The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

‘I’ve had to reinvent what it means to have a treat’

Pippa Best, 48, founder of Sea Soul Blessings, seasoulble­ssings.com

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I’d never been a heavy drinker but had always been happy to go out for a drink most weekends. Sometimes I had a glass of wine or a beer in the evening. It was my coping strategy for difficult days, a treat and a way of unwinding.

I’d noticed that my body’s reaction to alcohol had started to change. I wasn’t enjoying it in the same way, not getting the happy buzz anymore. I just found that it made me a bit low and tired. Still, I carried on regardless, because it is a habit. But with the onset of perimenopa­use I found I was waking up on a Monday morning after drinking on the Sunday feeling tired, headachy and grumpy. I couldn’t function as effectivel­y as I wanted to.

I stopped drinking just before the start of the first lockdown, in February 2020, as part of a dietary “cleanse” to manage my perimenopa­usal anxiety and low mood. On rare occasions since I’ve tried a sip of wine or a small beer to see what that’s like, but I really

‘I wasn’t enjoying drinking in the same way and found it made me a bit low and tired’

didn’t enjoy them at all anymore. To my adjusted palate that sip of rioja tasted like it was about 90 per cent proof! So I’m not drinking at all.

I have also discovered that I get a much more effective thrill and endorphin high from sea swimming. I’ve had to reinvent what it means to have a treat, like rediscover­ing the escapism of reading books. I have long soaks in the bath and treat myself to body scrubs and face creams.

Despite all the challenges of the last year, I haven’t felt the same levels of low mood and anxiety I felt before cutting out alcohol and changing my diet. I’ve also had a clearer head for managing the juggle of home schooling two kids while running three small businesses – I have more capacity to work late once the kids are in bed, if I need to. I also start the day feeling fresh which means I can make the most of any little window of opportunit­y to work on launching new products.

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