Are you finding yourself drinking more at home? You are not alone. A new study conducted by the Australian National University shows that overall, people have been drinking more frequently during the pandemic then they have in the last three years.
Our increased alcohol intake can be attributed to the unprecedented times we are currently facing. Many Australians are experiencing job losses, reduced working hours, isolation boredom, financial uncertainty and increased stress from juggling working from home and home-schooling kids.
Despite the current Victorian lockdown restrictions due to be eased, the matter of the fact is there will be vast changes on how we work, interact and live our life’s post-pandemic.
Effects of alcohol
Whilst it is understandable that many people will be experiencing increased anxiety levels at the moment, it is important to be aware of how much alcohol we drink at home and its harmful impacts to the body.
Extra glasses of wine or extra bottles of beers every night are energy dense drinks that can add up over time and contribute to weight gain. In addition, alcohol can increase your appetite causing you to munch mindlessly on snacks and food around your home.
There has been strong evidence and research showing both the physical and mental health effects of drinking too much alcohol. Some long-term health effects include increased risk of:
- developing some cancers.
- heart disease.
- liver and pancreas damage.
- poor concentration, mood and sleep.
With this in mind, it is important to manage and limit the health effects of alcohol. Guidelines from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) outline that healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than two standard drinks on any one day.
The next question is, what is a standard drink?
For example, most full-strength beers are 1.4 standard drinks, as is an average serving of wine (150ml) and most pre-mixed spirits. The easiest way to find out how many standard drinks you have is to check your drink label. Otherwise, this standard drink guide is perfect.
Image source: Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF)
Here are some tips to help you manage your alcohol intake at home:
- Buy less alcohol– Having less around the house will help you help reduce the amount you consume.
- Pace yourself– Set a limit on the number of drinks you plan to have before you start drinking.
- Alcohol free days– Schedule at least two alcohol-free days each week.
- Avoid salty snacks, such as salted peanuts and potato chips– Salt makes you thirsty and more inclined to drink fast.
- Switch to other alternatives– Look for options such as low alcohol or alcohol-free alternatives. Quench your thirst with chilled water or a diet soft drink instead of alcohol.
- Sip your drink slowly– Put down the glass after each mouthful.
- Mix it– Reduce your strength and make your drinks last longer with tonic/mixer or ice.
- One drink at a time– Finish one drink before making another. Avoid topping up your glass while drinking.
Looking to improve your relationship with alcohol or looking to improve your health through food and nutrition? ACT Curious can connect you to a behavioural therapist and dietitian that meets your needs. You can get started today if ACT Curious EAP is offered by your employer.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Benjamin David APD, ACT Curious