Do you find your cheeks get rosier (maybe even feel warmer than usual) about halfway through your glass of red wine? No, it’s not your new cream blush; for some people, drinking alcohol results in heated, blotchy skin.

While you may have thought you were “just sensitive to booze,” there is a medical reason some people go red in the face. According to Robin Berzin, M.D., people with flushed cheeks after drinking fall into two main camps.

For some people, it’s genetic.

The first reason, according to Berzin, is that some people lack a specific enzyme to metabolize alcohol. This enzyme, called ALDH2, helps break down a substance in alcohol—called acetaldehyde—into acetate. 

But if you don’t have that ALDH2 enzyme, your body might not be able to break down the acetaldehyde, resulting in a reaction (i.e., a flushed face). 

“In that sense, there’s not too much you can do about it,” she says on Episode 174 of the mindbodygreen podcast. In this case, people who lack the enzyme might just be predisposed to facial redness. If you do lack this ALDH2 enzyme, you may want to keep an eye on how much you drink or even cut yourself off if you feel like you’re getting too heated.Article continues below

But for others, it’s simply about body temperature.

But another reason you might leave a party with flushed cheeks, according to Berzin, is because alcohol, quite literally, warms you up. 

“Alcohol interrupts your body’s ability to get to its ideal lower resting body temperature and lower heart rate that you need to reach deep sleep,” Berzin says. 

That’s exactly why, she adds, having a cocktail can result in a poor night’s sleep. While you might think having a nightcap can help you feel sleepy (it’s called a nightcap, after all), Berzin notes the alcohol will keep your heart rate and body temperature up, making it more difficult to reach that deep, quality night’s sleep we desperately need.

“Your body can’t cool off, and it can’t get to that lower resting heart rate,” she says. “So for some people who are drinking, the alcohol can basically heat you up.” 

So, if you have a lighter version of those flushed cheeks (perhaps less of a blotchy reaction and more of a post-yoga glow), that’s probably why. 

So what can you do?

The next time you polish off a glass of wine and feel your cheeks heat up, remember that the alcohol could quite literally be warming you up.

That said, if you’re feeling especially warm, it may be best to cool your body temperature down with some water before refilling your wineglass (hydration is key). And if you’re returning home from a night out, you might want to give that alcohol time to metabolize in your body instead of crawling straight into bed.



Does this sound like you? Each day, you move from task to task like a robot. You’re numb. You’re disconnected. Your hair is getting thinner, your waist is getting thicker, you’re losing energy, and you’re just not yourself anymore. It’s almost like somebody else is running your body.

If you’re feeling like this, I can tell you this right now: You’re probably burned out—and if you don’t take action, you’re headed for a crash.

How we get burned out.

Ironically, for many of us, burnout starts with success. We get promotions. Our bank account numbers go up. We get a big following on social media. This success can be tricky because it causes us to do more and more to pursue greater success. In our attempt to constantly grow, we work harder.

For other people, burnout may stem from focusing solely on caring for family members—especially aging or ill parents—without caring for themselves.

As it turns out, the price for pushing yourself too hard—whether you’re trying to achieve wealth, a promotion, social status, a happier family, or even a better world—is disconnecting from yourself. As you get more and more disconnected, you become more robotic and less aware of the choices you’re making, and this accelerates your spiral into burnout.Article continues below

How we can heal from burnout.

To overcome burnout, you need to address all areas of your life: physical, mental, spiritual, and environmental. Here are the five strategies that helped me:

1. Develop a protective mindset.

Image by mbg Creative / iStock

The first step in recovering from burnout is to develop a mindset that helps you stay in control even when events seem uncontrollable. Think of this as your armor against burnout. This mental armor will empower you to stay connected and positive even when life is hectic, difficult, or painful.

One of the best ways to develop a protective mindset is to establish a morning ritual that will set the tone for your entire day. To do this, schedule five minutes every morning and do this:

  • Spend the first three minutes mentally picturing the life you want to have. You must picture this life as if it already exists—like you’re living it right now. At the end of your three minutes, say, “This—or something even better—is my life.”
  • For the next two minutes, deactivate your stress button by doing an activity that calms you. There are two energy exercises I love and do all the time. One is “shaking the tree”—a qigong exercise in which you jump up and down as if you’re on a trampoline, while flicking your wrists. The other is tapping on the K27 point, which is the acupressure point in the hollow below the collarbone next to the breastbone.

When you start your day this way, you will fill yourself with positive energy—and that will translate into a better ability to shake off stress, traumas, and disappointments.Article continues below

2. Surround yourself with well-intentioned people.

Image by mbg Creative / iStock

There is a saying that “You are the average of the five people closest to you.” This means that the people around you can either protect you from burnout or drive you straight into it.

If you allow toxic, depleting people into your life, they will drain your battery every day until you’re in an energy deficit. Well-intentioned people do just the opposite: They lift you up and re-energize you. This is why I say, “Have an inner doorman.” Be friendly with everyone, but be friends only with people who embrace who you are.

3. Go outside.

Image by mbg Creative / iStock

Our bodies need sunlight just as much as they need food and water. We now know that in addition to providing us with vitamin D, sunlight raises the body’s levels of nitric oxide—a vital molecule that increases blood flow, optimizes the immune system, and acts as a signaling molecule for the brain. This is why cheating your body of sunlight can leave you unhealthy and unhappy, contributing to burnout.

I know that you’ve been warned about the dangers of sun overexposure. But it only takes a few minutes in the sun, without sunscreen, to ramp up your levels of vitamin D and nitric oxide.

In addition to craving sunlight, our minds and bodies crave nature. That’s why more and more studies are showing that forest bathing—that is, simply being out in nature—can profoundly affect our mood. So treat your body to a little dose of nature every day, even if you do something as simple as creating a container garden on your balcony.Article continues below

4. Satisfy your need for touch.

Image by mbg Creative / iStock

These days, many of us are “touch-deprived.” This contributes to burnout because stimulating our touch receptors calms us, lowers our blood pressure, and reduces our levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, it raises our levels of oxytocin, a hormone that helps us to bond with other people.

So don’t be afraid to act like my Italian family and satisfy your need for touch with lots of hugs and kisses. Also, if you can’t get anyone to give you a little rubdown, invest in massages on a regular basis. And try dry brushing, which stimulates your touch receptors from head to toe.

5. Saturate your body with nutrients.

Image by mbg Creative / iStock

Even if you try to eat a good diet, a stressful life—too much work, too little sleep, too many worries—will deplete your body of essential nutrients. When you are nutrient-deprived, your immune system can’t work right, your brain can’t function optimally, your gut can’t metabolize food well, and your hormones get wonky. In addition, your extracellular matrix—that’s the fluid around your cells—goes from flowing like a river to sludgy like a swamp. All of this is a prescription for burnout.

When I hit burnout, the most important thing that put me on the road back to good health was the cleanse and reset I describe in my new book, Dr. Kellyann’s Cleanse and Reset. This cleanse was the ultimate tool I found to restore my body. It flooded me with foods that pushed nutrients in and toxins out. Within days, I started feeling like myself again—happier, healthier, and even younger.

One caution: When you’re burned out, this is not the time to opt for harsh cleanses or challenging workouts. Instead, you need a gentle cleanse and exercise routine that will pamper your body rather than punishing it. Also, choose a cleanse that’s rich in foods like collagen and bone broth that supply the amino acids your body needs to heal and detoxify itself.

If you aren’t quite ready to commit to a cleanse, then add anti-burnout foods to your regular diet every day. Let that be your fairy dust. Your best choices are clean proteins, nonstarchy veggies, small amounts of fruit, and healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, and avocados. Each high-nutrient food you add, and each toxic processed food you cut out, will tip the scales in your favor.Article continues below

6. Finally, be kind to yourself.

Image by mbg Creative / iStock

Often, we push ourselves into burnout because of unresolved emotions—specifically, unresolved grief. When we fail to pay attention to our own feelings or needs, we end up looking for feel-good substitutes like alcohol or junk food that deplete our minds and bodies.

What I’ve learned in my journey through the tunnel is that so much of this is about self-love. It’s about taking care of ourselves because we deserve it. You know what? I’ve realized that I’m pretty freaking amazing—and I bet you are, too. So from now on, let’s be kind to our amazing selves.


Cast of Friends
  • It’s a challenging decision to end a friendship. Often, reasons aren’t clear-cut, but you should generally follow your gut. If a friendship feels off, or transactional, it’s okay to cut it off. 
  • Other reasons to end the relationship may be friends engaging in unhealthy habits that bring you down, or people that are friends with you simply because you’re similar to them.
  • If you can’t count on them, or always feel like you’re doing all of the work, consider whether the friendship is worth it for you.
  • Friendship should make you a better version of yourself — not bring you down. 

Despite what the Spice Girls would have us believe, it’s not true that friendship never ends.

Research actually confirms what we’ve all experienced: most middle school friendships don’t even last a year. And while some adult friendships last throughout life, some make us feel like we’ve been sentenced for life. So how do you know when to make a break for freedom?

Sometimes it’s obvious: a so-called friend steals your money or your partner, or in the case of Taylor Swift, your back-up dancers. Now we’ve got bad blood, indeed.

But sometimes it’s not obvious: Do you tough it out with a friend struggling with addiction? Can you stay friends with someone whose values undergo a radical change? Do you leave behind a boring friend or remind yourself true friendship isn’t about entertainment? And of course, what to do when a friendship starts off strong and just fizzles? Nothing happened, but there’s just nothing there anymore. Is it OK to let go?

Fundamentally, you don’t need a checklist of legit and non-legit reasons to end a friendship. Go with your gut and your heart. That said, here are seven questions to ask yourself to make those fuzzy situations a little bit clearer:

1. Does it feel genuine, or like a transaction?

unhealthy friendship
You don’t want an entourage. 

Some people are friends with you because of what you can do for them. Red flags include friends who repeatedly try to sell you something, ask to borrow money again and again, or keep tabs on favors. (“You owe me housesitting because I took care of your dog.”) These friends routinely cross the line between friendship and business.

The transaction might also be more subtle — you’re friends with them because they admire you with cartoon hearts in their eyes and in return you get a shot to your self-esteem. You’re friends because they hold you back just enough that you can blame them, rather than yourself, for not accomplishing your dreams.

In sum, if you leave every interaction with an urge to wash your hands, look closer and see if you might using them or being used yourself. In the end, you want friends, not an entourage.

2. Are you holding each other back from getting healthy?

taking shots drinking partying bar
Unhealthy habits can circulate in a friend group. 

Back in 2007, a now-famous study in the New England Journal of Medicine tracked the spread of obesity through a “deeply interconnected social network” of more than 12,000 people, underscoring that social ties link to health behavior. 

Turns out healthy (or unhealthy) habits can circulate within a smaller friend group, too. For instance, unhealthy psychological habits like a tendency to put each other down or to complain constantly can spread from friend to friend. Or unhealthy body image or disordered eating habits might be a culture in your circle.

More seriously, if you’re battling a substance abuse problem normalized by a friend group (“If we all drink until we black out, doesn’t that make it normal?”), it’s difficult yet crucial to drop friends. Indeed, showing up at the same bar with the same people will inevitably lead to the same behavior.

Ideally, friends work together to eat better, team up to exercise, or weather the horrors of stopping smoking together. But if your friend pulls you down, pressures you to drink or smoke after you’ve made it clear you’re trying to change, or otherwise ridicules your attempts to take care of yourself, it may be time to distance yourself.

3. Are you being manipulated?

friends in new york city
If your friendship is very intricate, that may be a red flag. 

Manipulation, fundamentally, is managing the emotions of others, and not in a good way.  It’s sulking to get someone to feel bad, it’s being especially nice to butter someone up.

It’s really hard to put your finger on whether or not it’s happening, because being the target of manipulation is like being the proverbial frog in the slowly boiling water — it’s only after you’re out that you realize the full extent of what was happening.

But there are clues: Your friendship may feel unnecessarily intricate. You’re at a loss for words when others ask you about the friendship. “It’s complicated,” is the best you can muster.

Another clue: Without quite realizing it, you’ve changed for the worse as a result of this friendship (less happy, less secure, less confident) but somehow you’re the one always doing the apologizing. Or you may just feel like something is always off. You even ask your friend “what’s wrong?” but the answer (or the resulting silent treatment) just makes you more confused.

Any of these clues may be signs of emotional manipulation. Indeed, a 2016 study unsurprisingly found that manipulation hung together with lower levels of important friendship characteristics like being able to express personal thoughts and feelings, providing comfort when needed, simply being fun to be with, and always being there for each other (which, by the way, in research-speak is called “reliable alliance”).

4. Are you friends simply because they’re similar to you?

friends millennials sunset rooftop
It doesn’t mean you have to be friends. 

Sometimes we force a friendship when we have a similar background and similar lives. Similarity somehow makes us think we should be friends. But it doesn’t matter if you went to the same elementary school or look like spitting images of each other.

What’s really important? Well, a 2012 study assessed over 1,400 people; some of them had friendships with people of a different race, sexual orientation, or gender, and some of them did not. Those with cross-category friendships placed less value on having similar lives, values, and experiences as their friends. What did they focus on instead? The true building blocks of friendship: trust, honesty, respect, and being there for each other.

5. Do you do all the work in the relationship?

selfish friend
You should be a friend, not an employee. 

Do any of these sound familiar? You justify selfish and inconsiderate behavior: “I’m sure he meant to clean up this mess he left when he borrowed my car; he was probably just busy.” You initiate all the ideas, make all the plans, and are responsible for changing them if they’re not convenient for your friend: “Oh, you decided to meet a Tinder date tonight? Um, sure, we can reschedule.” And finally, you do all the emotional work — talking them down, shoring them up: “Of course you’re amazing. Sure, let’s talk about all the ways you rock. Again.”

If you’re doing all the work in the relationship, you’re an employee, not a friend. Time to consider going on strike.

6. Can you count on each other?

friend crying
A good friend shares in your struggles and successes. 

This one may sound cliche, but it’s important. Friends shouldn’t be like your iPod earphones — never around when you need them but getting tangled up in things when you’re not.

The research on friendship is rife with words like “reciprocal,” “mutual,” and “shared,” and if none of those come to mind when you think about a particular friendship, it might be time to back away.

Indeed, all those graduation night songs about “I’ll be on your side forevermore” and “I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on,” while cheesy, are about more than swaying with arms around each other’s shoulders. Good friendships represent an equilibrium of mutual support. Even dissimilarities between good friends manage to balance each other out.

Of course, over time the balance will shift back and forth — you will inevitably have a major life crisis at the same time your friend gets a promotion, but good friends are there to share in your successes and your struggles. You don’t have to link arms and sing, but you should feel sure than in your friendship, winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call.

7. Can you be yourself?

golden girls
True friends let you be yourself. 

Let’s end with the big one. You’re not the same everywhere you go — you behave differently at a job interview or visiting grandma than when hanging out with your friends, but if you feel pulled to change or hide who you are, or you feel ashamed after hanging out with your friend, it may be time to try on other friendships.

To wrap up, decades of research and millennia of common sense tell us that connecting with true friends is one of the best things we can do for our health and happiness.

Breaking up with less-than-true friends is a tough decision. Indeed, there must have been a time when you were good friends to each other, or you wouldn’t be in struggling with the question to begin with.

Now, friends will come and go from your life. Some will be context-dependent, like a work friend or a school friend. These are all fine. Not every friend needs to be a Golden Girls-style pal and confidante. But real friends shouldn’t hurt, manipulate, or use you, or pressure you to be someone you’re not. A true friend inspires you to be better, happier, healthier, and more “yourself.”


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