5 Ways to Reduce Alcohol Consumption & Stay Sober during The Covid-19 Pandemic

While we are protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19 by staying home, self-isolation has its own effects on the mind and body. Stress of financial matters, employment prospects, and lack of connection in these times can all influence alcohol intake behavior. Accepting reality and choosing a productive way to cope with the stress can make a huge difference in both short and long term wellbeing. Be kind to yourself in these challenging times and find the balance to keep up with your physical and mental health with activities you enjoy the most. 
 A Canadian survey was conducted during the period of March and April to understand the effects of self-isolation and its relevance to alcohol consumption. The survey results show that 25% of Canadians (aged 35-54) are consuming more alcohol due to the following top four reasons.

  1. Lack of consistency in a daily schedule
  2. Stress
  3. Boredom
  4. Loneliness

Excessive alcohol consumption can take a tremendous toll on both your physical and mental health. Your physical health can suffer due to liver damage. The immune system becomes compromised, which can make you predisposed to infection. Your Mental health is in jeopardy when you consume too much alcohol because there can be an increase in depression, anxiety, and addictive behaviors. Alcohol intake can also lead to an increase in violent behaviors, which will cause even more effects on your well being and the safety of others in your care. It is even more crucial at this time for those who are recovering from alcohol addiction, to be aware of the effects of self-isolation on your mind and be adamant about avoiding alcohol consumption.

Here are 5 tips to help you reduce alcohol consumption and stay sober:

1. Connection 

Virtual meetings and connecting with a counselor for support – Express your feelings with someone who is very near to you and who you can trust. Having a sense of community is essential in recovery and for your overall well-being. Participate in a virtual 12-step meeting, smart recovery, or any support group meeting on a regular basis.
Family support- Share activities with family, play games with family members, and share in household chores.

2. Movement and exercise

Yoga – Refresh your mind and keep your body active, this will increase endorphins and reduce depression and anxiety.

Outdoor Time –  Spending time in nature walking, running, biking or any other exercise activity has been scientifically proven to reduce psychological stress, help with depression, improve sleep, and increase energy and motivation.

Continue or start a hobby – Creating art, and painting can give instant joy and a feeling of being present. It can also give your creative energies a good outlet. Playing games like chess can be a good way to keep the mind sharp. Get involved in new hobbies, engage in volunteer work, or consider enrolling in online courses, either academic or something of interest and fun. This will boost your mood and build your self-esteem.

3. Quiet Time

Meditation and mindfulness –  practicing meditation, and breathing exercises while spending time in nature can reduce anxiety and can help bring stillness to the mind.

4. Healthy Diet

Add in some colour – Eat a healthy diet that incorporates six tastes and seven colours: fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy snacks.

5. Sleep

Go to bed early – Get sufficient rest to refresh your mind, think positively, and manage stress. Sleep is very important to reduce stress levels and repair your body at the cellular level.

Spending some time to identify the activities that are safe and also provide you with joy and fulfillment now will be beneficial for when our lives begin to get busier. The chances of finding and making use of an opportunity once the situation eases is higher when you keep yourself well and vigilant. Be aware of the fact that there are a number of ways to spend time and be relaxed other than consuming alcohol. Staying safe and sober with choices that keep you healthy and stress-free, will provide you with clarity and keep you feel energized and motivated.