It’s hard to believe that we’ve been dealing with Covid-19, quarantine, lockdown, and all the restrictions that come with it for over a year now. What started as a clip on the evening news has now become our new normal. We decided to take a look back and see if we can take away any lessons learned from quarantine. We went back through our most popular podcasts, social media posts, articles, and blog posts from the past year. What questions and concerns have people had when it comes to the coronavirus, their heath, drinking during lockdown, and just life in general? Here’s what we found:
1. Our health is important to us and we want to feel better!
The most popular podcast in the past year was Episode 308 – “What are the health benefits when you stop drinking?” One of the key lessons learned in quarantine is that it all starts with curiosity. Researching the health benefits of taking a break from alcohol is a great way not only to empower yourself but to also make an informed decision. When we make decisions that not only feel good but can also be backed up by science we’re more likely to stick with them.
2. Our memories are precious to us
While the prolonged time spent at home has been difficult for sure, there have been unexpected benefits to it. We’ve all slowed down. Forced to spend more time with those we love. That has made us aware of just how much we miss out on when we numb ourselves with alcohol. One of the lessons we’ve learned from quarantine is that these moments and memories are worth remembering. We can only hope that we hold on to that long after restrictions are lifted and life goes back to a semblance of normal.
3. If you’re spending all that time alone together … intimacy becomes even more important to you
There’s only so much social distancing we can all practice, right? When we’re spending all of our time with the one we love, it only makes sense that there’s going to be some more love in the air. Especially if you’re not drinking. When you’re alcohol-free, relationships tend to improve. Add to that the fact that you’re no longer desensitized to feeling everything – physically and emotionally. You can understand why getting it on seems more and more appealing. You have to pass the time some way! Might as well spend your time getting intimate with the one you love. Definitely a win-win situation!
4. We need each other
One of the first and most immediate needs we saw come from the coronavirus pandemic was community. Among the most important lessons learned in quarantine was that we all need each other. Even if we can’t get together with one another in person we need to be able to connect in some way. Especially when we’re struggling in a world where everyone seems to be coping by drinking. Meanwhile, we’re trying our hardest not to drink. We recognize the need for support and comradery and offer resources both internal and external to make those connections and find support.
5. Sharing our struggles is important
2020 might have seen us socially distancing but it also brought us all together on a global scale. For the first time in many of our lives, we realized just how closely connected we all are and how similar many of our struggles are. Martha resonated with so many listeners when she appeared on the podcast and shared why she was removing alcohol from her life. We continued to offer stories to inspire and encourage everyone living an alcohol-free life in the midst of the pandemic with the release of This Naked Life: 48 True Stories of Finding Freedom from Alcohol – available as a free download here.
6. We realized that alcohol wasn’t helping us anymore.
It took us about six months but we started to realize that alcohol wasn’t doing a darn thing to help with all the turmoil in the world. We saw the shift from “the only way to cope with lockdown is drinking” to “how do I stop drinking so I can cope with lockdown?” In fact, our January Live Alcohol Experiment had more participants than ever before. Many of you began to see that thinking a drink won’t fix this was a valuable lesson learned in quarantine.
7. At some point we have to face our demons
We often think that as long as we keep running and never slow down we can outrun our inner demons. Covid and quarantine brought that tactic to a screeching halt. Everything came to a hard stop and we were all forced to face ourselves. Our beautiful, messy selves. Coming face to face with everything that makes us who we are can be an eye-opener but it’s also incredibly healing. That fast pace of life and drowning it all out with alcohol can only last so long. Isn’t it great to know that this too shall end? When it does you’re going to emerge not only stronger but also more at peace with yourself.
Beyond the lessons learned in quarantine
I was forced to face my fears, my demons, and my beliefs long before quarantine. Read all about it and how I gained control of alcohol. Download the first 40 pages of This Naked Mind for free right now!
8. We started tuning into how alcohol really makes us feel
Many of us turned to alcohol to quell the anxiety caused by Covid, lockdown, and even the political tensions we were surrounded by. An occasional drink to calm us down turned into daily drinking to tamp down the constant unrest we were feeling. Forced to acknowledge what we’d been able to avoid or write off as a coincidence when we weren’t drinking as often. Drinking alcohol is like pouring fuel on the fire when it comes to anxiety. Science backs up what we’ve all now experienced – alcohol only increases anxiety. It does not take it away.
9. We need better coping mechanisms
Alcoholic beverage sales shot up 55% in the third week of March 2020 compared to the same time a year ago, according to Nielsen. Current sales still outpace those of a year prior. The past year has made us anxious, stressed, scared, overwhelmed, and so many other things. Obviously, we just don’t have the healthy coping mechanisms needed to handle that. We’ve been told from early on that when times get tough we need a drink to deal with it. Yet when there’s a global health emergency, is drinking something that is known to lower the immune system really the best we can do? Of all the lessons learned in quarantine, I think the most valuable one is that we need to offer people support and coping mechanisms beyond alcohol.
10. We’re ready for a break
All of us at This Naked Mind are thrilled that most of our most popular posts, podcasts, and articles are those that encourage others to take a break from alcohol. 2020 has held lessons on so many important subjects and one of those subjects is changing the narrative about alcohol. It is time to stop treating taking a break from alcohol as a sure sign that someone must have a drinking problem. You can choose not to drink for any reason without owing anyone an explanation for your choice. If you drank too much, didn’t like how it made you feel, didn’t like how it made you behave, you’re concerned for your health, you want to sleep better, be a better example for your children – whatever your reason is – you can take a break from alcohol. Never feel like you need to justify not taking a drug and alcohol is a drug.
Lessons Learned From Quarantine
In the past year, we’ve all learned lessons from quarantine. One of those lessons is that there is only so much we can control in our lives. Political climates, pandemics, the economy – they all remain out of our circle of control. We can control our beliefs, our desires, and our relationship with alcohol though. For that, I am eternally grateful and I hope that each and every one of you finds a relationship with alcohol that brings you peace no matter what is going on in the world around you.