Lockdown could be your chance to break old habits. It’s an opportunity to set a new routine. Getting up at certain times, having a good wholesome breakfast, scheduling in breaks and then getting some sun on you. People should aim to be buying whole foods – including lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
It takes 21 days to make or break a habit’ is the popular saying which gives us exactly this amount of time to break old habits or start to form new healthy ones. As soon as a crisis hits – particularly one which sees us isolated from our friends and family and our lives essentially put on hold – we pour ourselves a glass of wine and wait for it all to blow over.
Alcohol or cigarettes are either our first thing we go to in a state of panic or stress or even boredom, and during this time in lockdown it’s the easiest thing to do is relax with a glass of wine of smoke 10 cigarettes a day.
But if you’re finding yourself drinking more than usual during self-isolation and you’re concerned – particularly when we don’t know for sure when lockdown will end – well then you need to try and break these habits for your own health.
Try and keep busy during this time, after you’ve finished work, find activities to occupy your time. Home workouts, scheduling calls with friends, board games, computer games– anything to keep you busy. Try booking these allocated hours into your calendar as it will help plan out your day and may help you unknowingly avoid drinking if you’re keeping busy.
So it’s crucial that we stay in touch with friends and family. Ask them how they are doing, and if there’s anything you can do to help them. This makes us feel great when we support our loved ones. Be intentional and book in check-ins with friends where you listen to each other, be vulnerable and open up to each other. This helps us feel less worried and anxious and helps us remember we have a shared human experience with many others around us, helping to ease those feelings of isolation.
Try to link your current drinking to your normal routine, as this is the best way to keep drinking at a sensible level. Ask yourself: ‘Would I have had a drink right now if I wasn’t in isolation?’ and let the answer guide your actions.
Look to lifestyle choices – exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough good-quality sleep, and going easy on yourself. Eating nutritious meals will keep your mind healthy, and this boost will mean you’ll be less likely to drink to excess as you’ll be looking after your mental health. Don’t drink too close to bedtime, as it interrupts your sleep quality, leading you to be likely to drink more the following day. And do something new and exciting to keep yourself smiling – learn a language, read a book – whatever it is to cheer you up in these tough times.
Try your best to beat some bad habits, you have nothing to lose.