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Working and Drinking Remotely

It’s no joke that we can turn to alcohol in times of stress, and for some it's a slippery slope. 

With more people working remotely there is less separation, between work and home. 

When telecommuting, there is no physical transition between work life and home life, and the lines between personal and professional, can get blurred. 

You as an employee, have more freedoms and can more easily hide behind a computer screen. On the other hand, managers may reach out for assistance during non working hours, so you might feel like you are always on. This may stress you out, feeling the need to fight or flight all the time.  

In addition, these uncertain times bring up feelings of loneliness, boredom, fear, depression and anxiety. Alcohol is often marketing as the cure to these emotions. 

If you’ve already been overindulging in alcohol, you may be feeling the mental strain of consuming a depressant and the hangxiety that follows. This creates a cycle of drinking to cure these uncomfortable feelings, which in turn amplify the feelings, causing you to be on a loop of drinking to feel better, without actually feeling better.  

Your health, sleep, and diet might all be taking a turn for the worse. 

With your gym, pottery studio, or whatever pleasurable outlet you have closing, you might be turning to the bottle more often than you would like. 

As we face the unknown future, you may crave a drink at the end of your workday and wonder:

Is it ok to drink at home when working remotely?

What’s the harm in just a few drinks, while finishing up a project?

What time is an OK time to have my first drink?

What are the rules on drinking while working remotely? 

Is it ok to drink during my evening meetings? 

Considerations for Drinking During Work Hours at Home:

I am hard pressed to think of any positive outcomes that could come from drinking during work hours under any circumstances. The safest answer is don’t drink while working. 

If your company has a policy of drinking during work hours, then the same policy applies for working remotely. No matter how unnecessary you think this policy is, you will be held accountable.

There are many possible negatives, however to drinking while working. 

If you drink enough to impair your abilities in any way, you are not able to perform at your highest level. 

People who have had too much to drink, often don't realize that they are impaired. 

Alcohol affects the part of the brain that is responsible for decision making. 

As you can imagine, many poor choices are made after just a few drinks. 

Drinking at work, even remotely, can negatively affect workplace relationships with co-workers and clients. 

Behavior and mood can be negatively impacted. 

The effects of a hangover could lead to others resentfully covering for you. 

Alcohol lowers workplace productivity, increases absenteeism, and lowers the quality of work. In the long term, alcohol-related burden attributes to compensation and employer liabilities. 

Sexual harassment (even by email, text, and phone), workplace compensation, accidents, injuries, and harm to property and equipment, all increase when alcohol is added to the equation. 

Resources for Employees Concerned about their drinking:

If you are an employee concerned about your drinking, there are many ways to get help.

The first place to start might be reaching out to your Employee Assistance Program. EAP’s are designed to help resolve a wide range of personal issues including alcohol abuse or addiction. EAP’s offer confidential counseling. 

If you do not want to seek help from an EAP or a therapist, you might consider finding a Life or Recovery Coach. Any reputable coach will offer a free discovery call. 

Coaches work with clients confidentiality to set goals, share resources, and add a layer of accountability.  I am a coach and I work independently with clients in a private business/ financial arrangement, and provide non-clinical coaching services for anyone related to their life purposes.

I use unique skills and understanding to work with individuals to set goals and work towards removing obstacles to living your best life.

Recovery coaching is a form of strengths-based support for people with addictions or in recovery from alcohol, other drugs, codependency, or other addictive behaviors.

Many groups such as AA, SheRecovers, and other online communities are hosting online meetings during this time of social distancing.

There is a growing Instagram and Facebook Community, including private groups, for people questioning their drinking.

Ditched the Drink offers free resources daily on all social media channels. 

If you are not sure about quitting forever, but just want support in taking a break, there are a few online alcohol free experiments, or sober challenges to consider. 

One option is my Ditched the Drink Digital Course. It is 6 weeks long, offering a daily educational videos, downloadable resources, and actionable steps. 

This is the perfect time to take a break and focus on your health, instead of falling further down into the drinking quicksand, during isolation/social distancing. 

Many people are using this time to detox, and learn something about themselves. Some are taking the class with friends and co workers. 

A few immediate tips to curb your drinking.

1. Identify your need.

The first is understanding what the need for the alcohol is at the time. It might be, the drink would fill the need of wanting to switch off from ‘work mode’ and relax. When we recognize and understand why we are drinking, it can help us realise that there are alternative, healthier ways to relax. You might be turning to the bottle out of boredom or loneliness, once you identify that, an alternative would be to call a friend. 

2. Find an alternate drink to alcohol.

For some, a drink after work is a way to mark the end of the day, or a treat for finishing a tough project. This can be done with swapping an alcoholic drink for a non-alcoholic drink. Pour your alcohol-free drink into a nice glass, add a garnish and make it special.

3. Change the Channel.

If you know that you get antsy for a drink dailly at 5:30 pm, try something different at that exact time instead. I call this changing the channel. One idea could be to go for a walk at 5:30pm sharp, before the cravings really set it. Moving your body after sitting at a desk all day can help you feel better both physically and mentally.  If you find you don’t have the energy for physical activities, you could run yourself a bath or find a quiet place and listen to a guided meditation. I love the Insight Timer app.

 If you’re a creative person, you could start a creative project to work on after work like sewing or making something crafty. I have a list of home projects that I turn to. 

4. Get help.

There are a lot of people in the same boat as you! You can  follow blogs and social media posts, as they are created to inspire you with some great ideas to help you change your relationship with alcohol, and show you the positives to living alcohol free. I don’t know anyone that wished they drank more. 

5. Show yourself compassion.

It is not going to be an easy routine to break. Be kind to yourself, and give yourself credit for trying! No one ever healed themselves by hating themselves. It might help to set small goals like, “I am only going to have a drink after work two nights a week, and the other nights I’ll call a friend, do online yoga, or read my book on the couch.”

You are not alone. With the right resources and support, you can change your relationship with alcohol to a fit that feels ideal for you. Contact me for a free discovery call


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