The coronavirus pandemic has created an unbelievable amount of anxiety and worry. The emphasis on social isolation and the concern over economic uncertainty has stressed people out to the maximum. With all the stress associated with COVID-19, many people turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. With the increase in “virtual social hours”, many are indulging in a variety of alcoholic spirits in order to unwind. While there is nothing wrong with the occasional alcoholic beverage, overindulging can lead to alcohol abuse—and even addiction.
Cut Down on Consumption if at All Possible
One way that you can deal with alcohol abuse during the COVID 19 quarantine is to cut down on the amount you drink. There are myths abound from unsubstantiated sources that say alcohol can kill the coronavirus—this is not true. When consumed over longer periods of time, alcohol can actually suppress your immune system. Therefore, you can more susceptible to infections and illness—including COVID-19. If you are able to do so, cut down on the alcohol beverages to one to two days and try to avoid hard liquor.
Stay Connected with Your Support System
Another way to deal with alcohol abuse during the quarantine is to stay connected to family, friends, and other loved ones. While social distancing may extremely limit or prohibit close interactions, there are ways you can stay connected during these difficult times. You can call those in your support system, FaceTime, have a group chat, or even create a Facebook group with your those important to you. Set up regular times during the day and/or week to connect with those you love. Being able to stay close and in touch with your support system is crucial in combating the loneliness and isolation of quarantine which can lead to chronic drinking.
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Idle time is a dangerous thing. While it can seem unavoidable during these times of social isolation, too much time spent doing nothing can be dangerous. To minimize alcohol abuse during quarantine, it is important to try and maintain a daily schedule. Do some house cleaning, make and tidy up the bed, go for walks…get creative! Of course, allow yourself some “you time” but be sure to keep things in balance.
Accept Thoughts for What They Are
When you have thoughts and cravings for alcohol, it can act as a vice grip on your thoughts. When left unchecked, the thoughts of drinking you have can overwhelm you. More often than not, you give in and have some drinks to satisfy yourself. In order to minimize alcohol consumption during quarantine, it is important to learn to deal with those thoughts in a healthy manner. When your thoughts turn to drink, slow down, and breathe. Acknowledge what you feel and question yourself why you are thinking those thoughts. You will soon realize those thoughts will pass, and you can get on with your day.
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Find a Hobby
If there can be a positive to be found in social isolation, it is the fact that you can find healthy pursuits to pass the time. During this pandemic, you can find hobbies that will enrich and inspire you. This can be an old hobby that you had enjoyed, or it can be a new hobby that you may have always wanted to explore and try. Whether it is writing, gardening, painting, or a new exercise or recreational pursuit, do not be afraid to jump in feet first.
Social isolation can make you feel lonely and insecure. While it is easy to pick up the bottle, there is a danger of picking up bad habits and becoming dependent on alcohol. By utilizing the above steps, you can minimize your drinking and stay healthy and happy while in quarantine.