A Human View: Lockdown, Beer, Workouts and Mental health.

Beer, Mental Health and Fitness: A Good Combination?

Isolation, routine, health, fitness and productivity. In these difficult times, I’ve noticed these words being thrown around social media over and over again, motivating people to stay positive and do something new or improve in some way or another. Who has seen a motivational post about how you need to spend your time in isolation? Write a novel! Play your neglected instrument! Train for a marathon! We’re constantly told that productivity is good and healthy and that we should use this time effectively and pursue our goals. Is this mind set healthy for everyone? Should productivity or stressing about trying new things be at odds with what you really want to do or how you really feel?

But Tetlow, how does this link to beer, mental health and fitness? Get to the point! Productivity is good. Doing something worthwhile with your time is also beneficial to stay positive and focused but why put unnecessary pressure on yourself? Blimey, what is the point adding to the anxiety and stress going around at the moment right? I get up at no specific time, then do a bit of work,  and then have a blast at thrashing my body in some idiotic workout that I planned the day before, and then chill in the evening with a beer every couple of days or so. No pressure. No frills. That’s what I enjoy doing. Do I want to write a novel or take up baking? No!

Beer, mental health and fitness. Three words that are rarely thrown together when you consider a healthy lifestyle. Despite this, during these difficult times and being given the opportunity to reflect on my own goals, I have started to challenge the idea that alcohol and health are completely at odds.

I should point out at this point. I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist. I am not a dietician and not qualified at all to give advice on this topic or even actively encouraging you to drink but these are just my thoughts on something that I’ve found interesting. If you are struggling at all with your mental health, alcohol addiction or any issues like that I have left relevant numbers and points of contact at the bottom of this article so you can get help you need.

Alcohol is not something that people see as complimentary to your health whether that be physical and mental. The NHS website clearly highlights the recommended weekly alcohol consumption and you must respect this to stay on the right side of the line. Alcohol is often seen as being contradictory to living a healthy life because, like everything, too much of something is unhealthy. However, I think that completely writing off relaxing over a few beers with family and friends is too simplistic and fails to acknowledge some important benefits, certainly from my perspective anyway.

From thinking about the potential benefits of having a beer, I stumbled across an article which highlighted the benefits of modest alcohol consumption and what effect it had on how people behaved and felt. Most research on alcohol and how we use it in society has been focussed on overconsumption and this makes sense. Drinking heavily has disastrous effects on your health but there is evidence to suggest that there are some social benefits to modest alcohol consumption including greater psychological wellbeing, stronger personal bonds and more trusting of their local community. Very interesting.

This notion got me thinking. In isolation I think it is clear to everyone that psychological wellbeing and your local community have become extremely important. Like I said, I am not a scientist, but my routine and how I am feeling about my own position in isolation was certainly not at odds to this study. It relates more generally to how you relax and unwind, not just enjoying your beverage of choice.

You cannot go 100% all the time. I’d certainly like to think that I can go BEAST MODE with laser focus and crush every single daily task all the time. No. That’s not reality and good luck to you if that’s your approach. Of course! Be productive. Do something that makes you happier or gets you a little closer to where you want to be in the future but this should not be at odds with your mental or physical health.

If all you want to do is reflect and do stuff you enjoy during this difficult time then do that! Watch your favourite Disney films again, talk rubbish to your friends on Zoom or whatever. Ignore those people who appear to be accomplishing literally everything in isolation. The chances are that simply isn’t true. What am I doing you ask? Hey, my routine is pretty simple like I mentioned before. Bit of work, exercise and unwind with a beer or two with my family enjoying this amazing weather. I’m having a great time because it’s what I want to do with my free time at home. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back, reflect and enjoy what you’ve got with those around you. If that’s over a beer like it is for me, then so be it. Sometimes the benefit of that moment with those closest you is worth much more than you think.

Am I saying you should drink beer? No. Am I saying drinking is the best way to unwind? Absolutely not. If your way to unwind is over a mug of tea and a good book then awesome. Take it easy. You’re going to be in a much better place if you’re doing something you enjoy and you take care of your physical and mental health. Now is not the time to be stressed about what you should be doing. Just focus on looking after yourself and those closest to you.

By

Christian Tetlow – Cannabrew Drinking, Deep thinking badass. 

Below are some places where you can get help if you are struggling in these tough times. Please, please, please continue to talk to family and friends and seek additional help if you need it.

Advice about alcohol habits and advice can be found here:

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/drinking-habits-and-behaviours/alcohol-and-coronavirus/coronavirus-alcohol-and-mental-health/

If you need to talk to someone about your own mental health or someone you know, the relavent numbers/advice lines can be found here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

Functional Benefits of (Modest) Alcohol Consumption – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40750-016-0058-4