health

"I eased off completely." 6 women share how their drinking habits have changed in isolation.

Seedlip
Thanks to our brand partner, Seedlip

In the very first wave of coronavirus panic, Australian shoppers hoarded toilet paper. Then they stocked their cupboards, filling them with rice, pasta and tinned goods.

It was only when lockdown restrictions grew tighter in mid-March – and many of us asked the question ‘are bottle shops an essential service?’ – that thoughts of stockpiling alcohol crept in.

It’s tempting to drink in times of great stress or to simply pass the time in isolation. But with no definite end date to this period, it’s also important to be mindful of our health and to exercise self-care as much as possible.

While some might be enjoying their nightly glass of wine, others might be considering their options when it comes to drinking more mindfully.

It helps that there are better non-alcoholic options now than ever before. At the top of my list is Seedlip, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits range.

It comes in three expressions: Grove 42 (citrus), Spice 94 (aromatic) and Garden 108 (aromatic), and is best served over ice, topped with tonic and a garnish. For non-drinkers or anyone trying to cut down on drinking and replace some drinks with something non-alcoholic, it’s a game changer.

It’s the kind of treat that gives you back that feeling of waking up refreshed and not missing that planned, sanity-saving morning yoga session. Or perhaps that sense of focus you need to tackle another day of working from home and/or juggling home-schooling of kids.

On that topic, we spoke to six Australian women about how their drinking habits have changed in isolation – and how they think they’ll be different going forward.

Clare

“From the beginning of isolation, I knew I needed to be careful with drinking, because I have a bit of an addictive personality. I knew if I got into the habit of drinking every night, it would stick. I decided not to include alcohol in my regular shop, so there just wasn’t any in the house. For the first few weeks, I wasn’t drinking at all.

“I’ve relaxed a little in the last fortnight or so, having a drink once every few nights, but for the most part, I haven’t felt the need to drink in isolation. For me, drinking is a social activity, and I’m not doing a lot of socialising! The most I’ve felt compelled to drink is when I’m doing a Zoom or House Party chat with friends, and other people are drinking. But when it’s just my partner and I, I’ve stayed away from alcohol. It means we can spend our evenings playing games or watching movies, and I feel fresh the next morning. I hope it’s something I stick with after lockdown is over, and reduce my drinking to maybe once a week, when I go to dinner with friends.”

Clare knew she needed to be careful with drinking in isolation. Image: Supplied.
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Abby

"Before isolation, I would usually only drink on the weekend. It would typically be a few too many and so there was never any temptation to drink throughout the week.

"In, isolation though, I thought having a drink each night would break up the days, so I was drinking far more frequently. But after doing it too much, I got really tired of having a hangover, so I eased off completely."

Claire

"With weekdays and weekends only really broken up by whether I had to get up to an alarm and log into my work computer, I found that I really needed to give myself something to look forward to when the working week was over. The first Friday in self isolation after putting my kid to bed, I found myself having a wine and calling friends who would otherwise be out or working and it became a really enjoyable full stop to the end of the working week.

"But then it started to creep into Saturday night drinks and I'm justifying it because I don't need to drive or pay for an Uber I can just sit at home and still be social with friends. I went to the bottle shop twice and hated it so much with people all invading my 1.5m social distancing space so I went online but instead of picking up just the one bottle, I bought a case of wine which I quickly realised is quite the temptation. So I'm trying to ration it out over the next few weeks, just one bottle can be opened on a Friday night and that's it!"

Claire is sticking to drinking on Fridays only. Image: Supplied.
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Polly

"I've always been someone who enjoys a drink so I'm surprised to find I'm drinking way less in isolation. For health reasons, I try to avoid alcohol during the working week, but come 6pm on a Friday, I'll pour myself a wine and then more often than not, I'll drink with friends throughout the weekend.

"When we first went into isolation, the temptation to let drinks creep into the working week was very real. I was feeling stressed and worried, and knew wine would give me a bit of an escape. But at the same time, I knew what the knock-on effect would be - broken sleep, poor concentration, low energy, bad food choices, and missed workouts. I knew that to stay well physically and mentally in isolation, I needed to limit the booze.

"So I've worked really hard to stick with only having a drink on weekends - and even then, keeping it to a minimum. I don't mind having a non-alcoholic drink like Seedlip or soda and lime instead."

Polly is drinking way less. Image: Supplied.
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Isobel

"I've found I've been drinking a lot more during isolation. Apart from the fact that I'm generally just bored (like everyone else), I am usually a person who does lots of activities and I'm rarely home every night in usual times. So being bored at home has just made me automatically have a wine every night. This, combined with the fact that I've been experimenting with some more difficult recipes in the kitchen (and I love a vino when I cook) means that the alcohol consumption in my household has gone up. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to normal and having a drink with friends as part of socialising or celebrating rather than just for the sake of it."

Rachel

"I'm not a huge drinker anyway and as soon as my social life was reduced to pretty much nothing, I stopped drinking completely. I just don't feel the need to drink when I am just staying at home and actually I feel like I will cope with working from home and coping with the general anxiety about self-isolation if I am sober.

"After this I might got back to drinking socially, but I think I'll be even more mindful than I was before."

If you are worried about how much you are drinking, help is available. Call Alcoholics Anonymous on 1300 222 222 for advice and support.

Seedlip

Seedlip, the world's first distilled non alcoholic spirits range, is available to buy online and iStore from Dan Murphy's, David Jones, BWS and independent bottle shops. Try our signature serve at home, which is 50ml of Seedlip over ice, with tonic & a garnish. For more recipes visit: seedlipdrinks.com/au or find us on Instagram @seedlipAus_NZ.

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