the slogan ‘Now you see us – soon you
won’t’).  

What’s the point of this?
There’s no great mystery or power to it.
All you are doing is drinking from a mug that you have decided is your
favourite amongst those available.  Yet
strangely that becomes almost talismanic: there you are with your favourite mug
again…and again…and again.  Like slim
golden thread weaving its way through your life, there’s a sense of continuity
but also of valuing your own preferences and idiosyncratic choices.  For many of us, particularly women, asserting
our desires can be difficult in a world where we don’t always trust that we
have the right to choose.  This can be
visible at the most profound level (abortion) to the most mundane (to have
dessert or not?).  Favouring a particular
mug is like practising using a muscle, testing it out so it gets stronger –
strong enough to face tougher choices too.

Even if not, you have an inanimate but intimate friend to
accompany your days.  Back when I worked
in that office, the cherry red McVities mug sat beside me on the boring days
and good days too; the day we read from the book box and the one where we had
an over-catered (and overwatered!) Christmas party; on the day we were made redundant
and many forgettable days in between.   I remember it as fondly as I remember the
colleague who placed in on my desk that maybe-Wednesday afternoon.  And that is why, my friends, having a
favourite mug is a small but beautiful thing to have in your life.    

What about you?  Do
you have a favourite mug?  If you haven’t
then has this encouraged you to adopt one?
It could be the start of a whole new relationship!  If you’d like to share with me then there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).

To read how the ‘This
is my real life’ week began, click
here
.

This is my real life: a week of sharing

This morning I found myself hosting an unexpected party in my
own head.  I was a reluctant host, as the
guests that showed up (or perhaps I should say gatecrashed) inside my mind were
pretty much every doubt and demon I’ve ever had.  I rolled from side to side in the vague hope
of returning to sleep but the cacophony was too loud.  The work-related gremlins were particularly
raucous.  They launched a two-pronged
attack, trying to undermine me on both a micro level and a macro one.  This ranged from ‘If you can’t think of a
title for the blog post you’ve drafted then that is a sure sign it’s total
rubbish and should never be read by anyone ever’ to questioning even the
possibility that I can forge a career path that allows me to combine being a
historian and a life coach (the fact I’ve been doing so for the last eighteen
months did nothing to quell this fear, because of course rationality has no
role when you’re in this kind of mindset).

These cunning tricksters then launched a new offensive, one
that played on some of the uncertainties I carry round even when I’m in the
best headspace.  ‘Is anyone even bothered
about what you have to say?’ loomed large, closely followed by taunts of ‘Who
do you think you are?’ and ‘Why do you think anyone would trust you enough to
pay you to help them?’ (again, the fact that people *have* paid for my coaching
services was conveniently left out of this reasoning).  This was quickly followed by a resume of all
my solopreneur weak points.  Technology
topped the list (*still* cannot figure out how to get comments enabled, thus
failing Blogging 101).  Next came marketing;
‘You’re too embarrassed and awkward and British to ever promote yourself
effectively’, the mocking voices rang in my ears (You know it’s bad when your
nationality – a chance of birth – is used against you by yourself).  My commitment
to getting support with these areas (Susannah Conway’s The Inside Story and
Sas Petherick’s support for
coaches
have both been, and continue to be, super useful) again summarily
dismissed out-of-hand.

In the face of this self-created onslaught, I decided to be
gentle with myself.  I write that
sentence as if it were the most obvious statement in the world, whereas it
actually represents a complete 180 degree turnaround from my typical
approach.  Previously I’d have actively
joined in with the berating and allowed the day to descend into a quagmire of
self-recrimination and wallowing inaction.
However I’ve come far enough in my own journey (wow, I got to 433 words
before I used that cliché!) to know that there were other options available to
me.  So I chose gentleness.  

The photographed list shows the form that took.  My soul already soothed as I got into that
hot shower, an idea came to me.  ‘I need
to share this truth of myself.  I need to
share my feelings about this morning’, I thought, ‘because this is me and my
life.  This is my real life’.  

As I stepped out of the bathroom excited about the emerging
vision that was stirring within me, I was greeted by the glorious stream of
light coming through the door (pictured at the top).  I took this as a sign, confirming that the ‘This is my real life’ whispering was one
to listen to.  I knew I had to capture
this moment to share as part of this idea – complete with the debris of last
night’s Chinese takeaway hanging on the door handle, because that is my real
life too.

So what is ‘This is
my real life’?

Every day for the next week, I will share a short blog post about
an idea or action that I’ve found useful since rebuilding my life after my
breakdown in late 2007.  Like Brené Brown, I had a breakdown
spiritual awakening.  Since then, I’ve been incredibly
self-conscious about life and how we live it, trying to observe and document
and refine in order to create a way of being that felt truly right for me.  Indeed, that is how the whole A Life Of One’s Own concept came about.

Some of what I’m posting you may have seen before if you’re
a regular reader.  Other tips will be
new.  All will be small steps that are
easy to incorporate into the life you already have.  Alongside these daily posts, I’ll be sharing
other aspects of my real life on social media.
These will be unedited glimpses into how I live.  They’ll be things that either feed into the
useful and soul nurturing stuff or, conversely, things that strike me as amusing
because they don’t fit into the image that I (and I’m sure others) have in my
head of how a life coach’s life is.  The
imperfect, the undone, the unfinished – they’ll all feature.

The purpose of ‘This is my real life’ is to give an insight
into my A Life Of One’s Own philosophy
and how I practice that in real life – and I truly mean real life.  There will be mundane
stuff involved, although I prefer to use the term quotidian (from the French
for daily) as it is in our everyday existence that our life happens.  Making changes on that level can be hugely
powerful because that is where we live in our real lives.

‘This is my real life’ is also about authenticity on my
part.  I’m not some polished shiny guru
type figure.  I’m a slightly plump
thirty-something living in the suburbs of a somewhat boring town in the English
Midlands.  I’m trying to juggle my
existing career and this fledgling life coach practice.  I know I’m a bit prone to publicising the odd
moments of vague glamour that I’m fortunate to have come my way whilst tucking
away the more humdrum elements of life in a box marked ‘Do not share because
you are your brand and you have to behave like you are A Brand’.  So this week turns that on its head.  Here I am in my real life.  All of it.

I fear that as a result of this you’ll think I’m rubbish, or
worst still, ordinary (as a coach but
also as a person too).  I also fear that
no-one will actually read any of this (and because I’ve still not figured out
enabling blog comments can only rely on social media or email feedback to learn
otherwise. I do have analytics, but that seems to indicate that every reader is
a spambot hence I refuse to believe it.  That can’t be true, can it?!).  

Actually, my biggest fear is that no-one will read this followed
then by the worry that you’ll think I’m
rubbish and/or ordinary.  However I hope
the opposite is true.  I hope the spirit
in which ‘This is my real life’ is shared resonates with you, and that you find
it inspiring and useful (perhaps amusing too).
I also hope that it nurtures a bond between us – that you’ll feel you
know me more, that you’ll trust who I am and what I am trying to do with my
work.  Then, if and when the time comes
that you need support and encouragement, maybe we can coach together – because I’m
sharing my real life and I’d love to share in yours too.

Look out for the first ‘This is my real life’ post later
today, and for social media sharing too.
If you’d like to share with me then (seeing as the comments don’t work!)
there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).

Reset – your day or anything else

In some ways, post –
particularly the last part about resetting your day – is a natural counterpart
to my previous reflection, My
Start of the Week Epiphany
.  Both
emerge from that sense of feeling behind, of not having made enough progress,
being discontent with where we are at.  I’m
not alone in this; a poignant Instagram thread earlier this week revealed that
many of us are feeling the same.  Maybe
it’s something to do with this time of the year – a hangover from New Year, New
You too-high expectations.  Maybe it’s
the product of our constantly striving, never satisfied society.  Maybe it reflects the myriad pressures on
women in the twenty-first century, leaving us feeling like we’re never
enough.  Maybe it’s an inevitable part of
the human condition.  Whatever the cause,
I hope this posts offers a way of supporting your efforts to live life in
accordance with what you value.

It is fairly commonplace dieting advice that a bad morning
shouldn’t mean you abandon efforts for the rest of the day too.  Attacking the biscuit tin at 11am is not an
excuse for giving up your eating plan during the afternoon and evening, goes
the argument.  You don’t need to wait
until the next day, or even the next week, to start again.

I don’t hold much truck with dieting advice (or diets, for
that matter), but I’ve always liked this little gem.  It seems that we humans have become peculiarly
attached to certain patterns of behaviour with regards to time (why else do we
lie defiantly in bed for two minutes until the alarm goes off at 7am, rather
than getting up at 6.58am?), but it doesn’t have to be that way.  The dieting advice reminds us that slimming
efforts don’t have to begin at breakfast or a Monday morning.  More broadly this is a useful lesson for us
all.  We can start whenever we like.  And if things don’t work out as we’d hoped
then we can start again whenever we like too.
The reset button is always there for us to hit.

The concept of the reset button can be particularly useful
at this time of year.  If we made New
Year’s resolutions but haven’t implemented them as well as we wanted to then it
might be tempting to give up altogether until next January gives us another chance
to begin again with a clean slate.  But
who wants to declare 2016 a failure after just three weeks?!  

Even if you didn’t make any specific plans at the start of
the month, you may have other projects or goals that aren’t at the stage that
you would like them to be.  Or perhaps
you’re just feeling a bit out of sorts, with a niggly sense that something that
helps your life to run more effectively isn’t in place (hello regular bedtime –
for children or adults!).  

The concept of the reset button can help in all these
instances.  Decide you’re going to hit it
and start over again in whatever way you need to.  You don’t have to wait until Monday or
February or 2017!  Imagine your hand
going out to push a big red button, the kind they have on TV talent shows.  Press the buzzer and there you go – reset to
zero.  You can begin again.

I’m doing my own reset today.  The December holidays followed by some big
deadlines (and an addiction to Netflix’s Making
a Murderer
) have affected my
usual daily routines for about a month now.
I’ve been later going to bed, thus finding it harder to get up in the
mornings.  Combine this with wanting to
stay on top of the extra workload and my usual AM gym-going slot has been
squeezed out of the schedule too often.
But no more!  The deadlines are
now out the way.  The sleep element is
within my power to address: go to bed earlier, get up earlier.  Simples, to use the advertising
catchphrase.  

I’m reset.

What would you like to reset?

Maybe it’s health related, maybe it’s a household chore,
maybe it’s something you do with your family or at work.  It doesn’t have to be complex: perhaps you
always cleared your car of rubbish when you came home at night but somehow
that’s slipped and now drinks cans are colonising your passenger footwell.  Just imagine hitting the button and start the
desired behaviour over again.

What if you’re simply having a crap day?  Then it’s possible to do a more general
‘Rubbish Day Reset’ too.  Here’s how:

  • First of all, are you hungry?  Then get something to eat.  
  • If possible, go outside, even just for a few minutes, to get
    some fresh air.
  • Next step: go into the bathroom and wash your hands really
    thoroughly (having clean hands helps everything feel better).
  • Brush your teeth if you can (I’d recommend stashing a
    toothbrush and paste at work if that’s feasible for you.  Like washing your hands, a bit of super-basic
    self-care can work wonders.  Feeling
    minty fresh throughout the afternoon has redeemed numerous off-par days for me).
  • Take a few deep breaths.
  • Straighten your clothes.
  • Get a large glass of water and drink it.  Whilst doing so, think of one thing that
    you’re grateful for that day.  Even on a
    bad day that shouldn’t be *too* hard.  If
    you’re struggling, remember that you have access to clean running water!  

Reset – and resume your day.

I’d love to hear how you got in if you tried to reset either
your day or something else.  Get in touch
via Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).

Two Tips for Dry January….Or February, March, April…

image

We’re now midway through the month and many who
enthusiastically pledged to do ‘Dry January’ are finding that their resolve is
on the wane.  As a soberista of thirteen
months standing, I thought I’d share my top two tips to help with not drinking
alcohol.  I could write much more about
how to stay on the wagon – and the many benefits of it – but my aim here is to give
a couple of simple suggestions that are easy to remember so that you can easily
draw upon them this weekend or any time in the weeks ahead, whether you’re
going out or staying in.

[Huge caveat: if you
feel your drinking is a problem then please don’t take my advice – go to see
your GP or a specialist for help.  There
is support out there, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the US and the UK]

1)     
Choose a soft alternative that you like in advance
of the ‘What are you drinking?’ question.

Finding an alternative to the alcoholic
drinks available is a big stumbling block for many.  It’s easy to feel uninspired or like a child
allowed to stay up for an adult party, clutching a glass of fizzy pop.  But a bit of advance planning can help: what
non-alcoholic drink would feel like a treat?  (Bitter lemon is now my go-to if neither pop
nor coffee feel like they’ll cut it).  If
you’re staying in then try browsing the supermarket shelves for something that
catches your eye and tempts your palate – then stock up on a few bottles.  If you’re going out then have a choice mentally
lined up ready for the opening ‘What are you drinking?’ – this will help with
tip two as well.

2)     
Tell yourself you can switch back to alcohol
after the first drink if you really want to.

A lot of talk in AA and other twelve-step
programmes is about taking things ‘one day at a time’.  Not drinking only for today seems much less
intimidating than contemplating a teetotal lifetime.  We can take this down a step further too: tell
yourself that just the first drink has to be non-alcoholic.  Lines such as ‘I’ll just have a water for now
– I’m so thirsty!’ and ‘Can I get a coffee?
Think I need some caffeine to help keep me awake this evening!’ are
great ways to take pressure off yourself by making the choices seem less urgent,
less of a commitment.  You’re
super-casually getting a regular drink because you’re thirsty, that’s all.  (The same lines also seem divert the peer
pressure that unfortunately can sometimes accompany the decision not to drink
alcohol).  

Make the first drink non-alcoholic, then
see how you feel after that.  So often I’ve
found that the ‘How am I going to get through this evening without booze? / I really want a “proper” drink tonight –
boo hiss poor me!’ feelings subside once the opening decision making has
passed.  It’s like once you get over the
first hurdle then you soon get to the part where you feel okay about not
drinking and even begin to see the benefits.
And as with so many things, the more you practise getting over that
hurdle, the easier it becomes.  I hope
that these two tips help you with that.

Let me know how you get on!  Did the tips work for you?  Get in touch and tell me.  There’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or the A Life Of One’s Own
Facebook page
.  And of course you can
also email me (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).