What I Noticed When I Stopped Drinking for a Year

25/01/2016 10:27 GMT | Updated 22/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Over recent years Mr D and I had got into the habit of sandwiching an excessive and boozy festive season with two slices of exceptionally clean living in November and January. Once I got into the groove I always enjoyed it, especially in January, and I was always almost a little sad to return to business as usual in February. Last year I decided to do an experiment and keep going just to see what happened. During January I turned up the dial on healthy - I didn't so much focus on not drinking but rather on making my life so jam packed full of healthy and nutritious things that there simply wouldn't be room for the rest. I already had a pretty good diet, but I took the opportunity to make it better and and I drank more water, I allowed myself time to exercise more regularly, I booked massages and facials. What's not to love there?

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This is what I got up to last year in addition to the day job and some homemaking, child rearing basics:

I began blogging and was published on the Huffington Post

I spoke to a group of awesome women at Soho House, a club in London

I ran events at my office and at the fabulous School of Life on motherhood and leadership

I set up, oversaw and participated in a coaching program at work

I mentored a mum with a full-on job in the City

I travelled to San Francisco and attended a fantastic women's conference

I interviewed for a CEO job (don't tell my boss)

I enjoyed galloping my horse around fields, taking him showjumping and teaching him to go cross country, feeling the fear but doing it anyway

I really enjoyed hanging out with my kids

Time with my husband was pretty special

At social events, when I told people I didn't want a glass of wine initially they seemed a bit concerned that I wasn't entering into the spirit of fun wholeheartedly enough. But that passed. They almost always without exception told me that they didn't think they were drinking too much. I was able to enjoy myself socially without a drink in my hand - by the end of February I didn't even notice there wasn't one there.

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And I noticed these things about myself: I always sleep really well when I'm off the sauce and that continued for the whole year. 365 nights of lovely sleeps! I fell asleep earlier and slept for longer.

My skin became brighter and my hair thicker. I lost weight from my middle (but not my bum, sadly!).

I felt lighter, calmer but at the same time energized and focused. I felt a creative energy that hadn't been there for years and I was able to tap into it.

I felt like someone had turned up the volume on my sensitivity to things, especially in the first half of the year - I cried more but I also laughed more. I felt more.

Sometimes I was really grumpy or in a bad mood but I didn't feel guilty about it. I guess that's who I am. I felt a lot less guilt generally.

I enjoyed meals without drinking - the food was the star of the show.

Holidays were still fantastic when I wasn't drinking - the places were still lovely, the food delicious, and the environment relaxing.

So I think I'll carry on my experiment for the time being. Are you running any experiments? How are they working out for you? xoxoxo

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