Women, Alcohol, and the Pandemic
Many people, men and women have increased their alcohol intake since the pandemic. This reality coincides with the greater amounts of stress that the world has experienced over the past 14 months, so it makes sense that with increased stress levels, alcohol intake increases as well.
The pandemic has been especially stressful for women, as they have taken on most of the household and childcare responsibilities throughout the pandemic. What is also happening, is that women are drinking more. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that women’s use and misuse of alcohol is steadily increasing.
This is concerning because alcohol comes with higher health risks to women compared with men. The main reason for this, is that women have less water in their bodies compared to men. So if a woman drinks the same amount of alcohol as a man with the same height and weight, that woman will have more alcohol in her body compared to the man. This leads to women developing addiction and physical health consequences as a result of alcohol use faster then men. Some of these physical health problems include gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, liver damage, and breast cancer.
If you notice that you are drinking more, here are some strategies to help you reduce your alcohol intake.
Replace alcohol with healthier stress management tools
If you notice that you are using alcohol to reduce your stress at the end of the day, try doing something healthier activities instead like, meditation, reading, having quiet time just for yourself, or going for a walk.
Reserve alcohol use only for social occasions
Social use of alcohol is exactly that, in social situations only. Try to limit your alcohol use to only situations where you are socializing, and make sure you are not drinking too much, and are drinking plenty of water as well. If you are using alcohol to cope with stress and uncomfortable feelings outside of social situations, this is considered alcohol misuse or abuse.
Avoid social situations where you may be tempted to drink more than you would like
If you know that certain social situations will lead you to want to drink more than you normally would, then avoid these situations all together, or have a plan to leave early.
Plan social activities that do not involve alcohol
A helpful way to avoid drinking is to plan social outings that are not centered around drinking, such as hiking, biking, or other outdoor activities.
Seek help if you are not able to cut down your drinking
If you have a strong desire to cut down your drinking but you are finding it difficult to do so, try meeting with a therapist to help you identify other ways to help you cut down.
I hope these tips are helpful! Stay well and healthy, and reach out anytime!