Will Quitting Drinking Increase My Longevity?


Those that know me well, know I am a mad Swans fan.

I mention this because last night I sat in the Chairmans lounge pre-game in Adelaide surrounded by boozers’ boozing left right and centre and not once did I feel a flicker of desire to reach for one. Whilst others got loud for an hour then flagged, I maintained a steady glow or shimmer of happiness the good old fashioned way – by chatting, watching and laughing – which allowed me to wake up feeling pretty bloody awesome this morning.

Drinking as an option is so removed from my habitual routine now that there is no trigger or urge creating an emotional desire for it. It wasn’t always the case. I needed to do “the work” to get here. Most of us do, but I want to assure you that – if you are not here already – you can get to this place too. It’s a calm and content place and one that features greater self confidence, respect and gratitude.

If you are a bit unsure and need a place to start, then consider either my new 5-Day Alcohol Reset Video Mini-Course (details below) or book in a chat with me. I’m always here for a chat to help.

What a bunch of super fit healthy group of athletes those AFL players are!  And guess what their on-season routine requires? Tight rules around alcohol! No alcohol to be consumed or allowed in club faculties, transport and change rooms in-season. Yep – says it all about what alcohol does to hold us mere mortals back.

This segue’s nicely into this week’s topic.

Does quitting alcohol improve my longevity?

Today we are looking at drinking less to through the lens of longevity. What a great perspective shift this allows, inspired by a recent podcast I listened to by longevity and neuro-athlete expert, Louisa Nicola. The answer is: yes it does.

Here are ten points on why abstaining from alcohol will enhance the quality of your life and increase your longevity:

1. Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: Alcohol is directly linked to chronic diseases like liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, cardiovascular diseases, and 6 types of cancers (mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver, colon and breast cancer). Abstaining reduces the risk of these conditions, leading to a longer, healthier life.

2. Improved Liver Health: The liver processes alcohol and drinking alcohol can lead to liver damage, fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Avoiding it helps maintain liver function and overall health.

3. Enhanced Mental Health: Alcohol contributes to mental health issues like depression, anxiety and cognitive impairments. Abstinence can improve mental well-being and reduce the risk of alcohol-related mental health disorders.

4. Better Sleep Quality: Solid restorative sleep is directly linked to improved longevity. While alcohol might help you fall asleep initially, it greatly disrupts sleep patterns and reduces the quality of sleep increasing stress on your entire system.

5. Living Intuitively & Thriving in Life: Alcohol blocks our intuition and clouds our judgement. Drinking allows us to solider on and settle for mediocrity. We stop listening to our inner voice and do more people pleasing when we drink. When we quit drinking we become bolder, stronger and trust our intuition more. We make healthier choices, carve our personal space and make decisions that allow us to thrive.

6. Improved Cardiovascular Health: Abstaining entirely eliminates the risk of alcohol-induced heart problems, such as high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmias.

7. Enhanced Immune System: Alcohol weakens the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections, and we know that a stronger immune system contributes to better health and longevity.

8. Weight Management: Alcoholic beverages are calorie-dense and directly contributes to weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, not to mention strain on our joints and overall happiness.

9. Accident Prevention: Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.

10. Better Digestive Health: Alcohol can irritate the digestive system, leading to issues like gastritis and acid reflux. Alcohol also prevents our digestive system from absorbing important nutrients. Avoiding alcohol helps maintain a healthy digestive tract, which is crucial for overall well-being and longevity.

Quitting the booze can extend our lifespan. Moreover it can enhance the quality of our life. No brainer? Yep!

Looking at quitting drinking through a longevity lens is just another way of reinforcing your decision to cut back. Take the leap if you haven’t done it already!

Take a look at my new Free 5-Day DO I HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM? Mini-Course Here!


Drinking Keeps Us Stuck in Mediocracy

Alcohol is an enabler – but at what cost?

I love the topics we tackle as part of my alcohol freedom challenges. This is one that really resonates with me: Alcohol is an enabler that keeps us stuck in mediocracy. Can you relate?

Alcohol “enables” us to:

  • do the heavy lifting and keep going and going and going
  • people please and keep smiling and carrying on
  • push our frustrations down rather than communicate our wants and needs and set boundaries,
  • put our family, our colleagues, our friends’ needs first at our own expense, and
  • exist in a mediocre less-than-joyful state without really knowing it

Plus, it can keep us in a fatigue / low mood state that builds the older we get. It keeps us trapped in a mediocre less-than-joyful life.

You may have noticed this when you are in a drinking cycle. You might feel slow, sluggish, flat, unhealthy and unmotivated. Your thought patterns might be a little more negative, perhaps self-critical with lots of “I should’s”, “I wish I could’s” and “if only I might…” showing up in your internal monologue. In terms of your behaviour in these cycles, you might be less inclined to call your friends and go out, less willing to make small talk and engage with those around you and your world gets a little smaller.

In contrast, you might have noticed that when you have had an alcohol-free fortnight or more under your belt, you feel upbeat, proud, motivated and positive about yourself. You feel more grateful. You starting to think about new activities, how to improve your life by setting some short- and long-term goals and you behave more energetically and positively towards yourself and those around you. Life feels good.

When we are drinking, we are get caught in a fatigue – less than joyful – mediocre loop. This keeps us reaching for alcohol each evening to try to gain a boost to get us through, essentially to regain some of the good vibes that alcohol has taken away from us due to the couple of glasses we had the evening before. There is a biological explanation for this.

When we drink, we receive 20 minutes of relief from the release of Dopamine and GABA (depressants). Our brain then jumps into protection mode and releases dynorphin, cortisol and adrenaline (stimulants) to restore homeostasis. The stimulants stay in our body for hours and hours, much longer than the depressants. So, we will never feel the effects of the first glass again, no matter how much we drink. We will also feel antsy and edgy as the night progresses. We will wake up at 3am. We will not get a restorative sleep. Back on the hamster wheel.

Additionally, our body will release stress hormones the following evening in anticipation of the expected drinking session that evening. This is even if we have a night off! It takes a few months for our bodies to re-adjust to us not drinking and stop releasing these stress hormones. However, the good news is that it does stop and when it does – that is when we start to feel pretty bloody good again!

The net impact of being in a drinking cycle is to reduce our normal feel-good baseline.

Eventually we begin to question: What are we missing? Why are we settling for less?

By doing all of this, have we let boundaries blur (ie work/life balance)?

Have we been less than effective in communicating what we want and need to those around us? Have we forgotten how to tune in with ourselves and understand what it is we want and need?

Have we lost the ability to effectively carve out personal space and time and also importantly feel that we deserve this space and time?

The good news is, that by quitting drinking, we can open up and reflect on all of these questions. This creates room for change. It allows us to reflect on how we really want the next phase of our life to look and map out the way to get there.

Removing alcohol can be transformational! We can regain our natural feel-good joy baseline. We can begin to focus on what we want, what we need, how to set boundaries with those around us, how to carve out personal space for self-care and set goals ahead for our how we want the next phase of our life to look like.

For further information or if you would like any support busting out of drinking cycle and jump into your next phase, feel welcome to book in a 30-minute no obligation confidential chat with me.

Yours faithfully

Surfing the Urge

The word “mindfulness” used to stop me in my tracks and not in a good way.

I used to cringe when I heard it, roll my eyes when it was dropped in a sentence and get bamboozled by what the heck it meant! It. Just. Seemed. Like. A. Trendy. Overused. Term.

However now I am “one of them”.

In my latest episode of De-Stress I talk about the why’s, how’s, what’s of mindfulness.

Join me on a transformative journey where I bare the intricacies of “surfing the urge,” sharing a method that’s not just about curbing cravings but is a profound alignment with our true values and goals. Whether it’s the draw of an evening drink or the pull of sugary temptations, this episode is a deep dive into the practicality of mindfulness practices that help navigate the tumultuous waters of our impulses, particularly during those testing hours between 5pm and 8pm. It’s a helpful guide for anyone looking to reconnect with their authentic self amidst the cacophony of life’s distractions.

As we dissect the mechanisms of limiting beliefs and the role mindfulness plays in disarming them, I offer a step-by-step guide to mastering your urges. You’ll learn to breathe through cravings, identify triggers, and harness the power of mindful distractions, all while fostering self-compassion. 

In particular, I discuss one form of mindfulness which you might be familiar with called “surfing the urge,” that can bridge the gap between an urge and gratification and help us to beat problematic urges like sugar cravings, alcohol urges and unconscious scrolling on our phones. (In fact, at the end of this ep I lead you through a 10 point surfing the urge mindfulness coaching exercise that you can apply to help you surf your personal urge. I hope this is of use to you.)

MindfulnessMindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s been called the art of conscious living. It’s surprising hard.

Yoga Nidra, Breath work, grounding work, running meditation (just learnt this one from Nikki Langman, author of Badass and a future guest on De-Stress), and gratefulness practice are some forms of mindfulness. It’s accessible, cheap, can be used anywhere.

Why would we do it? What’s wrong with being distracted?

Well without mindfulness, when we are jumping around from thought to thought, we are not exercising impulse control. We are usually seeking out dopamine hits from our phones, our scrolling, or we are ruminating on anxieties past and future, not concentrating and moving forward on any one thing. Our brains have been hijacked by dopamine. We are not controlling it, our habits, or our future. The ripple effect is huge.

All of this impacts our nervous system, our stress levels and daily habits and happiness.

Mindfulness is essential for changing bad habits and creating new habits, such as reaching for junk food, alcohol, scrolling on the phone. When we are caught in these habits there is no pause between the urge and the gratification. This keeps us caught.

Mindfulness allows us to pause between the urge and gratification –  extend the gap. As Dr Gina Cleo, habit expert and author of the Habit Revolution says – this is where freedom resides.

The benefits of mindfulness extends far and wide: it influences our ability to concentrate, improves our memory, strengthens our emotional regulation skills, bolsters our impulse control, enhances our self-awareness and high performance skills. All of the juicy things that I love to talk about.

Take a listen to this episode for more tips, including a guided surfing the urge coaching practice at the end of this episode.

Contact me if you have any questions. Always happy to help.

If you find these strategies resonate but you’re seeking more personalised guidance, remember, I’m at your service with resources, counselling, and tailored coaching to support you in managing stress and recalibrating your drinking habits. Together, let’s chart a course towards a more present, purposeful existence—one mindful moment at a time.

Yours faithfully

Motivation to stay the course to quit drinking


Today I am touching on how to stay the drink less course.

“Motivation” is the process of inducing you to act in a certain way. However when it comes to drinking less have you found that it can be elusive and fail us when we need it the most?! I have.

Motivation often dips about 3 weeks into a quit drinking mission.

You see, people don’t usually congratulate you for drinking less! In fact, not many people notice when we go alcohol free. People sometimes notice how good we look and ask what we are doing, but that’s usually where the support stops. We might start thinking – what’s the point of all my efforts? Everyone else seems to be having so much fun. But that’s the alcohol voice creeping in… looking for any reason to have just one…! Plus it’s rarely even true.

As we never usually get external motivation from others, we need to source this internally.

Here’s how.

Harness the power of the first 10 days

This is when our motivation is at its highest. The novelty of a new mission is accompanied by a dopamine kick. We are excited. The – usually desperate reasons – why we need to immediately make changes are fresh in our minds. This motivates us too. We know we need to change. We plan ahead, visualise the results and feel like this is going to be it once and for all! Harness this power.

Write YOUR WHY down

This is important. Roll up your sleeves and write down all of the reasons why you need to stop. Detail why it is negatively impacting your life (relationships, health, physical appearance, motivation, happiness – the lot) and even list specific moments when alcohol let you down. Get emotional when doing this if possible. All of this underscores the importance of this mission and imprints this at the forefront of your mind.

“Your WHY will be your motivator when the chips are down and confirmation bias to drink sneaks in in week 3. Know this – your why now is the same as it was last year; will be the same next year and in 5-year’s time. So – listen to it and bring it to fruition.”

Set a feeling-based goal

These goals are so much more motivating than “I must not drink” goals. So what is it going to be? To feel calmer? Less bloated? Less stressed? Name yours.

Days 10 – 40 is the effort phase

Yep, this is when your brain is resisting all the effort and hard-work that it takes to change a behaviour. Why? Because its takes energy and brain power to do so. Your brain makes over 35,000 decisions daily and looks to conserve energy by taking the easier path. Willpower slumps. You are in training!

Drinking is the easier path during this effort phase. Resist! Push through to the next phase. Remember your why. Try to distract yourself with something fun.

Improve your impulse control with a good solid daily practice of exercise, protein, mantras and risk window planning. For some extra tips – see my surfing the urge episode on my De-Stress podcast.

Knowing that this effort phase lies ahead is actually helpful. Can you take pleasure from the pain as it is a sign that alcohol is losing its power over you?

Days 41 – 40 – It all starts to feel easier

Phew. At this stage your mission to quit drinking is starting to feel the norm and your confidence gets a boost. It’s developing into a habit such that the desire has faded and you are unconsciously choosing alcohol free. You are bolstered by how bloody good you feel and this is becoming easier.

Reward yourself here! Acknowledge your successes and reflect that this is simply your new way – forever perhaps?! Alternatively, set a new goal by lengthening this alcohol free mission.

Habit change expert Dr Gina Cleo says that a new habit is fully ingrained by about day 66.

When it comes to drinking however, we need to be extra cautious.The cultural push for you to drink is relentless and powerful. Many people get to day 100 for example and see this as an end date and old habits can easily slip back in. Can you change your mindset – “it is my choice to be alcohol free for the next phase of my life?”

It is really important to continue your new daily practices that have supported you to get to this point.

This is the penny drop. Quitting drinking is a daily practice. It includes, in my view, a morning reflection, daily movement, nutritious high protein food, a structured 5pm – 8pm plan, connection and incorporation of activities into your life which NOURISH your nervous system and allow you to thrive. Essentially, it involves slowly creating life that you want to be present for.

Why not also consider what helps you to motivate your personality type? External accountability in the form of a group challenge, like my Alcohol Freedom Small Group Coaching Challenges perhaps? Listen to podcasts, engage in a alcohol freedom course or podcast and find your people are also great tips.

Whatever your motivation is for drinking less, keep going! It’s worth it.

Yours faithfully

Common Alcohol Myths

Let’s debunk some common alcohol myths that many call on (including me back in the day!) to justify drinking large quantities and to offset thoughts of slowing down.

Myth 1: “Alcohol Relieves Stress and Anxiety”


Alcohol is both a depressant and a stimulant, releasing dopamine in the first 20 minutes but then counteracting this with chemicals, dynorphin and stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which stay in our bodies a whole lot longer than the dopamine. This leads to greater stress, 3am wake up, hanxiety and the rest. So no, alcohol does not relieve stress and anxiety. It exacerbates and fuels it and can contribute to a booze and burnout cycle.

Myth 2: “A Nightcap Helps You Sleep Better”:


 Contrary to popular belief, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns. While it may initially induce drowsiness, it interferes with the deeper stages of sleep, resulting in poorer overall sleep quality. Long-term alcohol use can contribute to insomnia and other sleep disorders. Those stress hormones previously mentioned means that your REM sleep (the restorative deep sleep) is impeded, playing havoc with memory, focus and clarity. Do you ruminate on thoughts before sleep? This could in fact be alcohol.

Myth 3: “Red Wine Is Good for Your Health” 


This is a big big myth designed to sell more wine! Red wine contains antioxidants, particularly resveratrol (found in grape skins), which may have minor potential health benefits. However the damage to your health caused by alcohol (ie the liver damage, cardiovascular pressure, increased risk of 7 types of cancers, including breast cancer) far outweighs this negligible benefit. Stick to grape juice for resveratol…

Myth 4: “You Can’t Be Addicted to Wine or Beer, Only Hard Liquor”


The notion that certain types of alcohol are less addictive than others is a big myth. While the alcohol content may vary, the potential for addiction exists across all types of alcoholic types. Addiction is more about the relationship with alcohol and the individual’s susceptibility than the type of drink consumed.

Myth 5: “If You Can Function at Work, You Don’t Have a Drinking Problem:


High-functioning alcoholism is a real issue in every profession that is often overlooked. Just because someone maintains their job and responsibilities doesn’t mean they don’t have a drinking problem. Alcohol Use Disorders are often pushed underground due to fear of reputational damage. Functionality can mask underlying issues, making it essential to consider overall health and well-being when assessing alcohol consumption.

Myth 6: “Alcoholism Is a Sign of Weakness or Lack of Willpower”


Alcohol Use Disorder is a complex condition influenced by genetic, environmental and psychological factors. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a lack of willpower. Some of the smartest and successful leaders who show tenacity and strength in most sectors of their life have admitted to personal problems with alcohol. It’s addictive. It’s heavily marketed to hook you in. It’s everywhere. Understanding alcohol from this perspective can reduce stigma and encourage individuals to seek help without judgement.

Myth 7: “Alcohol Helps Networking Making You More Conversational and Interesting”


While some may feel more relaxed or uninhibited under the influence of alcohol, the idea that it enhances networking is a myth. In reality, alcohol impairs cognitive function, including creative thinking, memory, logical thought processes and problem-solving. Relying on alcohol as a creative stimulant can hinder genuine innovation and artistic expression. What’s more, clients notice! They notice when people become louder, argumentative, and conversations tend to become a little more one sided. In reality an alcohol free professional is laser focussed, authentic and tends to remember their client’s names and conversations more readily!

Myth 8: “If I choose not to drink I will be left out”


This can feel like it’s true. I hear you. But I promise its a myth. What I want to stress here is that you have likely used alcohol for decades as a social security blanket, so you are going to feel quite raw and vulnerable without it at the start of going AF. Remember you are playing the long game of living a healthier and happier life. It gets easier. Your close friends will help you. However the majority out there will not even notice! As long as you keep showing up, doing what you enjoy doing, and connecting with people who you love and enjoy hanging out with, you will always fit in. It may just take some practice at the start.

Email if you have any questions. Always happy to help.

Yours faithfully

Alcohol & Social Anxiety

Did you know that alcohol is a “safety behaviour”?

A safety behaviour is a behaviour that we carry out to avoid discomfort in an anxious-inducing moment to self soothe.

Alcohol is just one example of a safety behaviour. Carrying our phone around (everywhere!), constantly sipping from a large drink bottle or wearing long-sleeves and pants in summer are other examples.

All safety behaviours, particularly alcohol, exacerbate anxiety, mainly because they reinforce our beliefs that we cannot cope without them.

Drinking alcohol is like pouring fuel on anxiety. For example alcohol causes hanxiety, disrupts our REM sleep, triggers regretful conversations, takes away our motivation to get up and exercise and be healthy. It increases our stress-load in virtually every sector of our life!

What’s more, when we drink over many years, we don’t advance our social and self-regulation skills. In fact, our social development can be held in abeyance from the age that we took up drinking to socialise, leading us to develop core beliefs that we need alcohol to cope. So we deny the opportunity to show up as we truly are.

So it may not surprise you, that when we take alcohol away, we can feel rather vulnerable and anxious.

Social anxiety shows up in 4 ways: 

  • Concern around our appearance and not fitting in based on how we look
  • Feeling anxious about feeling anxious and worried if others will notice
  • Concern about the quality of our conversation, not being interesting and entertaining enough, and/or
  • A feeling that we have a perceived fatal flaw, that we are unlovable, worthless, not enough and we need to do what we can to cover this up from other people noticing this about us. 

If you tick one or more of these boxes, it does not automatically mean that you have “social anxiety” in a therapeutic sense (this would need a few sessions and a diagnosis), but it can be helpful to understand the reason behind your anxious feelings so that you can pause, cut yourself some slack and skill-up on how to regulate your anxiety and feel a little more empowered to socialise alcohol free.

These feelings come and go and can be exacerbated when various sectors of your life are challenging. For example, sometimes you feel like everything is “going well”, you feel empowered, and social anxiety is nowhere to be seen. However, in other moments, if you are feeling a little off balance due to relationship issues, work stress, financial stress, health and fitness issues… then these anxieties can flare up. 

Some tips 

  1. Consider what are your social strengths? If this is hard, what would your nearest and dearest say about you? What do they value you for in social settings? Honesty? Humour? Kindness? Name 3 – 5 if possible.
  2. Remind yourself what social settings do you prefer and feel relaxed in? What social settings do you dislike? Are you a big crowd person or a small group person? When you are heading into an uncomfortable setting, you may gain comfort from knowledge that this is not your preferred scene and to give yourself permission to leave early. Also – remember, not everyone needs to be loud, gregarious and demonstrative! Could you imagine if everyone at a gathering was? We need all personality types to make a gathering work. Remember, you are welcome, you are valued, you are loved.
  3. Acknowledge that social anxiety and negative thoughts are likely to arise in these early days of doing life without your usual safety barrier. Anxious thoughts may also arise when you are not feeling “on top of the world” or “out of your groove” which can happen to the best of us.
  4. Treat yourself kindly and know that it will get easier.
  5. Remember why not drinking is important to you.
  6. Remind yourself what your social strengths are, that you are there by choice, doing your best and that you can leave if you need.
  7. Reframe your anxiety: rather than “I am so anxious and have nothing interesting to say”, tell yourself “my anxious feelings are a sign that I care about what others think of me because I know I am worth it and deserve to be heard and seen. These feelings will pass soon.”
  8. Try to direct your focus away from your internal thoughts and focus on something external like smells, sounds, food, AF options, then ask questions! 

Good luck out there!

Email me or schedule in a discovery call if you have any questions about anxiety. Always happy to help.

Yours faithfully

Burnout – Don’t Suffer in Silence

Burnout. Burnout doesn’t discriminate. Whether you’re in healthcare, education, a caregiver or the corporate world, burnout can impact anyone.

It can often be a silent struggle. Many who are on the path to burnout or who are already there have personality types that lean towards honouring independence, not wanting to burden anyone, people pleasers, or people with huge amounts of kindness and empathy that take on the hard jobs, perfectionists, and “do-ers”. These people are often not used to putting their hand up and asking for help.

On my latest episode of De-Stress for Success, I explore what burnout feels and looks like, what the subtle signs are that may go unnoticed, and discuss strategies for both managing and recovering from it.

Burnout shares some common traits of stress but in reality it is very very different.

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive stress, often related to work or caregiving responsibilities. It is characterised by feelings of cynicism, detachment, and a sense of ineffectiveness or lack of accomplishment.

Burnout can manifest as a result of chronic workplace stress, demanding job expectations, a lack of control over your work, or an imbalance between work and personal life. You will likely feel overwhelmed, fatigued, and struggle to meet the demands responsibilities. It is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a serious health condition that can have a massive impact on your well-being and your ability to perform across most aspects of life.

It can feel like “your brain has powered down”. Like “you can do simple things to keep you alive and safe, like stack the dishwasher and get the kids to school, but more complex tasks via email, life admin and key work performance tasks are impossible” I’ve heard it said “your brain is in a fog, your limns are heavy, you are a shadow of your former self”.

Common contributors

Common contributors to burnout are:

  1. Excessive Workload: Being consistently overworked, having unrealistic job expectations, or facing unmanageable workloads can lead to burnout. This often includes long working hours, tight deadlines, and a lack of resources or support.
  2. Lack of Control: Feeling a lack of control over one’s work or decision-making processes can contribute to burnout. When individuals perceive a loss of autonomy, it can lead to a sense of helplessness and frustration.
  3. Lack of Recognition and Rewards: Not receiving acknowledgment for your efforts and achievements, or feeling undervalued in the workplace, can contribute to burnout. Recognition and positive feedback are crucial for maintaining motivation and job satisfaction.
  4. Poor Work-Life Balance: An imbalance between work and personal life, where work demands encroach on personal time and space, can lead to burnout. A constant feeling of being on-call or unable to disconnect contributes to sustained stress.
  5. Unclear Job Expectations: Lack of clarity regarding roles, responsibilities, and expectations can create confusion and stress. When individuals are uncertain about what is expected of them, it can lead to a sense of inadequacy and frustration.
  6. Mismatched Values: Misalignment between an individual’s personal values and the values of the organisation can contribute to burnout. Feeling disconnected from the purpose or mission of the work can diminish motivation.
  7. Lack of Social Support: A lack of support from colleagues, supervisors, or a sense of isolation in the workplace can contribute to burnout. Having a strong social support network is essential for coping with stress.
  8. Job Insecurity: Fear of job loss or constant uncertainty about the stability of employment can create a persistent state of anxiety and stress, contributing to burnout.
  9. Caregiving overload: Looking after family members, parenting children with special needs, feeling stressed and emotionally on edge and unsafe in our own home. It can feel like you are in survival mode, contributing to overwhelming stress and anxiety.


While burnout can affect individuals in various professions and roles, certain jobs and work environments are more commonly associated with a higher risk of burnout due to specific characteristics of the work. Here are some of them:

  1. Healthcare Professionals: Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers often face high-pressure environments, long working hours, and emotional strain, contributing to a higher risk of burnout.
  2. Caregivers: looking after family members, parenting children with special needs, feeling stressed and emotionally on edge and unsafe in our own home.
  3. Emergency Services Personnel: Firefighters, paramedics, and police officers frequently work in stressful and high-stakes situations, leading to a higher likelihood of burnout.
  4. Social Workers: Those in social work roles, dealing with challenging cases and often facing limited resources, may experience emotional exhaustion and burnout.
  5. Educators: Teachers and professors can face significant stress due to large workloads, classroom management challenges, and changes in educational policies.
  6. Human Services and Non-profit Workers: Individuals working in roles that involve helping marginalized or vulnerable populations may face emotional strain and burnout due to the intensity of their work.
  7. Customer Service Representatives: Dealing with challenging customers, repetitive tasks, and high call volumes can contribute to burnout in customer service roles.
  8. Information Technology Professionals: Long hours, tight deadlines, and the pressure to keep up with rapidly evolving technologies can lead to burnout among IT professionals.
  9. Corporate Executives and Managers: High-level executives and managers may experience burnout due to the pressure of decision-making, responsibility for the success of the organisation, and demanding work schedules.
  10. Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners: The combination of high responsibility, financial pressures, and the need to wear multiple hats in a small business can contribute to burnout.
  11. Journalists and Media Professionals: Constant deadlines, high-pressure environments, and exposure to distressing news can lead to burnout in journalism and media roles.
  12. Legal Professionals: Lawyers and legal professionals often face demanding workloads, high expectations, and the emotional toll of dealing with legal issues.

Clearly burnout does not discriminate. Factors such as organisational culture, job demands, and personal resilience play a significant role in an individual’s susceptibility to burnout.

 It’s Often a Silent Struggle

Burnout isn’t just about being tired or stressed; it’s a multidimensional experience that affects every aspect of your being. It’s a relentless exhaustion that seeps into your bones, a persistent feeling of being overwhelmed by even the smallest tasks. You may find yourself questioning the purpose and passion that once fuelled your work, leading to a sense of disillusionment.

Recognising the Signs

Recognising the signs early and taking proactive steps to address these contributing factors is crucial in preventing and managing burnout.

In fact, recognising that you may in fact have it is the first step toward recovery. Its that recognition that this is beyond your every day feeling of fatigue, that it is prolonged, not going away by itself and it is not your fault. You are not simply being lazy, unmotivated. It is something quite different that needs pro-active help and change.

Signs may manifest physically, emotionally, or behaviourally. Physical signs include persistent headaches, fatigue, and changes in sleep patterns. Emotional indicators may range from heightened irritability to a pervasive sense of cynicism. Behaviourally, you might notice increased absenteeism, withdrawal from social activities, or a decline in productivity.

Here’s a breakdown of what may happen to you mentally and physically when you experience burnout:


  1. Emotional Exhaustion:

   – Constant feelings of fatigue and being emotionally drained.

   – Difficulty coping with daily stressors.

   – Emotional numbness or a sense of detachment.

  1. Cynicism and Detachment:

   – Developing a negative and cynical attitude towards work, colleagues, or life in general.

   – Feeling emotionally distant or detached from others.

  1. Reduced Sense of Accomplishment:

   – Diminished feelings of competence and successful achievement.

   – A sense of ineffectiveness and a lack of satisfaction in one’s accomplishments.

  1. Impaired Cognitive Function:

   – Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.

   – Memory lapses and forgetfulness.

   – Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills.

  1. Increased Irritability and Frustration:

   – Heightened levels of irritability and impatience.

   – Difficulty managing interpersonal relationships.

  1. Loss of Motivation:

   – Decreased enthusiasm and passion for work or previously enjoyed activities.

   – Feeling demotivated and indifferent towards personal and professional goals.

  1. Depersonalisation:

   – Treating people as objects rather than individuals with emotions.

   – Developing a sense of emotional withdrawal and distance from others.


  1. Sleep Disturbances:

   – Insomnia or difficulties falling asleep.

   – Disrupted sleep patterns, leading to poor-quality rest.

  1. Physical Fatigue:

   – Persistent feelings of physical tiredness and weakness.

   – Generalized fatigue, even after adequate rest.

  1. Headaches and Muscle Tension:

   – Increased frequency of headaches.

   – Tension in muscles, leading to pain and discomfort, especially in the neck and shoulders.

  1. Gut Issues:

   – Digestive problems, such as stomach-aches, indigestion, or irritable bowel syndrome.

  1. Weakened Immune System:

   – Increased susceptibility to illnesses and infections.

   – Slower recovery from common illnesses.

  1. Changes in Appetite:

   – Changes in eating habits, such as overeating or loss of appetite.

   – Weight fluctuations due to altered eating patterns.

  1. Cardiovascular Issues:

   – Increased risk of cardiovascular problems due to prolonged stress.

   – Elevated blood pressure and heart rate.

  1. Compromised Mental Health:

   – Increased vulnerability to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

   – Higher risk of developing chronic conditions if burnout persists.

Unhealthy coping strategies – such as alcohol.

Alcohol often goes hand in hand with high stress and impending burnout. Alcohol is an “easy quick fix” to numb, de-stress, cope and self-medicate with stress, uncomfortable feelings and unhappiness. It can also be used to try to seek energy to pick you out of a slump to do the heavy lifting and get through the chores and … well… life.

In reality, alcohol fuels burnout and vice versa. A burnout / alcohol cycle is a fast track way to a train crash. Please listen to my earlier episode on alcohol and stress to learn more about the alcohol and burnout connection.

 Managing and Recovering From Burnout

Managing burnout addressing both the symptoms and root causes.

Establishing boundaries is crucial – learn to say no and prioritise your time is important. This can be a really hard task if your willingness to go the extra mile, to do the hard tasks to keep the peace or to take on the caregiver role in your family – has been how you operate and how others see how you operate. So it can take a lot of work, confidence building, role playing and experimenting with various ways to establish boundaries.  A whole episode can be formulated on this alone!

Learn to Say No: Recognize your limits and don’t be afraid to decline additional responsibilities or commitments when you feel overwhelmed. Saying no is an essential part of self-preservation.

Regular breaks, even short ones during the workday, can make a significant difference: By this it is firstly becoming aware that taking a break is not a selfish act. Rather it is an act of survival. Checking in a few times a day and asking yourself how you are feeling, how stressed are you on a scale of 1 – 10. So many people that I know operate on a scale of 8 or 9 all day for the moment they wake up and walk through the door. But stress is accumulative. You need to release the valve through the day before you walk in the door. A cup of tea in the sun, breath exercises, a walk outside in some greenery with a mate, a laugh, an exercise, or as Prof Selena Bartlett says – to view a panoramic view.

Check your self talk: what do you say to yourself, are you ruminating, catastrophising or are you talking down to yourself. This can greatly impact your mood and behaviours. Try to be gentle and talk to yourself like you would to your nearest and dearest. With kindness, compassion and motivating love.

Delegating tasks is a skill, it is a part of boundary settling and it involves seeking support from colleagues fosters a collaborative environment, lightening the burden on you.

Another critical aspect of managing burnout is revisiting your goals and expectations: Set realistic targets and celebrate small victories. Quality should triumph over quantity, and finding purpose in your work can reignite the passion that burnout has dampened. Redefining what success looks like for you.

Joy in the little things: Make time for hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Regular Exercise: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever and can contribute to better mental and physical well-being.

Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practice mindfulness, meditation, or deep-breathing exercises to manage stress. These techniques can help you stay grounded and focused.

The Road to Recovery

Recovery from burnout is a process, not a destination and it is often not linear. Seeking professional help, such as counselling or even coaching, can explore the root causes and develop coping mechanisms. Taking a break, whether it’s a vacation or a sabbatical, can offer distance to gain perspective. But it won’t fix burnout. Those strategies designed above will set you on the right path.

Building a support network is equally essential. As is self compassion. Go slow. Be patient and kind to yourself.

Time to Recover

The average time it takes for a person to recover from burnout can vary significantly based on individual factors, the severity of burnout, and the effectiveness of coping strategies and support systems. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as recovery is a highly personal and nuanced process. However, here are some general observations:

  1. Mild Burnout:

   – Individuals experiencing mild burnout symptoms may see improvement within a few weeks to a couple of months with proactive self-care, lifestyle adjustments, and support.

  1. Moderate Burnout:

   – For those with more moderate burnout, recovery may take several months. It often involves a combination of addressing workplace stressors, implementing coping mechanisms, and seeking professional support.

  1. Severe Burnout:

   – Severe burnout, characterized by profound physical and mental exhaustion, can lead to a more extended recovery period. It might take several months to a year or more to regain full functioning and well-being.

  1. Chronic Burnout:

   – Chronic burnout, where symptoms have persisted for an extended period, may require a more prolonged recovery timeline. Addressing underlying issues and making significant lifestyle changes may be necessary.

  1. Ongoing Maintenance:

   – Even after the acute phase of burnout, individuals may need to continue practicing self-care, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and implementing stress-management strategies to prevent relapse.

Factors such as the presence of underlying health conditions, the level of social support, the effectiveness of coping mechanisms, and the ability to make positive changes in the work environment all contribute to the timeline for recovery.

Ultimately, the key to recovery from burnout lies in recognizing the signs early, addressing contributing factors, and adopting sustainable lifestyle changes to promote overall well-being.

Preventing burnout is crucial for maintaining overall well-being and sustained productivity.

By implementing these tips, you can proactively address stressors, foster a healthy work environment, and reduce the risk of burnout. Remember that preventing burnout is an ongoing process, and it requires consistent effort to maintain a sustainable and fulfilling work-life balance.


In a world that often glorifies hustle and constant productivity, burnout can sneak up on you. So try to getting early and recognise some of these symptoms before you are forced to do so. By acknowledging the silent struggle, understanding the signs, and actively managing and recovering, we can reclaim our sense of balance and purpose. Let’s cultivate a culture that values not just productivity but the holistic well-being of individuals.

Labelling drinking or not drinking as “good” or “bad” can set yourself up for a stressful ride and perhaps failure

 Drinking is not good or bad. It just is.

When trying not to drink or to drink less, it’s easy to fall into the trap of labelling not drinking “being good” and drinking occasions as “being bad.” However labelling drinking as “good” or “bad” can set yourself up for a stressful ride and perhaps failure.

Here is why.

The All-or-Nothing Mentality: Guilt, shame, demotivation and deprivation!

Labelling drinking as “good” or “bad” tends to foster an all-or-nothing mentality.

When we perceive a drinking occasion as “bad,” a single slip-up can trigger feelings of failure. This mindset discourages resilience and makes it challenging to bounce back from setbacks, hindering long-term success from reflecting on what happened constructively.

Likewise, when we perceive our non-drinking phase as “good”, we can feel under pressure to perform, be “perfect” and keep up the hard work, attracting feelings of deprivation. What can also happen is that when your goal is achieved (ie 2 “good days” in a row, 100 days or FebFast), you can feel a sudden urge to relax, cave in and reward yourself with a few.

Rather than viewing your alcohol-free goals as something that has a start date and end date or an event that is to be “won” or “lost”, view it as something that can either lead you to feel more energetic and healthier or fatigued and unwell. Can you think of it as the new normal that you strive for with no “win” or “lose” values attached to it?

Rigidity and Unrealistic Standards is exhausting!

Labelling yourself good or bad if you drink or not can contribute to the establishment of rigid and unrealistic standards. This rigidity makes it difficult to maintain a balanced and sustainable approach to your health goals around alcohol.

It’s exhausting to be perfect all the time! Anxiety and stress becomes proportionate to whether you are meeting your self-imposed standards and may overshadow the positive aspects of adopting healthier habits. The pressure to adhere to these standards may lead to burnout or abandonment of the pursuit of a not drinking, leading to a big drinking session.

Attaching moral judgements to our drinking choices can be counterproductive. 

The fact is you are a good person now. You are a good person if you drink. You are a good person if you do not. Attaching your self-worth to an external substance is mis-directed and it gives alcohol way too much power in determining your happiness and stress levels. We are much more than a person who drinks or doesn’t drink. We are humans doing the best we can striving to live in accordance with our values.

So, let’s break free from this good / bad, success / failure paradigm.



  • Acknowledge. Recognise when you notice yourself labelling your not drinking days as “being good” and any data points as “being bad”.
  • Feeling-based goal. Go-back to your feeling-based goal around alcohol. My goal each day is to feel “calm”, “energetic”, “self-confident” as opposed to “my goal is to not drink for February”. You know what yours is!
  • Know this. Your desire to drink is powered by your subconscious mind and all of the beliefs that it has gathered over the course of your life in your internal and external environment around alcohol that has told you that this external substance will enhance you.This is not true. These beliefs are not your fault. Your beliefs around alcohol do not determine if you are a good or bad person. You are human and are doing your best.
  • Reframe. Instead, go with compassion and get curious about your limiting beliefs and all of your personal internal stories that you have been exposed to that is fuelling your desire. Put them on trial and turn them around using the ACT technique.
  • New mantra. Try saying. “My goal is to feel stronger, healthier, happier and I know that I feel better when I am not drinking. I know I feel better waking up without a hangover. This is based on evidence. I am a good person. I will always be a good person. Drinking or not drinking is not a reflection of whether I am good or bad. It just is.

Does this resonate with you?

Book in for a confidential free no obligation chat if you would like to talk about your drinking or not drinking goals: Book here.

Kind regards


Why Knowing Your Core Values is Key to Curating A Successful Life

It’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly important to us. In my latest podcast episode of De-Stress for Success, I discuss how our personal values have a profound impact on our journey towards a fulfilling life.

We all stand at a crossroad in life at some point, questioning the essentials that shape our existence and future. In these moments, understanding and aligning with our core values can be the lighthouse guiding us through uncertainty. The earliest values we adopt often serve as benchmarks for our satisfaction, and it’s crucial to recognise that daily actions in sync with these values can significantly reduce stress and inject meaning into every facet of life.

My discussion centres on the tools necessary for living a life that’s harmonious with what matters most to us, ensuring that each day echoes our innermost beliefs and vision of success. This is not just about self-discovery but also about applying this newfound understanding to make decisions that resonate with our values, releasing us from undue stress and moving us towards purpose and meaning.

Values are often innate, tracing back to our childhood inclinations and the fundamental traits that define us. However, they can shift as we navigate through different life stages. What might have once been valued—money, status, possessions—can later be eclipsed by the pursuit of family time, work-life balance, health, or creativity.

Defining your values begins with reflection on your life’s proudest and most fulfilling moments. By analysing these experiences, we can discern the common threads that define what we hold dear. The exercise extends beyond mere identification; it requires us to deeply consider which values resonate with us, giving us a sense of purpose and pride.

Think of experiences have made you feel truly alive, empowered, full of excitement and like ‘everything feels just right’. What were you doing in these moments? Who were you with? What were you thinking? How did you do it? You may have several examples, but you only need 2 or more to undertake this exercise.

Some examples that I know of that have been sourced from conversations I have had with others include:

  • Travelling to Nepal,
  • Breaking up with my partner just before the wedding,
  • Volunteering for Lifeline,
  • Volunteering for a youth mentoring organisation,
  • Standing up for a friend, studying overseas,
  • Undertaking a painting course,
  • Studying for my Masters on Environmental Law
  • Giving up Alcohol

What are the common themes in the examples that you came up with? Resilience? Creativity? Justice? Empathy? Creativity? Honesty? Friendship? Collaboration.

From these pool of values, choose the 3 top values that you feel truly resonate with you, feel right and excite you. Would your closest friends agree? Would you feel like these vales could guide you through tough decisions.

As we continue on this podcast series, I’ll emphasise the importance of curating a life that aligns with our definition of success. Identifying our values is foundational to this process, serving as a blueprint for crafting a life that feels authentic and fulfilling. When we understand our values, they become a powerful tool in decision-making, helping us choose paths that lead to a less stressful, more rewarding existence.

I encourage you to engage with this episode actively, to reflect on your core values, and consider how these principles can guide you in daily life.

It’s a starting point for positive change, for making informed choices that align with who you are and who you aspire to be.

As we gear up for 2024, let this episode be your catalyst for embracing a value-driven life—one that answers the questions of passion, purpose, and personal success. Remember, understanding your values is just the beginning. The real transformation happens when you align your life with them, creating a harmonious and satisfying journey.

Join me as I uncover the role of values in defining success and how living true to these values can be the essence of a life well-lived. It’s time to bring your personal values to the forefront and set the course for a stress-free and meaningful path forward.

Listen to this episode here or on your favourite podcast platform.

Secret Drinking Red Flag Alert: Sneaking a Cheeky Pour to Drinking Home Alone

In our latest Not Drinking Today Podcast episode, we tackle the topic of hidden or secret drinking.

It’s underground. It’s shameful. It’s dangerous and it is happening in households all around us. Many hiding their drinking look great on the outside (for a while, for years even) and many do not know why they are doing it. They want out, but it’s a really hard behaviour to fess up to. It’s very personal, runs deep and very confusing.

In this episode, I chat about the reasons behind this behaviour and its potential consequences. From using alcohol as a coping mechanism to feeling misunderstood, we uncover the triggers that contribute to hidden drinking at home.
Secret drinking… can be as ‘small’ as:

👉 Sneaking an extra cheeky glass without your partner knowing

👉 Drinking a glass or 2 before a party and denying it

👉 Hiding your glass (in the pantry? Behind the toaster?)

and it can turn into:

👉 Hiding a bottle (under the sink? in a drawer?)

👉 Hiding empties (and waiting until bin day)

👉 Drinking in a coffee cup to hide the alcohol

👉 Drinking home alone and denying it

Then grow into something quite serious, like

👉 Drinking in the morning when your partner and kids leave

The list goes on.

Hiding things, being dishonest about your drinking, no matter how small at first, can lead to feelings of emptiness (as no one truly knows who you are and what you are doing – even yourself) which contributes to the cycle.

Secret drinking often starts with sneaking an extra glass here, having a few drinks before social gatherings there. However, it can easily and quickly spiral into a full-blown hidden drinking habit that leaves you unrecognisable even to yourself. The way out can be fraught with challenges, but you are not alone! There is hope!

Hidden drinking often stems from a complex web of emotional needs, silent protests, and coping mechanisms. For some, it’s an expression of autonomy, a misguided adventure into the illusion of freedom. For others, it’s a reaction to feeling misunderstood or overwhelmed by societal and personal pressures. These motivations are often compounded by the dangerous cycle of secrecy, which can erode one’s sense of self-worth and perpetuate further drinking.

Through the podcast, I share my personal experience with this but also provide professional advice on how to recognise and address these hidden drinking behaviours. I really want to emphasise the importance of seeking help when physical addiction becomes a concern, and how vital it is to view the secrecy surrounding one’s drinking as a red flag signalling the need for change.

One of the more powerful aspects is addressing this type of drinking behaviour is radical honesty. This transformative approach involves being candid about all aspects of life, not just alcohol consumption. Radical honesty can foster awareness, create intimate human connections, and lead to a truthful autobiography that holds one accountable (see Dr Anna Lembke’s book Dopamine Nation). By embracing this level of openness, individuals can step out of survival mode and into a life of authenticity.

The episode also touches upon the societal disconnect between public personas and private struggles. Many who secretly drink may maintain a façade of perfection or success, while internally battling with their relationship with alcohol. My personal journey highlights the importance of aligning one’s life with true values and desires, a step that can lead to a more fulfilling existence.

If you have a story to share on this topic, please let me know! It creates hope for others. It invites those who might be silently struggling to step forward and begin their own journeys towards sobriety and self-expression.

Recognising the need for change and the desire for a life that resonates with one’s true self can be an exciting realisation. It’s a journey that can be taken independently or with support, but it always begins with the first step of acknowledging the issue.

For those seeking to understand the silent struggle of hidden drinking, this episode serves as a beacon of hope. Hopefully my openness and honesty can provide one person with a pathway to follow, shedding light on a subject that too often remains in the shadows. My message is clear: living authentically and in alignment with one’s values is not only possible but also deeply liberating.

Link to this episode is here