Qurantitini, coronaholic, laptop-lagers…it seems like a whole new drinking vernacular has emerged courtesy of the Pandemic, and sometimes, it can be hard to keep up. Even harder, for so many during this difficult period, has been keeping various vices in check. Indeed, research from Alcohol Change UK revealed that 21% of us were drinking more during the first pandemic, with many doing so dangerously.
During the first lockdown, it might have been fun – we tried our hand at making those qurantinis, did wine tasting nights on Zoom and house-partied like it was 1999.
Then, the hangover kicked in. This lockdown around, things feel like they’ve taken a turn, with many Brits concerned about their drinking and sadly, alcohol-related deaths reaching a record high in the UK at the end of last year.
If you’re keen to keep things under control and concerned that you’re drinking too much in lockdown, then read on; here’s how to drink more responsibly.
First things first, although the word ‘coronaholic’ has been thrown around a lot, there’s a danger that the frivolousness of the term might be masking something more serious. If you are worried about how much alcohol you’re drinking, there’s no shame in seeking the help of professionals if other methods of giving up have so far failed you.
The ARC Drug & Alcohol Rehab Centre tell us that ‘’To truly beat addiction you need to begin the process of diverting these thoughts away from the decision to Drink/Use & develop new neural pathways that strengthen each time you use them’’.
With a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Relational Framework Therapy, medication and counselling from such services, a fresh start is possible. You can visit their site to learn more.
DON’T KEEP BOOZE IN THE HOUSE
It may sound obvious, but by not keeping booze in the house, you’ll be much less likely to compulsively, impulsively reach for a bottle at the end of the day. The majority of us are taking fewer trips to the supermarket lately, due to government guidance, and, as such, are loading up our trolley with more supplies than usual, including alcohol.
Instead, load your trolly up with other, equally interesting beverages, which succinctly brings us to our next point…
EXPLORE NON & LOW- ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
Let’s face it, tap water is a bit boring. And if there’s one thing we’ve learnt, boredom often leads to drinking. Luckily, there are so many drinks that can replace your evening glass of wine which feel like just as much of a treat.
While of course green tea, kombucha and turmeric lattes are all great, many drinkers have found solace in the hugely improved non and low alcohol drinks market, too. This is no more succinctly realised than with Seedlip Spice, a 0% spirit made in the same way as gin, with a serious load of botanicals and packing a similar punch flavour wise, but not inducing that maudlin drunkenness we’re so prone to. The finish is complex with notes of clove and cardamom and it scratches a certain itch, that’s for sure.
We’re also fans of Rochester Ginger Drink, a non-alcoholic ginger beer with one hell of a kick, offering a fiery smack on the lips and a lingering on the tongue that other non-alcoholic drinks so often lack. For enthusiastic beer drinkers, Nanny State from Brewdog, containing just 0.5% alcohol, is full of flavor, grapefruit bitterness and blessed with a pleasing treacle finish.
Finding a replacement for alcohol is one positive lifestyle change that you can make. However, there are plenty of other things you can do, too…
KEEP BUSY & FOCUS ON POSITIVE LIFESTYLE CHANGES
To resist the urge to drink, you need to fill your time with something else. For so many, it seems like the temptation to drink strikes most directly when we’re feeling listless and uninspired. A gloomy day outside with little on the agenda often leads to us filling up a glass just to fill in some hours. Many former drinkers who gave up successfully suggest that it’s crucial to keep busy and fill up your time, particularly in the evenings. Think home workouts, learning a new language, watching a new TV series…anything wholesome to keep the wolf from the door.
Also, focus on positive lifestyle changes like exercising, meditating and eating well, all of which will help you shape your mindset into a holistically healthier one. Slowly but surely, those drinks and hangovers will seem less appealing.
DRINK ONE DAY A WEEK OR JUST ON WEEKENDS
For many, pouring a glass of wine has become a way to mark the transition from day to evening. However, instead of punctuating every evening by having a drink, why not limit it to a Friday night to mark the weekend, instead?
If you know you’re going to drink over the weekend, then measure your units – this way you can make sure you’re sticking to the recommended amount. It’s important to understand what a ‘standard’ measurement is when it comes to your favourite tipple and it can be a worthwhile investment to buy a good measure for when you make drinks at home. Doing so can help you keep better track of your drinking and limit any excesses.
If you’re keen to cut down, not out, then the idea of ‘drinking better’ has gained traction in recent years. Rather than witter on, we’ll redirect you instead to our tips on how to drink less wine but enjoy drinking it more.
UNDERSTAND THAT YOU’RE NOT ALONE
You’re not alone. As environmental psychologist Lee Chambers tells Glamour, ‘’Society and humans in general equate alcohol to relaxation,” he explains, “and in the stress and anxiety of the current crisis, drinking helps block these feelings, both cognitively and chemically, particularly masking our feelings of isolation as social connection is diminished when we can’t leave the house.”
As such, it’s vital to stay in touch with family and friends, to find that sense of belonging somewhere away from the bottle. Schedule daily calls, send voice notes, even exchange memes! Anything which keeps those touchpoints ticking is perfect.