Search icon

Fitness & Health

18th Mar 2020

Calls for restraint on alcohol use at home amid Covid-19 pandemic

Rudi Kinsella

coronavirus alcohol

50% of Irish adults cite ‘coping’ as motivation for their drinking habits.

Drinkaware is urging the Irish public to limit or cut alcohol consumption while spending prolonged periods of time at home or in self-isolation.

The charity, which works to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse in Ireland, has said that it is important for both mental and physical health not to rely on alcohol.

It is believed that 50% of Irish adults cite ‘coping’ as motivation for their drinking habits, and 58% of young adults report using alcohol as a way to cheer up, factors which have taken on extra relevance amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Drinkaware has offered a number of pieces of advice designed to help the public control their alcohol consumption over the next number of weeks (see below).

  • Limit or cut out alcohol completely: If you catch yourself reaching for a glass of wine of bottle of beer to reduce stress or fill free time at home, make a change. Have plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives in the house and put them within easy reach. Store alcohol out of sight or remove it from your shopping list for now.
  • Create a list of activities to do instead: listen to a podcast, read a book or start a DIY project you’ve been putting off.
  • Talk and text: Check in with friends and family as much as you can by phone, video, text and social media. Keeping in touch can have a positive impact on your mood and ability to deal with problems.
  • Keep active: Get out for a walk in your local area every day. While we all need to practice social distancing and protective hygiene measures, we still need fresh air and exercise.
  • Cook a healthy meal: Take the extra time at home to try out a new recipe. A balanced nutritious diet is just as important for mental health as it is for physical health.

Sheena Horgan, Drinkaware CEO, commented: “Drinkaware supports the Government in strongly advising against house parties or similar social gatherings.

“This pandemic is an uncertain time and people are naturally worried about their own health and the health of their loved ones.  We know that people often turn to alcohol as a way to deal with the stress and anxiety they are feeling. Half of Irish adults already report drinking alcohol to cope with problems and stress, and younger adults are more likely to use alcohol in this way. We are encouraging people to try some of our healthier strategies to manage these feelings to further reduce alcohol-related harm.

“We also already know that home drinking is the new norm in Ireland and as recent images and media stories have shown, many people are stocking up on alcohol. Drinking at home presents unique issues including often unintended excessive drinking. We’re asking people to be especially mindful of their drinking and even explore their sober curious side over the coming days and weeks, even if boredom is likely to set in for many of us.

“What we are facing right now is not about any of us alone, it’s about all of us. We must all do what we can to protect and support our communities and country, and that starts in our own homes.”

For further information, check out the Drinkaware website.

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge