Ten ways to feel good this Sober October if you’re struggling. As we get into the beginning of Sober October, here are my top ten things to do so you can stay inspired, motivated and feeling good.
- Focus on how good you feel
- Do things you love
- Add movement to your day
- Make self-care a priority
- Fuel your body
- Embrace nature
- Indulge in treats
- Prioritise Sleep
- Create time and space
- Journal your journey
I have taken these tips from my new book, Sober Bliss – Quit Drinking Feel Good, which takes you on a journey to feel good sobriety. In my opinion to make living alcohol-free enjoyable, sustainable and above all something you feel good about we need to make it as lovely an experience as possible. If you are committing to a month off alcohol, are sober curious, or have decided that this is it for you, the following ten ways to feel good this sober October will help inspire you as you walk your chosen path.
1. Focus on how good you feel
This has to be number one for me! No matter how you are feeling, you will feel ten times better than you do when you’re hungover or feeling guilty and full of shame. Focus on that. Focus on how you feel when you wake up after not drinking, focus on how delicious it feels to go to bed sober, to be present with your family, to enjoy a walk, be in nature or how gorgeous and soothing the first tea or coffee of the day is. It’s a bit like gratitude. When you focus on the good, more of those juicy good feelings and emotions will come your way. Pay attention, be mindful and look for those good feelings as often as you can.
2. Do things you love
Doing something you love will help with those feel good feelings. It might seem a silly thing but really, we do not always prioritize our own needs, wants and desires often enough. Make this month a month to be a little bit selfish. Remember you are doing a wonderful but challenging thing by going alcohol-free so anything you can do to make it feel nicer and more enjoyable is important. Make an effort to do the things you love more often or even try something new.
“Pay attention, be mindful and look for those good feelings as often as you can.”
If you don’t know what that might look like make a list and go through the items one by one. This is something I help my clients with all the time. It can be tricky to get started because often we don’t know what we like or would like to do given that much of our time and energy has been taken up by drinking. Start small, pick one thing and take it from there.
3. Add movement to your day
Nothing makes you feel better or lifts your mood like a bit of movement or exercise! You may have heard people say “I didn’t get sober to sit on the sofa” and that is so true. If you can, get out there and do some exercise, just 20-30 minutes a day will lift your spirits, release endorphins and create a natural high. If the weather is not kind, then why not dance around your kitchen, organize your wardrobe, have a clear out, clean your house, organize your books – just do something to get you off the sofa for a bit!
4. Make self-care a priority
Prioritising self-care activities encourages you to put yourself first and shows that you care about yourself. This is a powerful message that often gets overlooked. Actively engaging in self-care activities is also a really good way to improve your self-esteem and relationship with yourself, the two are deeply intertwined and super important to recognise when we’re not drinking.
Self-care is a practice. That is creating routines and rituals that allow you to focus on yourself every day and doing regular activities that will nourish every part of your life. Daily walks are a form of self-care. Visiting your doctor regularly is self-care, and getting enough sleep is self-care. Bubble baths and spa days are also forms of self-care! Plan your self-care activities first and make sure your own needs are met before you start running around after other people!
5. Fuel your body
In my podcast with The Sober Nutritionist we talked about the number one thing you can eat to help with cravings, withdrawal and energy dips when taking a break from alcohol. Eating the right quantity of protein this month will have a really powerful effect and help you to feel good this sober October. Protein helps to fill us up so we’re not reaching for sugary snacks and it also helps to stabilise our mood so we don’t experience as many cravings. Protein rich foods include: beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, lean meats and poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, lower fat milk and lower fat dairy products.
6. Embrace nature
My book has a whole chapter dedicated to nature with the help of my friend and life coach for women Nicki Gabriel who writes, that there is something magically calming and soothing when we send time in nature it can support us like nothing else can. October is a beautiful month and a perfect time to be outdoors when the weather permits.
There is no better way to beat cravings and deal with uncomfortable triggers than pounding the pavement or walking along wild, windswept beaches or hills! Take advantage of your surroundings and try to spend some time outside every day if you can. You don’t have to go far either to get the wonderful benefits. Just sitting in your garden, going for walks, spending time in the park or exploring your city is enough.
7. Indulge in treats
This is not the time for deprivation or missing out on anything. In fact, you want to go the opposite and make this month really indulgent and special. Affirming that not drinking is a brilliant life choice and that you feel good without it will make it easier to keep up. So, go all in your treats and rewards.
I love going Hygge in October with scented candles, jumpers, indulgent hot chocolates, cosy socks, and new books. Fill your room with fairy lights and blankets. Create a sanctuary where you feel safe and soothed and a little bit special. Celebrate every tricky moment you survived with a treat and positive encouragement.
8. Prioritise Sleep
When we quit drinking, our sleep can be disrupted, especially if we’re so used to alcohol as a sleep aid. Be patient but make good sleep habits and hygiene a priority. To get wonderful sober sleep some simple things you can do include making your bedroom a sanctuary with lovely linen, gorgeous scents and nice touches. Get rid of clutter and leave your electronics out of the bedroom. Have a regular winding down ritual at bedtime, no caffeine after 2pm and try a meditation or some simple bedtime yoga stretches before you get into bed.
9. Create time and space
One of the reasons that I drank, and so many of us do, is to escape, to retreat into ourselves, and close the curtains on the world. Numbing out and disappearing into a bottle or glass is the only way we’ve been able to snatch that elusive ‘me time.’
Time alone, in my experience, is one of the things we crave the most, yet it is also the thing that we find the most difficult to achieve. It is, however, during these moments of stillness that we can begin to connect with ourselves, uninterrupted.
It will help feel good this sober October if you can create some space for yourself. By space I don’t just mean your own physical space, like your own room, but rather the practice of carving out time just for you and space in which to spend it – alone.
10. Journal your journey
Something magical happens when ink meets the page and we pour out our hopes, dreams, thoughts and ideas. Journaling in sobriety is such a powerful tool that can literally help to transform your thoughts, feelings, fears and worries, or ideas and inspiration into something you can work with in a calm and organised way, freeing up your mind and creating space in your heart.
At the very core of journaling is the practice of getting to know yourself deeper and discovering why you drink, your beliefs about drinking and what is happening in your life.
I hope you find the ten things to feel good this Sober October helpful and your month of alcohol-free living feels lovely and empowering. What’s your favourite way to feel good in sobriety?