English LingQ Podcast #8: Wellness, Self Care and Going Sober in 2021 I

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2020 was rough! 2021 is going to be a struggle for many of us too. In this week’s episode Elle and Shelby chat about ways they are focussing on their health this year.

Elle: Hi everyone.

And welcome to the English LingQ podcast with me Elle.

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So this week, I’m joined again by LingQ team member, Shelby.

How are you Shelby?

Shelby: Hi Elle. I’m doing great. Thanks. How are you?

Elle: Excellent. I’m good. Thank you. I’m good.

And um doing well is, or wellness is the topic of this week’s episode.

I thought it would be interesting if we chatted about something that we’re both really interested in at the moment, the whole self-care, setting goals for wellness for 2021.

Because of course, 2021 is difficult and 2020 was difficult.

So it’s, uh, it’s good to have maybe a plan of action to keep yourself sane and, and well.

And, um, and I know that we talked before about a really inspiring kind of plan of action you have for 2021.

Shelby: Oh, well, thank you.

I’m, I’m glad to hear that.

I was also really inspired to hear, um, that you decided to, um, quit drinking.

And you told me that in, I think in December we chatted about that and, um, I’ve been hearing other people doing the same.

And, um, admittedly, I started making more of a habit out of drinking, um, in the evenings, um, during quarantine last year.

And so it’s, it’s been on my mind.

So that’s one of the habits I decided to implement for 2021 to, uh, not drink at all.

Elle: Wow. Okay. How’s it going?

Shelby: So far so good.

I, um…

Elle: NIce.

Shelby: I haven’t really wanted to drink.

Um, so the, the habits that I’m focusing on this year are, um, meditate for 10 to 30 minutes every day.

Um, do yoga every day, which usually takes me about 30 minutes.

Um, and go on a decent length walk, um, at least 5,000 steps.

So try to aim for 10,000, but, um, it’s not realistic all the time.

Cause it, you know, it takes a lot of time.

Um, was that all of them?

And then, um, to work out three times a week.

So, um, the drinking part, I think is one of the easiest, it’s just as soon as you know, you’re not doing it.

It’s just not an option.

You don’t really have to think about it.

Um, I don’t know.

What about you?

Do you have a similar experience?

Elle: Uh, you know, I stopped drinking in November last year and at first I was great.

I didn’t, I surprised myself by not wanting to drink at all for months.

Even Christmas wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

But over the last, maybe two weeks or so, for some reason.

I dunno,

maybe it’s, you know, when things get a little stressful work has been a bit stressful and I just, you know, intense, I have wanted red wine for sure.

Yes, I have.

Yeah, my husband is drinking still.

He doesn’t drink a lot, but he does have a glass of red every now and then.

And when I see that, just over the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt

that I want one.

I haven’t had one, but I think, I don’t know.

I’ve never, I’ve never given up alcohol for a long period of time, except for when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, but that was different.

Like I had that motivation.

It was like, almost my mind flipped a switch.

It’s like, no, you can’t.

So there’s no such thing as, um, you know, desire for it.

Cause it’s just, you just know you can’t, but obviously now I can, if I want to, I don’t, I choose not to.

So it’s my… I’m at war with myself, um, kind of thing, which is always hard.

Shelby: Yeah.

I mean, you’re just relying on your, your willpower at this point and I’ve you know read about willpower and it’s… it works like a meter, you know?

So like if you use willpower for one thing, um, you know, you’re, then later that day you have to use it for something else you’re going to, uh, your, your meter of willpower is, is decreasing.

So it’s a good idea to not try to like, just rely on willpower for like multiple different things all at the same time.

Like if you were also trying to, I don’t know, like, um, stop, uh, consuming sugar or, um, gluten or one of those other foods that are pervasive and really addictive too.

Um, I’ve read that it’s like not really even advisable to try to do that all at once, just because you’re relying on something that is, um, it’s um, I guess I would say that it’s, um, Okay.

I want to like, run, run this back a little bit to do what I said.

Um, you’re, you’re relying on willpower, which, um, it comes from the glucose in your brain.

So like, especially when it comes to food stuff, um, like you, you need to, to eat and eat well to like have the glucose that you need to have the willpower to fight off whatever it is that you want to avoid.

So, anyway, all of it is just to say that.

Um, especially when you’re around it.

Um, that’s when it gets, I think particularly challenging.

Elle: Yeah, for sure.

Have you found that you’ve, ,you’re using you’re eating sugar more or salty snacks more instead of the alcohol?

Or are you you’re okay, so far?

Shelby: Um, so far I’m okay.

Um, I I’m, I eat sugar.

Um, I eat.

Um, I love salt and salty snacks, so I, you know, have certain things around the house that I can have like, um, popcorn, um, sometimes like some like kettle chips.

And, but I, I kind of like, I’m trying to develop a habit of eating, like certain foods.

Like, I’m just going to eat foods consistently.

Like I know what I’m going to eat throughout the day.

So then I don’t really have to have that like negotiation with myself.

Um, that does get boring though.

So you have to like, in my experience, you have to, um, sort of like switch things up on a routine cadence, but for example, um, a big item that I have every day is a smoothie and it’s really big.

Um, I have it right here in this beautiful, um, America cup that I got for $1 at a thrift store.

Um, but yeah, it has, uh, frozen, mixed berries, frozen spinach, a full banana, um, a scoop of, um, vegan protein powder and like coconut oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds.

Um, and sometimes I’ll put avocado in there too.

So it’s like very filling it’s tasty.

It gives me a lot of nutrients that I need in the day.

And so it lasts for a good… it kind of depends on the day, but it might keep me full for like four to five hours.

And so that’s a good chunk out of my day where I don’t have to feel like, oh, I’m hungry and I’m busy at work too.

You know, like, what am I going to eat?

I just, I want to have certain things on hand.

Um, so I don’t have to think about it too much.

Elle: Right. And that packs a really like fibrous punch too, all those vegetables and fruits, right?

That’s great.

Shelby: Yeah. And I recommend it.

Um, uh, what about you?

I mean, you’ve been doing the, um, you’ve been sober longer than I have.

So are you finding that you’re like kind of compensating with certain snacks or other vices?

Elle: Yes. Yes.

At first I wasn’t and I knew it was too good to be true.

And within the first two months, I was like, this, this is easy.

I’m doing really well.

You know, I lost, I lost some weight.

I was feeling definitely more energy, able to sleep better.

Um, and yeah, it’s just been over the last two to two to three weeks say I’ve definitely been consuming more sugar.

I just really, really crave chocolate, candy, anything sweet, really.

And cream like creamy desserts.

So like, uh, you know, even like that squirty cream that you can get to go on the top of your drinks?


I’ll just put that on some fruit.

So that’s good, I guess, but I’m definitely eating more sugar, which is, is, bad too, because, um, my den…I haven’t been to the dentist in a while.

My dentist isn’t accepting patients for cleanings, just like emergencies because of COVID.

And so I haven’t been for a cleaning for a while, and I know she’s going to be disappointed when she gets in my mouth.

Shelby: Well, keep flossing.

You know, to try to…

Elle: Yes. I do floss.

So that’s good.

That’s good.

Shelby: I know you have a dentist in your family, so, um, maybe, maybe you’re better about, um, dental hygiene than, than most.

I try to stay up on my flossing habit, but I’m not very good at it.

Um, but that’s, that’s interesting to know.

It’s, it’s interesting to hear about your experience.

Cause, yeah, I’m only three weeks deep into like my healthy lifestyle.

And I was thinking the same, like, oh, this is easy.

So it’s good to be forewarned.

Elle: It may stay easy.

It may stay easy for you, you know, everyone’s different, but I’m definitely finding, um, and I mentioned this to you before, Instagram accounts…

I don’t think you’re on Instagram though, but or, wherever, you know, Reddit or wherever you’re active.

Um, these sober accounts, uh, such, such great inspiration.

Um, yeah.

There’s everything from mocktail recipes to, you know, those little, uh, affirmations, um, ideas for quit lit, which is, as you can imagine, literature about quitting alcohol.

That’s great.

Quit, quit lit.

Um, I read, I’ve read a couple of books, so it’s all… It’s good to have a community, um, or even a person I find with this kind of goal, uh, where you can, you can look at a day, can connect with every day and just remind yourself, okay.

Yes, this is hard.

Sometimes it will be hard, but I can do it and I should keep doing it because why, why not?

It’s what, if it’s what you want?

You know, your good self, your higher self, that knows what’s good for you once it, and then there’s the lower self that wants that quick relaxing fix or whatever, they’re fighting all the time.


Shelby: Exactly.

Elle: Yeah.

Shelby: So what will be the first thing that you do when you are feeling a craving?

Like, do you go for the whipped cream dessert on fruit or go for the, the like sober Instagram page or something else?

Elle: Probably the Instagram and I’ll try to get active too.

I like to organize things.

So if I’m feeling particularly, you know, “cravey”, like I could really do with a glass of wine, I’ll go and organize like my closet or I’ll do a, you know, the Marie Kondo pulling out all of your clothes, seeing what sparks joy and what no longer sparks joy, getting rid of those things.

That’s always, it always improves my mood.

So I feel like, uh, you know, I suddenly, I don’t feel in control because I want something that I’m trying not to have, that craving.

Um, and so doing something like organizing makes me feel in control again.

And so that’s the first thing I try.


How about you when you have a craving, what do you do to fight it?

Shelby: Um, I think, uh…

Elle: I guess, you haven’t yet though, right?

Shelby: Yeah, no, I mean, I haven’t, um, necessarily… like I’ve like had the thought crossed my mind, like, Oh, I want a beer.

Um, You know, even just like straight up forgetting, that I quit.

So like I went to the fridge one time and I was like, Hey, I’m not doing this.

So, um, you know, it’s kind of like a fleeting thought.

Um, but you know, I’ll have like cravings for other things that I’m trying to avoid or, you know, my, my habits and goals just come down to, um, prioritizing my health, um, pretty much over like everything else.

And as you know, that gets like, boring.

And so when I’m feeling like restless or like indulgent, um, I will try to get out of my head and into my body.

So that means like doing one of the habits that I set out to do anyway, which is maybe doing some yoga.

Or going for a walk or I’ll, I’ll work out.

I have like a little like home gym.

I mean, it’s just like free weights and, um, a yoga mat and some exercise bands.

So it’s really easy to move around with.

Um, but I have found that, um, like doing something physical will usually help reset me.

Um, and or journaling, like, cause if I have a lot on my mind, if I’m feeling stressed, I will just, and my journaling has become totally digital.

Um, just cause it’s so much more convenient.

So I’ll pull up an Evernote on my computer or phone and just kind of start typing about like, What am I, what am I craving?

Um, what, what am I feeling?

And just through that process, I’m sort of like venting, um, even if it’s just to myself in I note, um, and maybe I’ll, I will understand the source of how I feel.

And once I understand that it’s easier to address it and kind of treat it.

Elle: Then yeah.

Moving forward if you feel that trigger coming on, you can be, you can act quicker, which is always, always good.

Shelby: Yeah.

You can like understand why we’re feeling that way and yeah, that’s super helpful.


Elle: I read somewhere that a craving lasts 20 minutes.

Typically, if you can distract yourself or, you know, get out, like you say, out of your head, into your body…

Shelby: Right.

Elle: …for, for 20 minutes from the beginning of it, should dissipate.

I mean, of course everyone’s different.

Maybe it lasts longer for some people, but it’s kind of good to know.

Cause 20 minutes, isn’t a long time.

It is a long time when you really want something that you shouldn’t, or you’re trying to avoid.

Shelby: Right.

Elle: But…

Shelby: Exactly.

It’s like torture at that point, but, um…

Elle: It is, it is totally like torture.

Shelby: Yeah, but if you, I mean, that’s, I, I haven’t noticed like the 20 minute thing, but I’ve certainly noticed the cravings always pass. Right.

Like, it’s kind of a feeling and I know that feelings are temporary.

Um, and just the same way that like, um, Like our appetites are, are temporary too.

Um, I remember watching some, I think it was like a Jerry Seinfeld standup from a long time ago.

That was just, he had a little bit where he’s like, you know, when you’re a kid, your parents tell you like you can’t eat cookies before dinner because they’re going to spoil your appetite.

But as an adult, you know, that like, if you spoil your appetite, you’ve got another one coming a little bit later.

Maybe I will eat cookies before dinner.

That doesn’t, that’s not really on topic.

Um, with what we’re talking about.

I think the other thing is… Sorry, I just, I think the other thing is like having a grace with yourself too.

So like, if I am, I don’t know, like feeling indulgent and I want to indulge in something like some ice cream or some snacks, um, maybe I’ll just do that, you know, and tell myself like, okay, like you did everything else

well, like you can do this and it’s not the end of the world, you know?

Um, just, um…

Elle: yeah.

Shelby: Keeping healthy otherwise.

Elle: Yeah.


Everything in moderation.

And of course I have this issue with, like you say, you have this goal and then when you break it even a little, just a little ice cream or, you know, say I had a sip of red wine the way my mind works, and this is not good,

I hate it, I’m trying to work on it is I feel like, well, that’s all destroyed now.

So I may as well go back to doing whatever, like with language learning with my French it really fell off at the end of 2020.

And I felt like I had, you know, it’s all ruined, so just forget about it.

Uh, it’s it’s a tough mindset to, to, to remove yourself from.

It’s like, okay, you know, you can’t, you can’t be perfect,

you know, there is no such thing just because you fall off and, you know, have some ice cream.

That doesn’t mean that the next day you can’t carry on with your.

Your goal and eat better, so…

Shelby: Right.

Well, and what you described, that’s a really common, um, frame of mind and that’s why, um, that’s actually, why, so many of us don’t necessarily stick to certain habits because, you know, we were on a roll and then we, um, you know, fall off the wagon one time and then exactly,

we feel we failed.

So then it’s like, okay, well, Um, I lost a bunch of progress basically since my streak is that far broken, you know, but, um, James Clear, who wrote Atomic Habits, um, said, Oh, um, he’s like never miss twice.


Like don’t, don’t miss twice in a row.

So like, if I fail one day, you know, if you have a sip of red wine or whatever, just remind yourself, um, just not again tomorrow, you know, and get through the next day.

And it’s the same reason why actually I’ve been on like an 80%, um, vegan and gluten-free diet for the last five and a half years. And.

It’s because like I, well with, I mean, we talked a little bit about, uh, when I was in Chile, I certainly gave in more than normal, but basically if I eat meat once a week, instead of once a day, I’m still like… compounded over time,

I’m probably going to be healthier than if I was eating it every day.

But if I tell myself like, Oh, I ate chicken last night.

So I guess I’m not vegan anymore.

Like we’re so worried about the label kind of, um, like I’m sober, but I had a glass of red wine last night.

I think we just need to kind of separate ourselves from the label.

And remember that you’re still so far, like you’re so much further than you were when you started, even if you slip up one time and you’re like so much closer to the person that you want to be, even if you slip up. So.

Elle: Exactly and just comparing ourselves I find ,too, you know, the, the you of last week, last month, last year, instead of anyone, anyone else, you know, is, is really important and hard to do, because we’re so confronted with everyone’s narratives these days with social media and just media in general, the internet.

So, yeah.

Yeah, that’s a good one to remember for sure.

And I’ve, I’ve been having nightmares actually about drinking.

So that’s an interesting point you say, yeah.

I’ve had around, around three now and in every one i, I don’t intentionally drink.

I just, I just drink and forget that I’m sober.

And then afterwards I’m like, Oh no, I had a beer, I’m supposed to be sober!

And I wake up like, Oh, thank goodness.

Shelby: Yeah.

I think that because you know, like you’re, you’re really trying, like you’re making a difference in your everyday life and it’s, it’s funny how that can appear in your dreams too.

Elle: Oh yeah. Big time.

And I almost drank some of my husband’s beer the other day.

We both had the same glass.

I have my fake beer, which is really good actually.

And he had a real beer.

Picked up his and I went to drink and he’s like, no.

Oh my God, what if I’d had a sip?

Like, that’s it.


It’s so silly.

But sometimes we do that to ourselves.

You know, it’s like this black and white absolutist thinking that it’s really not helpful.

We need to be kinder and you know, more…

Shelby: Absolutely.

Have more grace with ourselves.

Elle: Yes, a hundred percent.

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