Ways to Wind Down Without Wine

Joggers and Sweatshirt c/o The White Company

You’ve probably heard more than one mom in your life refer to wine as mommy juice, myself included. There are certain days when you work all day and then your kid throws all of her food on the floor at dinner and you just need a minute. On nights like that I majorly look forward to a glass of wine after I put Amalia to bed.

Whenever I go on Instagram and mention that it’s been a rough day and I need a little vino, it always elicits a big response, with a bunch of other moms writing back with “Same!” or “Been there!” or even people sending me pictures of their own heavy pour. So I know this is not an uncommon situation and it makes sense. A single glass of wine can quickly calm your nerves, and feels like a self indulgent treat.

But, TBH, while it feels good at the time, I often wish I hadn’t had it because I’m so sensitive to alcohol. My messed up sinuses get inflamed and I always feel a little groggy the next morning, even if it’s just one small glass. So I’ve been trying to use other ways to wind down on long days, and thought I’d share a few of them with you. That said, sometimes wine is the only answer and that’s ok too!

Set a vibe: After I get Amalia down for the night, I usually come out of her room to clean up whatever gigantic mess we’ve made and then get started on dinner for me and Anel. But at that point, I’m usually ready to lay down on the couch and zone out slash pass out face first on my bed. But I’ve found that when I turn on some chill music, diffuse essential oils (I’m partial to lavender or peppermint), and dim the lights while I’m doing those chores, they are a lot less work. The key for me is playing songs I can sing along to so something like James Taylor radio is my go-to.

Take a bath: For a while, I associated “me time” at night with “wine time” but it really doesn’t have to go hand in hand. If you’re anything like me, you want to clean up your dirty house when it’s a mess ASAP, but sometimes I leave the mess and just take a hot bath with all the bells and whistles: Candles, bubbles, salts, you name it. It feels insanely luxurious like I’m at a spa, and also relaxes me even more than the wine does. When I step out of the tub, the thought of cleaning up and cooking doesn’t seem so daunting.

Workout- After a mentally taxing day of work and and an emotionally and physically taxing evening with Amalia, a work out is usually the last thing I want to do in the evenings which is why I try to schedule them for earlier in the day. But recently I’ve noticed that if I do one of Anel’s at-home workouts, I feel a million times better. Endorphins make you feel even better than wine, I promise!

Have a snack. Ok this one might sound weird but a few weeks ago I had dinner with a girlfriend (and mom of three) who told me that she’s working with a health coach to cut back on drinking wine because it’s starting to feel like too much of a crutch for her. The coach worked with her for she realized that by 5 or 6pm she was drinking wine for a lot of reasons, but one of them was that she was hungry but she and her husband didn’t eat dinner until  7 or 8pm. So she started eating a snack around that time instead and it helped a lot!

Treat yourself in another way. Sometimes when my days are long and hard and frustrating, I feel like I deserve a “treat” which is part of the draw to wine because I love it so much. So lately I’ve been trying to treat myself in another way like having dessert after dinner, something that we rarely do at home. Even though it’s not an in the moment stress relief, it’s something for me to look forward to and that, for some reason, makes me even more excited than anything else.

Write. This one might not be applicable for everyone but writing has always been therapeutic for me. I have a journal that I sometimes pull out if I’m feeling especially stressed or anxious, and I only recently thought to use it during my post-baby-bedtime witching hour. Sometimes I’ll even put dinner in the oven and then write while it’s cooking. It doesn’t have to be anything eloquent or well thought out, a stream of consciousness is usually what helps me the most. And sometimes it’s totally nonsensical, but who cares?

Cuddle a Pet- Obviously if you don’t have a pet, this doesn’t apply to you so skip to the next tip. But for those of you who have a cat or dog (or ferret, perhaps?), get on the floor or wherever they sit and have a good long cuddle. No phones, no agenda, just pure love. They will appreciate the extra attention, and the healing power of a pet can be be vastly underestimated. Boots knows when I’m having an off day, and gives me extra love back.

Watch Dumb TV. Hear me out on this one… Maybe those Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are absolutely insane but watching them helps me turn off my spinning brain for an hour, and also makes me laugh. It might not be culturally stimulating but, watching bad TV is weirdly therapeutic for me. I hope I’m not the only one!

How do you like to wine down on long days? And if your answer is wine (or even tequila haha) that’s ok too!

Photos by Julia Dags.

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  1. Libby said:

    I totally agree with trashy TV and doggie cuddles! I have been trying to avoid wine and alcohol in general after a long day of studying and class. My favorite tricks have been either meditating/bouncing on my yoga ball, doggie cuddles, trashy TV, or organizing..yes I find organizing therapeutic!


    xo –Libby

    9.20.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I’m with you on the organizing and am the exact same way! I should get my yoga ball out again too. I did that when I was pregnant but haven’t since!

      9.21.18 · Reply
  2. EM said:

    And it only gets more stressful in the evenings as kids get older and you have to do things like deal with homework and school-related paperwork… believe me, these are going to be your good old days!

    My stress relief is reading…but it is rarely quiet in the home when I want to read.

    9.20.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Hahah I bet! I love to read before bed and it feels oh so indulgent every time.

      9.21.18 · Reply
  3. Liz said:

    You nailed it — except my go to treat to relax is sugar/ice cream , so some nights I should actually try wine instead!

    Isn’t it funny how bad reality TV with all of the fighting actually helps your brain go to sleep? Bravo basically created a whole network devoted to this. I can’t do dramatic shows at all during the week.

    The darker evenings and colder weather are going to change this, but a nice neighborhood walk with my ear pods in totally relaxes me, spending some extra time on skincare, or even putting on some nice pajamas helps too.

    9.20.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Bahaha we all have our vices I guess! And well said about reality TV. Sometimes my brain needs an “awake nap” and it gives me just that.

      9.21.18 · Reply
  4. Reader said:

    Is this an old post? I think I remember reading it a few months ago but it says it was posted this week?

    9.21.18 · Reply
  5. BRN said:

    I love that JT is part of your wind down. Me too!

    9.25.18 · Reply