It takes 66 days to create a habit, and most Australians have been in different stages of lockdown for longer than that. During COVID-19, research shows more people are drinking, and people are drinking more. Habit formation expert from the University of Melbourne, Associate Professor Terry Bowles, said many of us may have picked up or formed new habits over the last few months without even realising it.
A survey of 1,000 Australians aged 18-65 also found 12 per cent of people drank more alcohol than usual during lockdown, and 10% said that on average, they drank more than the recommended National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) draft guidelines, consuming more than 11 standard drinks per week. This increases the risk of alcohol-related injury and diseases like cancer.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Break the Habit campaign highlights that even small increases to the amount of alcohol you drink can become harder to shift over time.
It’s more important than ever that we prioritise our health and wellbeing. The less alcohol people consume, the lower the risk of alcohol-related accidents, injuries, dependence and chronic illness, such as cancer. Less alcohol can also help people feel less stressed or anxious, sleep better, lose weight, improve relationships and save money.
To find out how your drinking measures up, try out the quick and interactive Drinking calculator: