For over a year, households in the UK and abroad have been contending with a major factor affecting a wide range of psychological illnesses: living in lockdown. Not being able to freely go outside and engage in stress-relieving activities (including socializing, sports, shopping, going to the movies, and so much more) has prompted an increase in anxiety for individuals and families of all types.
Anxiety is a major contributor to chronic problems, and for some, it has caused an increase in substance abuse and drinking.
Drinking on the rise in the UK
If you’ve found yourself drinking more in the past year, you’re not alone. One-third of adults in the UK have reported drinking more while under a mandatory or voluntary lockdown, found a study from the University of Cambridge. During the first mandatory lockdown in the UK, adults increased their overall consumption from 10.94 to 11.25 units each week – a substantial increase in home consumption considering that a large portion of this alcohol was previously drunk in pubs or other exterior settings.
Adults with children in the household were more likely to increase their alcohol consumption, suggesting a link in the additional stress that comes with rearing a child while under such challenging conditions. Others who saw sharp increases in alcohol drinking were healthcare workers and caregivers for those who became sick or died with COVID-19.
While anxiety is always a problem in modern society, it is clear that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the amount of anxiety in the home. According to one study from The Lancet, those experiencing the highest anxiety from the lockdown tended to be younger, female, with less education, lower-income, and having existing mental health conditions. Adults living alone had a similar increase in anxiety during the lockdown periods as the isolation can become more and more unbearable.
When living with anxiety (either as an acute development or a chronic illness), alcohol can become a fast and easy solution to numb the mind and emotions. However, the relief is always only short-term, lasting only as long as the alcohol is in the system, and once sober the anxiety can return with much worse effects.
Drinking is a poor solution for anxiety in the long term due to the many negative health effects it can have on the body. Fortunately, there are a number of methods and activities that offer a much safer way to relieve anxiety while under lockdown.
Ways to healthily relieve anxiety while under lockdown
The Mental Health Foundation recommends several helpful methods of managing anxiety during this challenging time period. First and foremost is to control what you can control, and to recognize the difference between that which is controllable and that which is not. There are many external factors causing the lockdown and the ensuing financial distress that many households are experiencing. Recognizing that you may not be able to earn as much as you used to or even to work at all is important in letting yourself focus on other activities.
Lockdown is a perfect time to pick up a new hobby or to challenge yourself by learning something new. If you do decide to do this, keep in mind that your mental faculties are stressed and you may not learn as quickly as you used to. Be patient with yourself and reward your progress as you develop your new hobby. Pick something you’ve always wanted to try – the satisfaction from finally doing it can be tangible and long-lasting well past the lockdown period.
You might try cooking, painting, gardening, hair styling, learning a new language, or picking up an instrument. If you enjoy playing video games, consider getting into one that focuses on social elements and has a relaxing theme.
One of the worst things you can do while under lockdown is to get trapped in a routine. This can be very difficult to shake, particularly if there is not much change in the environment around you. However, when you are locked in a routine, your mind will become increasingly bored and distant, giving it more time to dig up reasons to be anxious and set off a spell of anxiety that is much less enjoyable than simply doing something differently in your day-to-day activities.
While being under lockdown may mean social distancing, that shouldn’t limit your time outside. It’s important to take in fresh air on a daily basis, whether it’s simply sitting on the porch or going for a walk. If you have trees and greenery near you, they can provide an excellent way to relieve stress simply through the experience of being around them and watching natural life unfold around you. Keep COVID-19 safety practices in mind and always bring a mask to slip on if you cross paths with others.
Even with anxiety-managing techniques in place, it can still be hard to shake drinking habits (especially if alcohol abuse was a problem prior to lockdown. In those cases, Home Detox is here to help.
Getting help if you need it
Attempting to go through with alcohol detoxification on your own can be both scary and dangerous due to the physiological effects of drinking cessation. The risk to yourself and your loved ones is substantial and shouldn’t be undergone without proper supervision.
At Home Detox, we use a proven, fully safe method of working with individuals to help them detoxify from alcohol and stop the harmful cycle of drinking. Our team will work with you to build a personalized rehabilitation programme based on your background and your needs.
Contact us today at 0333 444 0315 and start on your path to a healthy future.