The current COVID-19 pandemic means that many of us are drinking more than we used to. With most of us confined to our homes, it’s perhaps an understandable reaction to a potentially stressful situation. But while it may ‘take the edge off’ and help us feel a little more relaxed, too much too often can have some negative effects.
Feedback from our Evergreen Life community shows that people who drink more alcohol also consume more processed meats, sugary drinks and have a lower quality of sleep. That’s a quadruple whammy.
Drinking too much alcohol:
- Can interfere with your sleep
- Can make anxiety and depression worse
- May make you put on weight
- Makes existing conditions worse, like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure
- Can damage your body and reduce your resistance to diseases – including COVID -19
- Makes you more prone to accidents and risky behaviour
So, it may be a good time to really think about your drinking and how you might reduce it. Here are our tips on how to do that.
If you feel that alcohol is having a bad effect on your life, do contact your GP. There is lots of help available.
8 ACTIONS TO HELP REDUCE YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE
1. Make a plan: Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you're going to drink. You can find a link to a unit calculator at the end of this article.
2. Set a budget: Write down how much you’re spending on alcohol each week. The results may surprise you. If it looks high, try to reduce your budget and stick to it.
3. Let friends and family know: Let your friends and family know you're cutting down and that it's important to you. Ask them to support you, to reduce offers of alcohol.
4. Take it a day at a time: Cut back on alcohol a little each day. That way, every day you do is a success.
5. Make it a smaller one: You can still enjoy a drink but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of cans or pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.
6. Have a lower-strength drink: Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You'll find this information on the bottle.
7. Stay hydrated: Have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic drinks.
9. Take a break: Have several drink-free days each week.
Taking control of your health and wellbeing isn’t always easy but the current pandemic means it’s more important than ever.
The maximum number of units of alcohol suggested per week is 14 for men and women.
The image below shows how many units there are in different types of alcohol.