All you need to do is show up

show-up

I grew up somewhat shy and sheltered. In my sophomore year of college, I remember telling a friend that I was really nervous about going to a neighbor’s house party. Not only was I not a drinker, but I hadn’t been to a party where other kids my age were drinking. I had no idea how to act or what to say. I thought I would eventually do something “wrong,” and give myself away and everyone would know that I was a big weirdo. The advice I got was one of the best I’ve received: “Most people are so concerned with themselves and their own issues that they aren’t looking at or thinking of you. And these guys will probably be so drunk that they’ll act stupid themselves. But no one cares! Just go, relax and don’t worry.” And that’s exactly what I did. I don’t remember if I had a drink (probably just held a cup of beer in my hand), but I didn’t feel like I needed to drink in order to fit in.

A year later, I was now regularly going to these college parties where alcohol flowed easily. At one party, where I probably had little, if anything, to drink, I was shocked when the next day, one of the guys at the party said to me “Shilpa, I didn’t know you were so cool! You came and hung out!” I thought it was a bit funny—that’s all it takes to be considered cool? Just go and hang out?!  (Granted, he drank a bit more than me, so I am not sure what exactly he remembered). That was another lesson I learned: Sometimes, you just have to show up. That’s all it takes. You don’t have to be or do anything! And if you’re drinking to the point of losing yourself, then are you really showing up?

Those two incidents positively influenced the way I interact with alcohol. However, there were times in my life when I felt pressured to drink (for example, in the workplace happy-hour setting) or when I felt uncomfortable saying I didn’t want to drink because I didn’t want others to think I was a boring, goody-two-shoes. As I became more mindful of what I wanted and what made me truly happy, those fears wore off.  If someone has a problem with me not drinking (or not drinking as much), it is their problem. I am just as comfortable drinking water at a bar as I am drinking wine with dinner. I feel in control of, and comfortable with, how much I drink, when and where. I am okay with saying I don’t like the taste of beer. I am okay with saying I like champagne, but I know more than one glass will give me a headache (I am a lightweight and proud of it). I am okay with saying that I don’t want to go out for a drink, but would prefer tea or coffee or a bite to eat instead. For the most part, people are receptive and have even told me that they find my stance refreshing.

Note: I am not saying don’t ever drink. I am saying that it may be helpful to be more mindful of why you’re drinking and whether you are really enjoying yourself and doing it responsibly.

Sometimes, people pressure others to drink because they think they should do it (it may be a pattern for them, a way to make conversation, or perhaps because they feel awkward themselves), but for the most part, no one cares whether you are drinking. Because most people care more about themselves than about you. What matters most is how it makes you feel and what you want to do.  You don’t have to do or be anything for anyone else. You don’t have to be the most witty, interesting, charming or funny person at the party. That is a lot of pressure to put on yourself. It’s okay to fit out. It’s okay to feel any good, bad, weird or awkward emotions that arise in social settings. Everyone feels a little bit awkward sometimes.  All you need to be is your authentic self and show up.

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Warm Lemon Water

warm-lemon-water

My friends know my morning ritual. No matter where I am or how busy things become, I get in the morning, do a couple sun salutations and drink warm lemon water, workout and have breakfast.  I love lemons and always have tons of lemons in my fridge. I use them for cooking, warm lemon water, and even in DIY beauty recipes.

I’ve been drinking warm lemon water a few years and it’s one of the best habits I’ve incorporated.  It is a great and healthy way to start the day, and it makes me feel good to do something for myself. Some people may be skeptical of its benefits, but several of my friends and clients have also started drinking warm lemon water and rave about its benefits.  And when they do, I bite my tongue down to refrain from saying “I told you so!”

How to drink warm lemon water

  1. Ideally, warm lemon water should be consumed in the morning, after brushing your teeth, on an empty stomach to maximize its benefits.
  2. Water should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not boiling hot. Hot water is not ideal because it can kill the enzymes in the lemons.
  3. Juice at least 1/3 lemon in 16oz of warm water. If 16oz feels like too much, start with 8oz and work your way up.
  4. Usually, I drink to drink plain warm lemon water, but you can also try to add a pinch of cayenne or fresh grated ginger.
  5. When traveling you can pack a few lemons in your luggage or you can order warm lemon water at a restaurant when dining out.

Benefits of Warm Lemon Water

  • Hydrates – After sleeping for 7-8 hours, the body can become dehydrated from a lack of water. Warm lemon water hydrates and rejuvenates the body. In contrast, drinking coffee on an empty stomach further dehydrates because it has a diuretic effect. If you want to consume coffee, you can still do it by drinking water lemon water first, and then having coffee.
  • Warms – Warm lemon water instantly warms the body and has a calming effect.
  • Detoxes – Warm lemon water detoxes the liver, kidneys and other internal organs, improves digestion, and leads to a stronger immune system and clearer and brighter skin.
  • Alkalizes – Although lemon juice is acidic, once it enters the body, it has an alkalizing effect. An alkaline system may also be less susceptible to disease and illness than an acidic system.

So, the next time life hands you lemons, ask for more because you will need them for warm lemon water!