Sober curious & mindful drinking during Covid-19

Communities nationwide adapted their way of life to play a role in slowing the spread of Covid-19 (coronoavirus) in Ireland.  For many people, new habits and routines were formed during lockdown, some healthy and others less so. As society reopens it’s a good time to check in on the habits we might have formed during the lockdown, were they healthy or unhealthy and consider exploring sober curious & mindful drinking with the easing of restrictions from Covid-19.

If you, like so many others have shared with us on Instagram and Facebook, were drinking more alcohol than usual to cope with boredom, anxiety or stress, we have some tips for sober curious and mindful drinking, and tools to help. While we were all rightly preoccupied with protecting our families and homes from Covid-19, now is the time to make sure that we are looking after our mental and physical wellbeing as the restrictions are lifted and life goes back to more ‘normal’ routines.

BE SOBER CURIOUS

  • It may not surprise you that in Ireland, drinking is typically driven by social motivations which can make it difficult for anyone who makes the choice not to drink alcohol. Now that we can enjoy socialising with friends and family again, we have an opportunity to think about where and if alcohol fits in our life. Even if you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to alcohol altogether, taking a break from alcohol is one of the best things you can do for your health.
  • If you’re hosting or attending a catch-up with friends/family over a drink, why not set a challenge for everyone to create their own no-alcohol drink? Share the recipes with the group, everyone can vote for their favourite mocktail. Here are some alcohol-free recipes to try out at home
  • Remove alcohol from your shopping list for now – if it’s not in the house, you can’t drink it. Read tips for minding your mental health during Covid-19
  • Have plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives in the house. There are so many no-alcohol wines, spirits and beers to take advantage of so it’s a good time to make the swap. For parents, keeping these options visible and alcohol out of sight shows your kids that alcohol isn’t needed to relax, there are plenty of alternatives available and sends a clear message that it is not intended for children.

TIPS FOR MINDFUL DRINKING

  • Always use a measure for spirits or wine. Free pouring makes it almost impossible to know how much you are drinking. Order one for free
  • Downsize your drink by using a smaller glass. This might sound obvious but can make all the difference, especially for wine as we know that these glasses are bigger than ever, and many are able to hold unhealthy volumes of alcohol. The smaller your glass, the less alcohol it can hold.
  • Alternate each drink with a glass of water to reduce the dehydration associated with alcohol. Keep a jug of water handy to make this easier.
  • Avoid topping up your glass. Finish one drink before pouring another, which makes it much easier to track how much you’re really drinking over the course of the night.
  • Parents and adult family members in the house have a great opportunity to set a positive example around alcohol. Almost 1 in 5 adults in Ireland were first introduced to alcohol at home, and 27% were given their first drink by a parent or close relative. Think about the messages you’re sending around alcohol, particularly during this time at home. As a child’s number one influence, parents have a proactive role to play in shaping mindful and sober curious attitudes towards alcohol. Visit our Parent hub for tips
  • Break unhealthy new habits. As we all know, they are easily formed but harder to break. If your new norm is a few cans of beer or glasses of wine to pass the time every night, acknowledge that this is happening and make a conscious decision to do something else. Keeping motivated can feel like a challenge but there are a lot of healthy ways to fill free time. Go for a walk, or tackle that long to-do list for the house (we all have one!) that you’ve just never had the time to tick off.

ONLINE TOOLS TO HELP

HOME DRINKING IN IRELAND

Drinking at home is fast becoming the new norm in Ireland, with the Drinkaware Index 2019 showing that 61% of all weekly drinking occasions now take place at home. This can present its own issues that make it more likely a person will drink more alcohol than intended. At almost every workshop or event we host, people share with us how easy they feel it can be to drink a full bottle of wine or six-pack of beer a few times a week, without setting out to or even realising until it’s too late.

What this means in practical terms is that there is a higher chance of binge drinking (six or more standard drinks in one sitting e.g. three pints of beer) and consuming the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines in a shorter space of time. This increases risks to physical health and wellbeing including cancerheart disease and mental health problems including anxiety and depression.

FOLLOW HSE GUIDANCE TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

  • Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough and sneeze. Throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Maintain physical distancing. Keep at least 2metres (6.5ft) between you and other people.
  • Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and other indoor settings – this is the law, you may be fined or refused entry if you don’t wear one. Read the full list of locations where face coverings are required
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home and follow HSE advice
  • Download the COVID-19 Tracker App now