Are you finding gin o'clock is creeping earlier and earlier?
You wouldn't be alone. A survey on behalf of Direct Line Insurance found that alcohol consumption among a sample of 2000 people had increased by 12.6 units per week since going into lockdown. Further research suggests that over 250,000 people in the UK have their first drink before midday.
There's nothing wrong with enjoying drink. However if you find you are relying on that drink to get through the day, or your mood and performance are struggling as a result, then it's time to take action.
Alcohol can be a coping strategy along with others such as overeating and over- exercising. These are all ways of distracting us from the feeling or activity we are avoiding. Most importantly for mental health and anxiety, drinking alcohol can increase levels of anxiety, lower your mood and impact sleep.
If you find that you are drinking more than you usually would, try increasing the amount of sleep that you are getting by going to bed earlier. This will improve your mood and make you less likely to reach for a drink. You could also try planning an activity for the time of the day that you find most difficult. A scheduled call to a friend, an uplifting tv programme, some happy music; anything that distracts you and makes you feel good will release serotonin, lower anxiety and reduce your need to drink.
Julia Watson is the founding Clinical Hypnotherapist at Oxford Family Hypnotherapy. She thinks everyone has a small, still voice inside telling them what they are really capable of and likes helping them listen to it.