Avoiding the ‘wall’ in lockdown

28th Apr 2020 by Matt Claridge

The fight to eliminate Covid-19 is a marathon, not a sprint. And as we come to terms with what Level 3 means – effectively more of the same lockdown restrictions for most of us – many will be at risk of hitting that dreaded ‘wall’ runners fear. 


For a runner, hitting the wall means not being able to carry on at the same pace, with the feelings of fatigue and negativity that typically accompany it – usually when the end is in sight but the finish line seems a long way off.


In this unique lockdown situation where many of our freedoms are gone and our ‘bubbles’ are being pushed to the edge after three weeks together without a break, it can be easy to turn to typical crutches, like drinking more than usual.


Last week we launched a #drinknormal campaign to encourage Kiwis to stick to the Ministry of Health’s low risk drinking guidelines, that’s three drinks for men and two for women a day with two days off drinking each week. We also suggested alcohol free days, and to look for other ways to relax that don’t involve alcohol. We’ve had some great feedback, but many people have told us that they’re drinking more because they’re bored, or stressed or, as essential workers, they’re under massive pressure. 


But drinking more, more often means your alcohol tolerance grows – which is bad news. Your tolerance can creep up without you even noticing. There may be more bottles in the recycling bin and it takes an extra drink or two to ‘take the edge off’. Alcohol affects the quality of your sleep. You wake up feeling less rested, less positive and less productive for whatever your day holds. It also contributes to feelings of anxiety – enter the dreaded ‘hangxiety’ – and can adversely affect your mental health.   


The good news is that you can reset your tolerance relatively easily by reducing your alcohol intake. And as we approach the final push of strict lockdown, but still face more time at very restricted activity, now’s the time to do it. Take a break from the drink. Notice the psychological and environmental triggers that lead to your drinking. We’ve likely all been taking a few extra trips to the fridge since lockdown began, so rather than reaching for a beer, fill your fridge with other chilled drinks, such as smoothies or juices. How about going for a walk or run, or trying an online workout at 5pm to change your routine for the better.


We’re not at the finish line yet, but we’re getting closer. Avoid the wall. Reduce your alcohol intake. Now more than ever, we need to look after ourselves as we head towards post-isolation.