Iso has changed the way many Australians drink alcohol. Much of the conversation around drinking in isolation has cited that people are drinking more than they usually would.
According to research by Hello Sunday Morning, this is both correct and incorrect. 21% of people surveyed said they were drinking more, but the people who said they were drinking less in iso also came in at 21%.
The research itself was conducted by market research company Hall & Partners, on behalf of Hello Sunday Morning, a movement that aims to educate Aussies on drinking culture. 320 adults were surveyed in the research to find out why people we’re drinking more in the current climate.
The reasons were pretty relatable. According to Hello Sunday Morning, “between 41 and 53% of people nominated ‘boredom’, ‘anxiety or stress’ ‘keeping my spirits up’ and ‘tempting, as more time at home’ as their main reason.”
14-21% said that loneliness was the reason behind their increased drinking, as well as no longer having to get up early for work and there being little to no consequence of having a hangover.
When it came to solo drinking, there was a big jump. Without the option to invite a friend over for a drink, many people found themselves drinking alone. 22% of respondents were drinking alone more often in iso, versus the 16% who said they were drinking alone less often.
“There’s no friend or partner or colleague involved, and nobody to act as a moderating influence or handbrake,” Hello Sunday Morning said of drinking alone.
“It’s no surprise that anxiety and stress are key drivers of people drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kathryn Fletcher, clinical manager at Hello Sunday Morning, told 10 daily.
“There are compounding worries about the virus itself, increased family tensions, financial challenges, the stress of separation from their usual social support networks, and sheer uncertainty about how this is all going to play out. All of these factors increase the strain on people’s relationship with alcohol.”
As restrictions are slowly eased over the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how these new drinking habits change or whether it’s here to stay for a while longer.
Hello Sunday Morning flagged the role of alcohol retailers in this trend, with the advertisement for booze increasing over the last few weeks and months.
“Of course, there are those with vested interests in keeping us drinking at this new, higher level. You will have noticed the newspaper advertising spend from local liquor retailers approaching Christmas-levels of intensity, and the same thing appears to be happening in other countries.”
If anxiety has been a common feeling for you since being in iso, scaling back the amount of alcohol you drink could help. Many people are taking on ‘Dry COVID’ as they would Dry July.
“With so many reasons for drinking more right now, it’s not a bad idea to take a deliberate decision to wind back during this period,” said Hello Sunday Morning.
“People who do a Dry July, or FebFast (or whatever) commonly notice that their background levels of anxiety drop away after a week or so, and stay low. Improved sleep is also frequently reported, along with a better ability to deal with day-to-day crises, and these all sound like very useful attributes to cultivate right now.”