As Melbourne re-enters lockdown, we want to share with you some Offspring insights from our first lockdown experience.

Over our first dinner since the ease in restrictions, me and some close girlfriends lamented the (mostly bad) habits we had developed during lockdown. Unsurprisingly, we all had less productive days, sometimes overslept and watched the entire series of ‘Normal People’ in three days. It was only when one girlfriend joked that she had to have a wine every night when she clocked off work, “to get through,” I wondered how many people could resonate with this.

Are we pouring ourselves a drink as soon as we step out of our working-from-home office to symbolise the end of the day? Are we slipping into harmful habits because we can roll out of bed and clock on for work within half an hour, more easily ignoring the dull headache from last night’s wine?

Normally, many of us begin the day at home, leave for work, and mark the end of the day by walking out the office door. Now, there is no physical step in between, which, DrinkWise Ambassador Dr Andrew Rochford says, “increases opportunity to drink in excess.”

For many, the line between work and home has become dangerously blurred. Dr Rochford warns, “in uncertain times like these, there’s a temptation to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism.” This ‘new normal’ has affected every aspect of our lives; including a ‘new normal’ perception of alcohol consumption.

So, are we really “drinking our way through Iso”?

Closures of pubs and restaurants saw an unsurprising 6 per cent drop in alcohol sales. We are not going out drinking at bars and pubs on weekends, but according to Commbank’s analysis, we are spending nearly 40 per cent more at bottle shops compared to this time last year.

While this is a big leap, the spike in purchases in March could also be attributed to panic-induced buying; so we wanted to ask our readers if their drinking habits have changed.

According to a survey of over 70 Offspring readers – comprising an even number of male and females – more than 80 per cent said their overall consumption did not increase in lockdown, but a third of those people said their consumption on weekdays had increased.

Nearly half drink at least once or twice between Monday and Friday, and another 20 per cent clock off with an alcoholic drink on three to four working days per week.

On average, the vast majority of us still drink the most on Fridays and Saturdays and quieten down from Sundays to Tuesday– we’re glad people are still distinguishing between days.

COVID has unleashed profound challenges on us all. Of readers surveyed, 47 per cent have felt increased stress or anxiety and a huge 70 per cent have felt “up and down”; a perfect storm for coping mechanisms like alcoholism to creep back in.

Just as we thought things were getting back to normal, the reality of this highly infectious disease is sinking back in. After our first strict lock down experience, we found our emotions were volatile and everyone was feeling particularly vulnerable. But like our readers responses in lockdown one, hopefully we can all “enjoy slowing down,” this time too.

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