If you’ve found your alcohol levels rising in lockdown, you’re certainly not alone.
Many of us have reached for the at-home bar during the pandemic, searching for a way to deal with the loneliness, sadness, and sometimes just the sheer boredom of life in lockdown.
The emergence of the roadmap out of Covid restrictions might make you ponder cutting back.
But life coach Michael Cloonan reckons that before you dive right into abstinence, it’s worth analysing what type of pandemic drinker you are.
Along with experts from CleanCo, Michael has put together a list of 10 distinct lockdown drinking personality types, and argues that each one requires a slightly different approach to ditching the booze.
So, shall we break down each type?
The weekend hedonist
People with this drinking personality don’t drink during the week, so they think they have a free pass to blow out at the weekend.
It’s easy to assume that this is ‘okay’ because you’re not drinking every day – but those big weekend sessions can have a damaging impact on your health longterm.
Michael advises that people in this type keep track of what they’re actually drinking, to get a proper sense of the units they’re really taking in each week – as they can quickly tot up.
‘Looking and tallying up your units the following day can also be quite sobering,’ he says.
The metronome enjoys a drink every day at the same time, such as a glass of wine with dinner or a beer when watching football.
They don’t drink to get drunk, but just enjoy the usual ritual.
If this type is looking to cut back, it’s worth trying replacement options, so you’re still sticking to your routine but with less alcohol.
So, you could try a low or no alcohol beer, or a mocktail.
The roller coaster
This type is driven to drink by emotions.
If something great happens, they’ll pop some champagne to celebrate. Had a bad day? Time for a wine.
This type of drinking can be tricky to curb.
The best thing to do is to get in touch with your emotions and find alternative coping mechanisms that don’t involve alcohol.
Try journaling or calling a friend. If you notice you’re relying on alcohol to deal with difficult emotions and you’re struggling to tackle the habit, it’s worth talking to your GP or a mental health professional.
The ‘it’s five o’clock somewhere’
This is the type whose usual evening drink has gradually slipped earlier and earlier thanks to the blurring effect of life in lockdown.
They drink to deal with boredom. So, it makes sense that this type can reduce their drinking by reducing their boredom, too.
Try learning a new skill, picking up a hobby, or doing some DIY. Anything to fill your day without downing pints is the way forward.
The high sobriety
This type – most likely to be millennials, according to research – has been spurred by the pandemic to go sober, or at least drastically cut back their drinking.
They don’t need any help reducing their alcohol intake for now, but should prepare themselves for temptation as lockdown lifts.
Hold on to the reasons you aren’t keen to drink, and remember it’s okay to say no to outings that are entirely based around booze.
You can happily survive for long-periods – weeks, maybe even months – without a drink. But when you go for it, you go hard.
This kind of extreme swing isn’t great for your body.
While giving up alcohol for any amount of time isn’t something that should be discouraged, if it leads to excessive over consumption when you do, then try to work on breaking this cycle to achieve more equilibrium.
Whether it’s at work, the gym or your approach to drinking – if you tend to give everything 100% dedication, aim to dismantle this pattern of perfectionism. Give yourself a stopping point and stick to it.
If you’ve had a period without alcohol, your tolerances are going to be much lower. Try a traffic light formation when you next have a drink – start with full strength, then opt for a no or low option, followed by a glass of water for hydration. And repeat.
The Zoom socialite
The Zoom socialite has replaced pub trips with tipsy video chats. They don’t drink alone, but hit the rum to up the fun levels when socialising.
‘Just remember to pace and space when the occasions crop up,’ says Michael. ‘After all, it’s a marathon not a sprint.
‘Rather than mindlessly downing a drink, leisurely sip it, taking the time to really enjoy it. As the liver takes an hour (on average) to break down a unit of alcohol, aim to have no more than a glass in this time period.’
This is the type that uses alcohol to officially mark the line between work and rest.
They’ll have a G&T when it’s time to clock off, so they can officially ‘switch off’ and relax, as a replacement for actually leaving an office.
The experts reccommend finding a different way to draw the line between work and home.
‘Have a shower and a change of clothes as you clock off from work, as this will help shift your mindset,’ they suggest.
‘Leave the house. If you associate home with the office, try introducing a pretend commute each day – a short circular bike ride or walk that helps draw a line in the sand.
‘If you do find yourself still having a drink, limit yourself to one, then switch to a low or no alternative.’
The merry go round
Each week you set out to be super healthy and sober… then by Monday evening you cave in and vow to do better next week.
The key for you is to ditch the all or nothing mentality. If you slip up, it doesn’t mean you should chuck away all resolve – just get back on the horse and keep trying.
‘Keeping a diary can also be a great way to identify patterns of behaviour,’ Michael suggests. ‘You might even identify regular spots in the day or week that trip you up most. The more you recognise this, the harder it comes to make excuses.’
The reverse weekender
If you’re a reverse weekender, you deal with the stresses of the week – whether that’s work or home-schooling or both – by having an evening drink.
At the weekend you steer clear of the whisky, but each time everyday stress rolls around, it’s the first thing you reach for.
‘If this is you, try to introduce more positive coping strategies,’ say the experts.
‘Getting organised can also stave off stress and anxiety. A to-do list can not only manage your feelings about having unfinished work, but if you do it before bed, it can help you nod off as it settles your brain from worrying about everything that needs to get done.’
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