Each year Australians and New Zealanders pause and gather on 25 April to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in World War I and all current and past service women and men. Inspired by the Anzac spirit, Anzac Day is about enjoying mateship and respectfully thanking those who've served or currently serve.
Despite the cancellation of gatherings this year you can still commemorate at home by watching live broadcasts, including the 5.30am Canberra dawn service and the 10am NSW dawn service in Hyde Park in Sydney via
RSL NSW. People across Australia are also planning to stand at the end of their driveways at dawn to pay their respects.
While we are all confined to our homes during the COVID-19 pandemic we can honour the day socially connected but at a physical distance, for our health. Lest we forget.
In the past drinking alcohol (often to excess) has been synonymous with Anzac Day. What is often overlooked is the detrimental impact of heavy drinking on health.
Alcohol can temporarily make you feel good or relaxed, however alcohol drinking a lot in a short time, or a lot of alcohol regularly over time, is likely to cause problems for your physical and emotional health. Binge drinking, or drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time, can be incredibly dangerous as it increases your risk of accident and injury and can compromise your immunity, which is especially dangerous during this pandemic.
If you do plan on drinking this Anzac Day here are a few tips on reducing the harmful effects on your health and wellbeing.
Slow down. It takes time for alcohol to reach the brain. You may be drunker than you think.
Keep track of your intake. Before you start drinking decide how many drinks you'll have and monitor your intake. Use the
Drinks Meter app to help keep you on track.
Eat well. Have something healthy and substantial before you drink and during (but avoid salty snacks.)
Alternate. Between alcoholic drinks, have water or other non-alcohol drinks.
Don't mix alcohol with other drugs. Using alcohol at the same time as any other drug can be dangerous. This includes drinking while using prescribed medicines. One drug can make the negative effects of the other even worse or stop your medication from working all together.
Don't drive. Never drive if you've been drinking.
If you'd like some help with cutting back on drinking and getting healthy, visit gethealthynsw.com.au/healthier-you/reduce-alcohol for free personalised health coaching via phone.
To track and reduce your alcohol use, download and use the NSW Health Drinks Meter app. Drinks Meter is a free app that provides confidential and personalised feedback based on advice from doctors and the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.
Know your limits
To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) provides the following advice, in their latest draft of the 'Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol', they recommend:
- Healthy men and women – no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
- For women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy – not drinking alcohol is safest option for their baby.
- Children and young people under 18 years of age - Should not drink alcohol.
The less you choose to drink, the lower your risk of alcohol-related harm. For some people not drinking at all is the safest option.
For free and confidential advice 24/7 call Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide counselling, information, referrals, and support. Or start a Web Chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5:00pm. ADIS can also provide up-to-date information about service availability in your area during the COVID-19 pandemic.