It's been a wet few weeks and, so far, I think it's safe to say that summer feels like it's been a bit of a washout. On the other hand, I've decided to go dry. As in stop drinking alcohol. Just for a month. Just to see if I can.
Actually, I know I can. I've done it before, from time to time. And while I'm not fanatical about this sort of stuff - I don't believe in so-called 'detox' regimes - I do think it's a good idea to give your body a break now and then.
In a way it's more of a mindfulness exercise.
How easy is it to get home from a hard day at work, open the fridge and pour yourself a glass of wine (or JD as is the case here), justifying it as a 'reward' for the last eight hours' grind. Or as a way to draw a line under the day, delineating 'work' time from 'leisure' time, as if you can only make the distinction if you've got a drink in your hand.
And more than this, how many of us check our phone while eating breakfast or answer emails at the same time as wolfing down lunch? I know I do quite often. And then I look down at my empty plate and realise I didn't really taste what I've just eaten, let alone taken the time to savour it.
That's no way to eat, or drink.
Yes, we all feel rushed and under pressure to fit so much into our days, and sometimes mealtimes bear the brunt of this need to maximise our time, but simply shovelling food into our mouths just to fuel our bodies - or getting into the habit of pouring alcohol down our throats because 'we deserve it' - isn't the way to do it.
I'm taking a month off alcohol because I want to be a bit more mindful about how I'm actually treating my body. I'm prepared for it to be tough at times and there's no denying that having a few drinks oils the wheels of lots of social occasions.
For example, me and Mr Soak Yourself love to go camping. We don't care about the weather; we just load up the camper van with the dogs, some provisions, plenty of warm clothes, and off we pootle in our ‘Ginger Ninja’ to whatever festival or campsite takes our fancy that weekend. We usually go with a bunch of friends as well and, I'm not going to lie, I'm going to miss having a few drinks while we are all sitting round the campfire chatting and cooking.
What I'm not going to miss is the furry tongue in the morning, the feeling that my temples are being held in some kind of clamp, that I won't be able to get going until I've had four cups of tea in quick succession, and that I'm not quite feeling as mentally 'sharp' as I should.
I’m looking forward to the possibility of losing a few pounds along the way, and also the money I will be saving. As a friend pointed out, the money I save in July will pay for a wedding outfit I need in September.
So here we go, dry July is starting today. Fingers crossed the weather takes note and joins me in my endeavour.