Are we drinking more? Did your drinking sneak up on you during lockdown?

Worryingly, nearly 20% of Australians surveyed in recent ANU data consumed more alcohol during restrictions than they did pre-pandemic.

But it’s not so bad – is it?

Yes.

Habits form quickly and can be hard to break.

Alcohol intake – and management of that intake – is particularly important for both mental and physical health.

According to a recent study by FARE, 1 in 5 people purchased more alcohol than usual during lock down, of those 70% drank more and 32% are concerned with the amount of alcohol they or someone in their household is drinking.

20% of people started drinking earlier in the day, and 28% have been drinking daily. All of which are contributors to long term health issues such as alcohol dependence and chronic disease.

And there are also risks beyond the individual.

Domestic violence cases are on the rise in Australia and alcohol can often be a contributor in these cases.

A survey of frontline domestic and family violence workers from NSW found over half, (51%) reported an increase in the involvement of alcohol in family violence situations during Covid-19 restrictions.

Unfortunately, whilst alcohol can help us relax and give us a brief feeling of well-being and confidence, the effects are short-lived and the long-term negative consequences of over-using alcohol can be very serious.

If you rely on alcohol to manage your mental health issues, that reliance can itself become a problem.

You may well find that you’re drinking gets in the way of other activities and puts a strain on your relationships and your work.

What can you do if you feel your alcohol intake creeping up?

While some will find that cutting down without support is possible, others need assistance.

Whether you want to stop drinking altogether or if you’d like to reduce your intake to a level you feel more comfortable with – my Reduce Alcohol program can help.

If your drinking has become a habit, just remember that drinking alcohol is merely a mental “program” – you have unwittingly “programmed” yourself to drink alcohol in just the same way that you have programmed yourself to ride a bicycle or drive a car.

These mental programs can be re-set and re-written and you hold the power to do so.

Hypnosis is an effective approach in dealing with the problems that excess alcohol can lead to – issues with relationships, weight and health.

It will identify those areas and aspects of your life that may require tweaks and modification.

In particular, it will enable you to adapt, change and to look at alcohol intake in a completely new way.

Hypnosis will help you realise that alcohol is not essential to relaxation, and is not necessary as a crutch or coping mechanism.

My Reduce Alcohol program will enable you to take back control, and will lead the way to a fitter, healthier and happier you!

And NOW – it can all be done from the comfort of your own home, wherever you are in the world. Online group sessions are now available.

Head to www.matthale.com.au/alcohol for more information.

And in the mean time, start by applying these 5 simple techniques for reducing your alcohol intake:

  1. set yourself a goal, what would be a realistic amount to reduce your intake by?
    (eg. If you usually drink 2 glasses of wine per night aim for 1 glass per night)
  2. space every drink with soft drink, juice or water. This will give your brain time to think about if you want or need the next drink.
  3. nominate a designated alcohol free day each week and stick to it. (eg – I’m not going to drink alcohol on Monday and Wednesday – but don’t make up for what you’ve missed by drinking more the next day – that defeats the point).
  4. start thinking about what you are drinking – drink consciously and slowly, put your glass down between mouthfuls.
  5. reduce your servings. Pour a smaller size glass. You might find you enjoy a half glass as much as you do a full glass

And let the changes begin!