Hello, my name is Lizzie and I’m the founder of State Of Liberty. Incorporating six key elements – yoga, food, meditation, mindfulness, pampering and sleep – we’re creating online wellbeing retreats that give you the freedom to enjoy sustainable wellbeing in your own home.
Hopefully by now, you’ll have had a chance to read my introductory feature for A Life Loved, which focussed on seven way to improve your wellbeing in Winter. Christmas can be a frenetic time of year. Our schedules are busy, there are presents to buy and parties to attend. It’s easy to neglect self-care, and if you don’t prioritise your wellbeing, the festive season can quickly take its toll. Perhaps more than at any other time of year, it’s important to live mindfully as December 25th draws near.
Have You Considered a Booze-Free Christmas?
I don’t drink alcohol anymore. It’s a habit that’s naturally fallen away over the last 12 months as I’ve focused on daily meditation and other wellbeing practices. Personally, I really enjoy feeling more energetic without the erratic blood-sugar spikes that alcohol can cause.
I love feeling clear, creative and motivated without the fog and mild depression that often comes after drinking. I’m also much more in tune with my cycle, hormones and emotions, all of which can be tricky to navigate when alcohol is in the picture.
Alcohol-free ‘Winter Elixir’ – see recipe below
This is simply how it is for me. Everyone is unique and we all have lots of different reasons for drinking. For some, it’s fun and celebratory, but for others it’s a way of coping with stress. I’m not implying alcohol is bad, but I think it’s important to reflect on your reasons for drinking and make conscious choices that work for you.
If enjoying the festivities means having a drink with your loved ones, then enjoy! My advice is to look after yourself in between each party or celebration and organise the odd booze-free soiree. It’s easy to get swept along with the festivities and forget to give ourselves a break, so it’s important to be mindful of your body and how you’re feeling.
How to Avoid Alcohol During the Festive Season
Avoiding alcohol at Christmas can be tricky. There’s a lot of pressure to have fun, and for many, booze is a big part of this. You may experience ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) or feel it’s easier to drink ‘because everyone else is’, especially if you’re reluctant to explain why you’re teetotal. Remind yourself that choosing not to drink will leave you with more time and energy to enjoy the festive season.
Declining cocktails and bubbly can also push people’s buttons. It’s important to be aware your decision may prompt others to question their own reasons for drinking, a process that can leave them feeling guilty and uncomfortable. To avoid this situation, make it clear that your choice is a personal one, free from judgement and disapproval.
It’s not always easy to buy non-alcoholic alternatives when you’re out and about. Healthy soft drinks are far from mainstream and sometimes the only option is a sugar-laden J20. The beauty of being at home is having the freedom to make your own delicious, non-alcoholic Christmas drinks. Here’s one my favourite recipes…
This recipe, which makes approximately 10 servings, is made using simple kitchen ingredients and features a combination of delicious flavours you can tweak to suit your taste. You can prepare the elixir in advance and store it in the fridge, so it’s super easy and quick to make when you’re entertaining.
I like to make the ice cubes, syrup and infusion 24 hours in advance, usually before I go to bed. However, if time is limited, allow at least 20 minutes for the flavours to combine.
The finished drink is rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and powerful anti-oxidants. Ginger, a spice with warming properties, aids digestion and helps the body break down high-protein foods, making this the perfect post-Christmas dinner drink.
For the Chilli Ice Cubes
- 1 x green chili
For the Ginger Honey Syrup
- 250ml honey
- 250ml water
- 2 x thumbs ginger
For the Green Tea and Cardamom Infusion
- 170ml water
- 2 x good quality green tea bags or 4g of loose tea
- 1tbsp cardamom, ground in a blender, spice grinder or pestle and mortar.
- 2tbsp pomegranate molasses
- Pomegranate seeds
- Fresh sprigs of thyme
- Slice of lemon (optional)
- Prepare your chilli ice cubes in advance. Simply add a slice of green chilli to the water in an ice cube tray before freezing.
- Make the ginger honey syrup first. Combine the honey and water in a pan and stir over a low heat until the honey liquefies and dissolves. Just before the liquid boils, add the grated ginger and simmer on low for 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes or overnight for best results. Strain the mixture, discarding the ginger. The syrup is also delicious used on its own, combined with hot water to make a warming winter toddy.
- Next, make the green tea and cardamom infusion. Heat the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the ground cardamom pods and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for around 5 minutes. Add the green tea bags, pop a lid on and leave to steep. Finally, strain the mixture, discarding the cardamom and tea.
- Once you have strained both the syrup and infusion, add the pomegranate molasses and mix together in a glass bottle. The elixir is now ready to make your drinks or store in the fridge.
- To mix your drink, give the bottle a good shake, fill your cocktail glass with soda water before adding 2tbsp of the elixir. Add a chilli ice cube and garnish with pomegranate seeds and a sprig of thyme.
I’m raising my glass and wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas!
In 2018, we’ll be sharing regular features here on A Life Loved, helping you live mindfully and improve your wellbeing.
In the meantime, join our community for news and updates about the launch of our online wellbeing retreats.
Love Lizzie xx