16 Dec Does Happy Hour Come Early at Your House?
No question about it. It’s been a pretty miserable year with few bright spots. Zoom happy hours with wine o’clock memes and themes helped break the monotony of the Covid crisis—especially in the early days when we were in complete lockdown.
Working from home (WFH) removed a lot of boundaries
This year we learned that we don’t need an office—just a laptop and an internet connection. We learned that we can spend the entire day in our jammies or sweats. With activities limited, boredom, stress and anxiety surged. It became a little too easy to take the edge off with an afternoon glass of wine.
But this becomes a slippery slope. An afternoon glass of wine dovetails into happy hour. Then it’s dinner time, which means another few glasses of wine. If you’re drinking more, you’re clearly not alone.
A 30% increase in alcohol consumption since May
Not surprising, for the week ending May 2, total alcohol sales in the U.S. were up by more than 32% compared to the same week one year ago. The lockdown began mid-March, so according to a Nielson survey, it took just six weeks for alcohol sales to increase by a whopping 30%!
Here’s what’s scary: Excessive drinking increases susceptibility to Covid-19
Medical experts are worried by the escalation of these numbers. The World Health Organization and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have issued communications to avoid excessive drinking. Yale Medicine experts warn that it may increase Covid-19 susceptibility and severity.
Alcohol breaks down your immune system
We know that alcohol has a negative impact on the lungs and the immune system,” says David Fiellin, MD, director of the Yale Program in Addiction Medicine. “Alcohol can damage the intestinal lining, which then allows bacteria to enter the body more easily. That can ‘rev up’ the inflammatory response, which is also a big part of Covid-19 disease.”
Rajita Sinha, PhD, director of the Yale Stress Center, agrees. “Excess alcohol use affects our immune system so it is not functioning in the best way. This is important when we want it to be ready to fight Covid-19.”
Forget that alcohol relieves stress or is good for your heart
- Alcohol as a stress reliever. Alcohol actually stimulates the body’s stress response. While alcohol may help you fall asleep more easily, it actually provides interrupted sleep, increasing moodiness and irritability.
- Wine is good for the heart. Alcohol is a toxin, and it can make heart cells function poorly, resulting incardiomyopathy and other conditions.
Finding other ways to relieve stress. Find other ways to relieve stress—yoga, meditation, mindfulness, exercise, being with friends. Try cutting down or abstaining. If you are not able to do that, you may need to seek help.
Creating some peace of mind this holiday season
We’re looking forward to a vaccine, but most of us won’t see this until spring. Until then, many of our clients are dealing with the pandemic’s uncertainty by creating Living Trusts. Knowing that their families are cared for is providing some peace of mind. The next month is going to be especially critical. Mask up and practice social distancing. Stay home and stay safe. Be there to celebrate next year’s holiday.
Our Living Trust package includes a Power of Attorney, an Advance Healthcare Directive and a Will. If you have children under 18, it means that you can select their Guardian rather than having the court appoint one for you.
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