For many of us, alcohol plays such an integral part in our lives that we no longer really question its presence. It is an expected part of social events and celebrations. And it is also how many of us choose to relax and unwind at home.
Most people start to drink when they are in their teens and then continue to drink at home or when socialising for decades without thinking much about it. We simply don’t stop to evaluate the role that alcohol plays in our lives unless it has become a problem.
However, if we are trying to live a conscious and health-filled life, we should challenge this unquestioning acceptance of alcohol as part of our regular lives.
Around seventeen years ago, I became very ill with a chronic disease that doctors identified as M.E. At the time, I didn’t know whether I would recover. But I was determined to take control of my health and do everything I could to heal.
As well as diving deep into Yoga, holistic healing, and mindfulness, I started to cut way back on sugar and stopped caffeine and alcohol completely. I haven’t drunk alcohol since then even though I recovered from the illness within 18 months.
Once I was well again, no part of me wanted to go back to drinking alcohol. But I did feel the social pressure to drink, and there were times when I worried what people would think of me. It can be difficult to go alcohol-free when drinking is so ingrained in our culture.
However, taking a break from alcohol has some amazing benefits for our health, mood, and appearance.
In this post, we’ll look (in a non judgemental way) at how alcohol affects our skin and what happens when we take a break from drinking. We’ll also discuss some tips from alcohol-free life coach, Karolina Rzadkowolska.
Karolina joined me on the Face Yoga Expert Podcast recently to discuss how stopping alcohol can help you look younger. She works with people who want to unlock their full potential without the weight of alcohol dragging them down. She’s also the author of the bestselling book, Euphoric, which guides you on your road to an alcohol-free life.
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Appearance?
When I work with clients looking to improve the health of their skin, I often recommend reducing the amount of alcohol they drink. This can have a surprising effect on how healthy and youthful your skin appears.
Karolina agrees. She encourages her clients to take before and after pictures when they go on a break from alcohol. At the end of the break, these photos help them see how much their skin has changed. Not only that, but most people see that the improvement in their mood is shining out through their faces, making them look happy and radiant.
Alcohol is a toxin, and it is bad news for our skin unfortunately. It breaks down collagen, leading to a loss of elasticity and an increased risk of developing lines and wrinkles. It also makes our skin more prone to puffiness and can lead to redness on our noses and cheeks due to broken capillaries.
Of course, alcohol doesn’t only affect our skin directly. Although many people use alcohol as a tool to help them drift off to sleep, it is actually one of the worst sleep disruptors and leads to a poor night’s rest. This means our skin cells don’t get a chance to rejuvenate, making our skin look tired and dull.
Lack of sleep can also contribute to puffiness and bags around our eyes. And alcohol is a big contributor to weight gain, which often shows up in the face.
However, when we stop drinking, our skin quickly starts to look brighter and healthier. Within just a few weeks, our collagen starts to repair, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. We also find it easier to lose weight and to choose healthy, nourishing foods.
Karolina describes herself as someone who has a real focus on health and living a conscious life. But before she gave up alcohol, she found it hard to make those healthy behaviours a reality. Because she was still going out and drinking at the weekends, she would wake up on Monday morning feeling physically and mentally depleted.
It was only when she gave up alcohol that Karolina could make her health and wellness the priority she wanted them to be. Many of the people she works with find the same. Instead of feeling deprived by the lack of alcohol in their lives, they are empowered and inspired.
Even after just a few weeks, stopping alcohol can make a huge difference to our skin, appearance, and mood.
How to Take a Break from Alcohol
Often when we think about stopping alcohol, we associate it with people whose drinking is having a severe impact on their lives. But there’s a whole spectrum when it comes to alcohol use.
Someone who has never drunk might be at one end of the spectrum and someone who is struggling with alcohol addiction might be at the other. In between these two points, there’s a wide range of drinking patterns and consumption levels.
You don’t have to be at the extreme end of the spectrum to want to take a break from alcohol. Many of us aren’t happy with the role alcohol plays in our lives, especially if we value health and integrity.
Karolina started her own alcohol-free journey by taking part in dry January. She recommends that people start by taking a break for a defined period, such as 60 or 90 days, which is much more approachable than thinking about giving up alcohol for good.
During that break, Karolina encourages her clients to examine their beliefs around alcohol and whether they stack up. For example, many of us have heard that drinking a glass of red wine a day is good for our hearts. But more recent studies show that even a small amount of alcohol causes our heart rate and blood pressure to rise.
Similarly, many people drink in the evenings to relax and unwind before bed. But alcohol doesn’t relax our bodies at all. Instead, it causes the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, making our bodies feel stressed and anxious. It also disrupts our sleep.
Karolina also invites people to examine their mindset around how they use alcohol in social situations. We might feel that alcohol empowers us to chat and be social. But when we unpack this a little, we find the underlying belief is a lack of trust in ourselves to be enough without alcohol as a crutch.
Instead of empowering us, alcohol may be disempowering us and can end up lowering our confidence and self-esteem.
When we uncover the truth behind our subconscious beliefs about alcohol, the desire to drink begins to disappear. It takes time to get to that point, but it is worth the work to free ourselves from drinking as an unconscious habit.
Living a Conscious Life
Examining our relationship with things like alcohol is part of living a conscious and healthy life. When we take control of our own wellness, we see huge benefits for our minds, bodies, and faces.
If you are ready to dive deeper into your own journey to healthy living, I have plenty of tools available to support you on the way. In the shop area of my website, you’ll find links to my books, my apps, and my 10-day Face Yoga course, all of which are aimed at helping you make Face Yoga and wellness a daily priority.