Drinking during the pandemic: Finding balance
If you’re planning on drinking while staying at home, try to take note of your drinking habits
Being asked to stay inside and keep our social distance means that many of us have more time on our hands. You might be feeling bored, anxious, or a little restless, and it could be hard to find things to do.
If you’re going to be drinking at home during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, try to take notice of your habits around your drinking, in order to make sure you’re keeping a balance.
How to find balance when drinking at home
Here are some things to consider:
Stay within the recommended limits
It might be tempting to drink more than you usually would since you’re sitting around at home, but it’s best to keep within the recommended limits. Otherwise, you could be at risk of binge drinking, which is bad for your health and puts you at greater risk of injury.
Binge drinking is six or more standard drinks in one sitting. A standard drink is:
- A half a pint of beer
- A small glass of wine
- A pub measure of spirit
Remember to eat
Drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea, so make sure you’re eating well. It can be easy to skip out on proper meals when you’re sitting at home all day, but it is important for your physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re planning on drinking, then it’s especially important that you’re eating properly.
Avoid drinking because you’re bored, anxious, or sad
Using alcohol as a way to deal with feelings like boredom or anxiety can cause you to become dependent on alcohol. If you use alcohol as a way to cope, you might eventually find that you are unable to relax or enjoy yourself without having a drink.
If this is the only reason you decide to have a drink, maybe rethink it, and ask if there’s something else you could do instead.
Understand the effects of alcohol on mental health
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can make us feel down. Although we might get a boost of happiness when we first start drinking, this doesn’t last. Alcohol can also intensify negative emotions, so if you’re already feeling bad, it could bring you down even more.
If you have an existing mental health problem, using alcohol to cope can make these issues harder to manage. Learn more about the effects of alcohol on mental health.
Instead of turning to alcohol to deal with any stress or anxiety you might have about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, try to find other ways to handle this anxiety.
Watch out for the signs of dependence
Knowing the signs of alcohol dependency means you can watch out for it in yourself or in other people in your home. If you catch yourself feeling like you need a drink, using alcohol as a way to cope, or finding that alcohol is starting to get in the way of other things, it’s a good idea to seek help.
Who to talk to if you’re having problems with alcohol
There are supports out there if you want to talk about your own or someone else’s drinking.
- Get anonymous support 24/7 with our text message support service
- Connect with a trained volunteer who will listen to you, and help you to move forward feeling better
- Text SPUNOUT to 086 1800 280 to begin
- Find out more about our text message support service
HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline
The HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline offers confidential information and support for anyone experiencing issues around drugs or alcohol: 1800 459 459
Find more information on getting treatment and support for alcohol dependence here.