Today is New Year’s Day, and as the nation rang in a new decade last night, I think it’s a safe bet to say a lot of us are feeling worse for wear right now.
If you are one of the many people with a massive hangover today, that awful physical feeling might also be accompanied by a creeping sense of dread, a feeling that you did something last night that you really shouldn’t have – The Fear.
But what is The Fear? Well, it’s a feeling a lot of us get after a big night out, which tends to involve an overwhelming sense of shame, anxiety and regret, often for no apparent reason.
Don’t worry if you have The Fear today, as you aren’t alone. And not only is it a pretty common feeling, there’s some science that explains why we feel this way after consuming alcohol.
Liz Burns, a lecturer of Mental Health Nursing at Salford University with a specialism in alcohol services, told the Manchester Evening News: “Feeling anxious the next day is down to the interaction of chemical compound glutamate. We may feel fearful because we can’t remember everything that happened the night before; it’s not at the forefront of the mind.
“We may be able to piece together moments, and memories can sometimes come back to us when we’re stimulated by something.”
Our inhibitions ‘turn off’ when we have a drink, making us relaxed, confident, but also clumsy, while our memory becomes impaired, due to brain processes slowing down, as we try to remember what we did the night before, Burns says.
Burns added: “When blood alcohol levels increase with the more we drink, the more ‘switching off effect’ we experience. The more we drink, the faster our liver has to work to break down the alcohol and when it exceeds this rate, that is when we become intoxicated.
“But drinking so much in a single episode can be very dangerous. It can result in alcohol poisoning and in some instances, the body can become unconscious.”
On top of that, a night of boozing usually means we have an awful night’s sleep, which is bad news for your mental wellbeing.
According to Burns: “Someone may think they slept because they had their eyes shut, but the liver is working overnight to break down the alcohol so it’s not a restful sleep and affects the quality. In the longer term, mood problems may occur as people might drink to feel better – but it’s a vicious cycle.
“Feelings of anxiety may initially feel better with drink. Others may have a ‘night cap’ to send them off to sleep, but it’ll actually cause disruption and they’ll be awake earlier.”
But how can we avoid The Fear? Burns says the best way is low-risk drinking rather than the binge-drinking the UK is known for.
This means limiting your alcohol intake to 14 units per week, spread out over seven days – although after last night you might just want to quit drinking forever, and who could blame you.
Greater Manchester school to withdraw places for pupils who break lockdown rules
The headteacher has issued a warning letter
A school has threatened to withdraw places for pupils who have told teachers they are visiting people from outside their households.
Yew Tree Community School in Oldham has said they will withdraw places for those children in school who have admitted to visiting friends, neighbours and family despite Covid-19 lockdown rules.
Headteacher Martine Buckley said she would take action when ‘parents were putting staff in danger’.
Currently, schools are open to pupils who are listed as vulnerable or as children of key workers. Families can also form childcare bubbles with another household and children who live between two parents who live separately can move between households.
However, other household mixing is forbidden.
Mrs Buckley began the letter by saying she was ‘upset’ to be writing this but that ‘I feel I must’.
She continued: “Our lovely children are open and honest and they tell us about their lives and activities.
“A number of them are telling us that they are visiting friends, neighbours and family which is against the law.
“Our teachers and support staff are putting their own safety at risk to look after your children and they should be confident you are doing your bit to follow the lockdown rules.
“I am afraid I will have to withdraw the offer of a place in school to children whose parents are putting us in danger.”
One man told the BBC that his two grandchildren who were at the school have been asked about their activities at home which was ‘out of order’.
He said: “My granddaughters are pretty intimidated by the tone.
“Asking them questions like that and then the answers off the back of that. They come to a decision of whether they are going to displace them or not.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We expect schools to work with families to ensure all critical worker children are given access to a place if this is required.
“We encourage all vulnerable children to attend.”
Keir Starmer calls for all teachers to be vaccinated during the February half-term
Boris has rejected the suggestion.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer calls for all teachers to be vaccinated in the February half-term.
Responding to the prime minister, Starmer said Boris Johnson should ‘bring forward’ vaccines for teachers and school staff to fulfil the ‘national priority of reopening schools’.
The Labour leader says he ‘welcomes’ any steps being taken towards reopening schools but is highly critical of the PM’s opening and closing of classrooms.
Starmer describes the government’s U-turns on schools as ‘the kind of nonsense that’s led to the highest death toll in Europe’.
He then repeated his calls to vaccinate teachers during the half-term, explaining that they should be given their first dose once the 14 million people in the top priority groups have had their first jab.
The government is aiming for over-70s, care home residents, frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable to have their first dose of the vaccine by February 15th, the start date for most schools’ half term.
Starmer asked Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday: “Everybody agrees that reopening our schools should be a national priority. But that requires a plan, and the PM hasn’t got a plan.
“So as a first step, does he agree with me that once the first four categories and the most vulnerable have been vaccinated by mid-February, he should bring forward the vaccination of key workers and use the window of the February half-term to vaccinate all teachers and all school staff?”
Johnson rejected this, saying only teachers and school staff in the top nine groups will be given priority for the vaccine.
Starmer criticised the PM saying that half term is a ‘fantastic opportunity’ to vaccinate teachers, but that he is ‘no wiser as to whether the PM thinks that’s a good idea or a bad idea’.
The prime minister insists that schools are not un-safe, explaining that the problem is they ‘bring communities together’ and ‘a large number of kids are a considerable vector of transmission’.
He added that the prioritisation of the vaccine should be up to experts not politicians, and that Starmer’s policy suggestion ‘would actually delay our route out of lockdown’.
Earlier today Boris Johnson confirmed that schools wouldn’t reopen before March 8th at the earliest.
Lidl to give frontline staff a £200 ‘thank you’ bonus for their hard work during the pandemic
A lovely gesture!
Lidl is set to give it’s 23,000 UK frontline employees a £200 bonus in recognition for hard work in the pandemic.
The gesture will be received by customer assistants, warehouse operatives and cleaners across more than 800 stores and 13 distribution centres in the UK.
There will also be a £100 reward to around 1,800 office-based staff.
The bonus will be put into staff’s February pay and will amass to £5.5 million in total.
Christian Hartnagel, chief executive of Lidl’s UK business, said: “It has been an extremely challenging period and our teams have done a phenomenal job in helping to keep the nation fed.
“I am incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment our colleagues have shown and continue to show and this payment is about recognising their unrelenting hard work and thanking each individual for the important part they’ve played in the year like no other.”
It comes after Lidl handed out £150 bonuses to all colleagues in March last year, and a pay rise in November.
Pay rises which see the entry-level wages increase from £9.30 to £9.50 an hour (outside M25) and £10.75 to £10.85 (inside M25) and will come into effect in March 2021.