EP #123

Mental Health Awareness Month

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In this episode, Molly introduces a program called “Step One,” which she is set to launch, offering a comprehensive framework to assist those seeking to change their relationship with alcohol. The episode delves into mental health awareness, discussing the impact of location on mental well-being, the connection between nature and mental health, and the significance of addressing clutter and sleep conditions. Molly stresses the importance of seeking help from Mental Health America for those struggling with mental health issues and highlights that overdrinking doesn’t solve these challenges.

Hey, it’s Molly from alcohol minimalist. What do you do in this October? I would love to have you join me in my more sober October challenge. What do I mean by more sober October, it simply means that we’re going to add in more alcohol free days than you currently been doing, whether that’s one or two or 31. It’s up to you, you get to set your own goal and that’s why it’s more sober October. You can check it out and learn more at get got sunnyside.co/molly It’s totally free. I’ve got prizes, I’m going to be going live every week to announce the prize winners. And it’s just going to be an awesome event. So I would love to have you join me. You can learn more at get.sunnyside.co/molly and you can get registered today. Welcome to the alcohol minimalist podcast. I’m your host Molly watts. If you want to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, you’re in the right place. This podcast explores the strategies I use to overcome a lifetime of family alcohol abuse, more than 30 years of anxiety and worry about my own drinking and what felt like an unbreakable daily drinking habit. Becoming an alcohol minimalist means removing excess alcohol from your life. So it doesn’t remove you from life. It means being able to take alcohol or leave it without feeling deprived. It means to live peacefully, being able to enjoy a glass of wine without feeling guilty and without needing to finish the bottle. With Science on our side will shatter your past patterns and eliminate your excuses. Changing your relationship with alcohol is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well hello and welcome or welcome back to the alcohol minimalist podcast. With me your host Molly Watts coming to you from Wow, it’s really foggy this morning. That I was not expecting lots of fog. Yesterday on my way home. It was a downpour to Rachel downpour. Like I had to drive through standing water on a very busy arterial that was more than two feet high. Literally two feet high. It was crazy. But guess what is coming ahead. That’s right here in the Pacific Northwest. We are anticipating the 90s. That’s 90s Fahrenheit for all of you Celsius fans over the weekend. Happy Mother’s Day to me and Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there. What a treat for me to have a really sunny hot day on Mother’s Day. That is awesome. That’s right. I just love warm weather. I love that even when it’s that hot. I’m super excited. Looking forward to that and wishing you all a very happy Mother’s Day to those of you that are moms out there. Today, before we get into the show, I actually have a prize winner. Just as a reminder, if you would like to be a prize winner, all you got to do is leave a review of the podcast and or my book breaking the bottle legacy. Leave it wherever you listen to podcasts wherever you picked up the book and I will find you and enter you into the drawing. This week’s prize winner is from a Amazon review of the book breaking the bottle legacy and it is Kenzi Williams Kenzi. If you are listening, then you are this week’s prize winner. All you got to do is email me Molly at Molly watts.com. Let me know that it is you. And here’s what Kenzie had to say. She says Molly has created an instrumental read with breaking the bottle legacy. With clear and relatable writing Molly adeptly maneuvers, the complexities of personal drinking habits. Her deeply honest and thoughtful approach builds an immediate connection with the reader taking you on a journey of discovery and growth with a newfound confidant, a great read for anyone who is looking to understand their relationship with alcohol from an informed and practical perspective. Wow. Thank you very much, Kenzie. I appreciate that. And I appreciate you sharing that review. Folks leaving a review I get so many people telling me that they love the podcast or they love my work. They use that word I’m not I’m just repeating what they tell me. And if those all that translated to actual reviews, it would be so awesome because actually gaining reviews is what helps other people who are searching for help in changing their relationship with alcohol. Find this podcast so if you have not left a review, please just I don’t Would you just go and Take the two seconds to, to jump in. If you don’t want to be entered into a prize drawing, you don’t have to write anything, just click the Click the number of stars and it helps. That’s what I got to say about that. But if you’d like to enter in for a prize drawing, you get a, a nice journal and some some alcohol. minimalists swag. If you do, hey, it’s not it’s not a bad thing, right. Another thing I want to share before we get into the show, and it’s something that I’m really excited about, it’s actually appropriate that I’m announcing it this week. Because this week’s episode, we’re going to be talking all about mental health and mental health awareness. And I have finally finished work on something that I think will be a great tool for people who want to start the work of changing their relationship with alcohol. But for many reasons, they just keep putting it off. Or it seems like a lot, it’s just it’s or they’re in a they’re in a tough mental space. Right. What I’ve got for you combines something that I know a lot of you have been waiting for, actually. And that is the audio version of my book breaking the bottle legacy. Additionally, you will get if you join this week long program that I’ve put together, a week long program of seven daily emails that you get worksheets and tools that are included with that week long program, you’re also going to get a very special video training on something that goes hand in hand, I believe with improving mental health, and that is creating new beliefs. Nowhere else have I shared my four s new belief system, and it’s what will help you do the work of changing your self limiting and negative thinking. And everything is bundled up in what I’m calling the seven day quickstart guide to alcohol, minimalist living. For a limited time, you can get that seven day quickstart guide which includes the seven days of email support the three plus hour audio book, its 30 Day companion guide, the new four s belief system, video training, and all of it, where I teach you my system for creating new beliefs. You get this all for $27 This is your opportunity to learn from me to dedicate a week to streamlining your learning to start process of sustainable change. Now I will tell you, I’ve heard other programs with promises like sober and seven or sober survival guide and a seven day detox. This is not what I am doing. Okay? This is not those, you will not become an alcohol minimalist in a week. Anybody that tells you that you can change everything in a week, I would never believe them. What you can do is start, you can learn you can begin to implement what you learn, and you can begin doing the work of changing your drinking habits. Now this is the only way you’re going to be able to get the audio book. It won’t be available on Audible or other audio booksellers. If you really want to hear the book read by me and get the added bonus of the seven day quickstart guide. All you got to do is go to Molly watts.com/quickstart Qu IC K sta RT, Molly watts.com/quickstart. And you can learn more and sign up today. Right. on to this week’s show. You may not be aware last week I talked about the fact that may is better sleep month. May is also mental health awareness month. And mental health may be if not just as important, certainly equally as important as sleep a part of sleep. Sleep is a part of mental health right. But mental health awareness month actually began in the United States in 1949. And was started by the Mental Health America organization. And I am really excited to talk with you about this because it’s just so important. And each year Mental Health America provides a toolkit for outreach during May. And a lot of what I’m sharing with you today is coming from that for 2023. It always has a theme in 2020 and 2021. The theme was tools to thrive and of course when we were faced with the unprecedented stress of a global pandemic tools were very, very important and thriving was important during that time, right in terms of mental health being able to thrive despite everything that was going on in the world. Last year in 2022. The theme was back to basics, which again I really like because as we began to emerge out Have COVID Just reminding ourselves about life going back to some of the basics that we we’ve forgotten and just getting so out of rhythm with, with what we went for what our normal was. Now we have this different a new normal, but I think things of at least for me, they feel like they’re coming back to normal. We’re no longer I think just last week, right? Or maybe maybe it’s two weeks ago now. It’s no longer a global threat. COVID is not recognized as a global threat any longer. And in 2023, the theme for mental health, America’s mental health awareness month here in May, is look around, look within, which I think is really perfect. Again, I’m going to be including links in the show notes for many of the resources from Mental Health America, please check them out. You can also download your own toolkit read a lot of all of this with all of the resources bundled together, and again, I will provide that link as well. The link between mental health and substance abuse is very clear. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 17 million US adults experienced both mental illness and substance use disorder in 2020 17 million from a 2017 study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They said of the 20 point 3 million adults with substance use disorders 37.9% also had mental illnesses. Also, among the 42 point 1 million adults with mental illness 18.2% also had substance use disorders. So we aren’t suggesting that one become one comes from the other. Right? It isn’t necessarily people that people with mental health struggles use substances in an attempt to self medicate. It could also be the opposite, right that the substance use disorders cause the mental health illnesses. But comorbidity simply means what these statistics suggest is that each condition is simultaneously present with the other. There is a clear link between substance abuse use disorders and mental illness. You all know I’m a science girl and that is why I am so proud of my partnership with Sunnyside. Sunnyside has great data based on their user experience and they also have great science techniques behind what drives the program in the first place. Users of Sunnyside in their first 30 days experience on average a 29% reduction in drinks. They avoid 1500 calories and they’ve saved over $50 each month. This is because there is science behind the program. Sunnyside helps you reach your goals and stick with them long term by focusing on three scientifically proven superpowers. One is pre commitment, you intentionally make a plan ahead of time and we talk about making a plan all the time here on the podcast. Number two is conscious interference. And you’ll learn that the habit of tracking each drink helps you decide about it. Number three is positivity. We know this is not easy sometimes right. And we all need a little boost, I tried to be a boost and sunny side is a great boost via text message or email to keep you motivated. So if you haven’t already checked it out, I invite you www.sunnyside.co/molly To get started on a free 15 day trial today. I’ve talked to hundreds of people about their alcohol use and I know from my own drinking habits, that when I improved my mental health practices, which in my opinion included learning how to manage my mind to become a better thinker. This is when sustainable change happened for me. And it’s why talking about mental health, taking care of mental health. improving mental health awareness in our communities is so important. What I love about this year’s message from Mental Health America look around look within is that it reminds us that our mental health is not just an inside job. Yes, the thinking the managing of the mind that is within. But we also need to look around us we need to look around at our communities. Some of the statistics that I learned from Mental Health America not only surprised me they really saddened me. Did you know that your zip code plays a role in your mental Health in your overall health. So really, it might surprise you to learn that up to 60% of your health is determined by where you live. Your neighborhood, along with your town and larger geographical region impacts your sense of community and belonging and determines how easily you can access the things and services you need, including for your mental health. One of the biggest ways your location can impact your mental health is simply how easy or how hard it is to access the things you need. This includes healthy food, safe outdoor space, quality medical care, and public transportation, which still may not get you where you need to go in a reasonable amount of time, even when you do have access. When you don’t have easy access to things like healthy food safe outdoor space, these things impact your mental health. Because local income taxes usually fund public services, low income areas are often under resourced in quality education, road maintenance, community programs, and more, which can make it difficult for people to meet their basic needs. Black Indigenous and People of Color are and other marginalized communities often feel these strains the hardest. roughly 6% of the people in the United States live in what’s called a food desert, which is an area with limited options to get affordable and healthy food. Food deserts often lead to food insecurity, which is associated with increased stress and depression. In fact, in young adults, food insecurity often co occurs with suicidal thoughts and substance use. If you do live in a food desert, gosh, that is 6% of the people. So not a huge majority of the people in the US United States. But for those that do, that’s a real struggle, even for people in communities that wouldn’t be considered a food desert. There’s many people struggling and I hope that if you’re not one of the strugglers that you are able to effect change in that in that area for your community. Additionally, each year, 3.6 million people in the US go without health services, because they don’t have a car, they don’t have access to public transportation, or another way to get appointments. It’s hard knowing that so many people are struggling to have their basic needs met, which impacts their mental health, and that impacts all of us. But we cannot stay stuck there. We can’t allow this data to steer our own thinking down negative rabbit holes. The facts exist. And in our own way, we get to use this data to propel our thinking into problem solving mode. I often think of a phrase I hear Elizabeth Benton say all the time, I’m an energetic, creative problem solver. That’s that’s a mantra. I’m an energetic creative problem solver. Ask yourself what can I do to ensure that I’m dressing out addressing some of these challenges in my own home and in my community? Instead of seeing things as out of my control? How can I be an advocate for change and make healthy community connections? Here are some ideas on how you can improve access to resources and mental health resources in your own community. First and foremost, get to know your neighbors, the people around you can be a big help. When you need something. You can support each other with carpools running errands, sharing resources, connect with a group in your area where community community members share and exchange services. You also may be able to fund an organized mutual aid program. I’ve heard of these a lot in I work in senior living and they’re they’re popping up all over the country, these organized shared mutual aid programs for for senior citizens staying in their own homes. And that’s fantastic. You can also search for a local Facebook or next door group. I know we have a nextdoor group here in my neighborhood that’s very active. I don’t take advantage of using it for resources right now. But I definitely take a pulse on what’s going in going on in terms of my local neighborhood. And these these groups are focused on community support. Another way our communities can impact our mental health is access to the outdoors. And spending time in nature is obviously linked to many positive mental health outcomes. You improved focus, lower stress, better mood, and a reduced risk of developing a mental health condition. Most studies on nature and wealth, wellbeing look at green spaces like parks and forest. But researchers are also beginning to look at Blue spaces places with oceans and river views and hear in the northwest and a place when where I work, I can see the river every day and I gotta tell you, I love it. The thing is, you don’t need a picture perfect outdoor experience to get the benefits of nature. 70% of respondents to a Mental Health America connection survey reported wishing that they had more time outdoors, ideally in nature away from their neighborhoods. Cities often have more stressors to physical and mental health. But greenspace like parks and gardens can reduce their impact. Even spending some time in your own backyard. If you have one can produce positive outcomes. I definitely agree with that. I love my backyard I shared that for on the podcast. It’s probably my favorite room in my house if there if you can call it a room. And feeling connected to nature helps your mood even if you don’t spend time outdoors. Children living in neighborhoods with more green space actually had a reduced risk of developing depression, mood disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and substance use disorders. So we know that it’s important and even being in the presence of indoor plants is worthwhile. That’s where if you don’t have the capability of having a big green space, bring some plants in. Studies have found this will even improve focus memory and stress tolerance. Don’t discount the little things. While being in the wilderness is especially nice getting away I love to get away to big open spaces. Even city parks a small garden or sitting under a tree can support your mental health. bring the outdoors in like I just mentioned, adding greenery to your space can have a similar effect to seeing plants outdoors. And there’s even some plants like snake plants and bamboo palms that can purify your air. So those are good things to have. While we’re on the subject of your own home. Optimizing your space to improve your mental health is something that anyone can benefit from. Here are again some quick tips. And as a reminder, these tips all came from Mental Health America. Keeping your living space clean is shown to promote calmness and a sense of control over your day to day life. Your home environment doesn’t have to be spotless good thing, because mine’s not. But clutter can be harmful to your mental state, contributing to depression, trouble focusing confusion and stress. Not only can clutter be distracting, but it has been shown to actually make it harder for your brain to think clearly. Neatness also provides predictability, which can cut down on brain fatigue and anxiety. Less time looking for lost items or getting distracted is always a good thing. I gotta tell you, this speaks volumes to me. We’ve been on a mission in the Watts household for a while now on cleaning out our stuff and cleaning up the house. It’s got a long ways to go. But we’re making progress. And every time we get a little cleaner, a little more organized. I feel this great sense of relief for my brain. This kind of goes back to what we talked about last week we’re going to talk a little bit about sleep. because sleep is such an integral part of mental health. You got to make your bedroom sleep friendly. And I know Dr. Jade wood who I talked to last week, we didn’t talk about this too much. But I believe for good mental health it’s particularly important to pay attention to your sleeping conditions. Of course, sleep is known to Trigun or worsen mental health challenges. While getting quality rest can protect your mental health and your surroundings come into play with things like temperature, light and noise. I encourage you to go back and check out last week’s episode or Dr. Jade Wu’s book Hello sleep. For more on better sleep. And again, I will link that in the show notes. When you are struggling with your mental health, just getting through the day can be hard. But there are things you can do to your space to help yourself be more productive and to reach your goals. Ultimately, a home environment will look different from one person to the next. It might take time thoughtfulness and multiple tries to get your space to meet your needs. But eventually it will help if you make your space feel right for you. And like I said that’s something that it’s taking us proud We will probably take us the whole year, but definitely something that we are focused on here in in my house. Before we wrap up this conversation, I want to offer you one more resource from Mental Health America. Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety are real, common and treatable. And recovery is possible. If you are taking steps to improve things like we’ve talked about here, if you’re getting outside, if you’re reaching out, getting less isolated, connecting with your community, if you’re improving the overall structure of your house, making it more comfortable and more livable, and you have access to the things you need, like food and, and medical care, and all of that, if you’re doing all of these things, but you’re still struggling, you may be experiencing signs of a mental health condition. You can take a free private screening at M H A screening.org. To help you figure out what is going on and to determine next steps. Again, that’s m h a screening.org. All right, my friends, that is a lot of information in this episode. But it’s important information and hopefully some tips and some tools and some reminders about putting your mental health first. One of the things that I can absolutely share with you is that overdrinking does not solve mental health struggles. It makes them worse. You know this intellectually? I want you to remind yourself because it feels like an easy answer to escape and to buffer when we are struggling. It isn’t it’s not the answer. All it’s going to do is make things worse. Instead, make a plan ahead of time for how you want to include alcohol in your life. If you need some additional help or some resources, I encourage you to reach out to Mental Health America. And I hope that if you are not struggling, I hope that you can be a source of change in your community that you can at least provide help and support for someone else. And that’s one small step that you can take to make mental health better for all of us, which is so important. And that’s what I will end with. Until next time, my friends choose peace. Thank you for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Use something you learned in today’s episode and apply it to your life this week. Transformation is possible you have the power to change your relationship with alcohol now, for more information, please visit me at www dot Molly watts.com