It’s so easy to get caught up in the festive vibe and overindulge in Christmas spirit – in the alcoholic form – but not if you remember your ways to drink safely. Alcohol can be pretty evil if it isn’t handled well – it’s highly calorific, it can damage your body, impair your reasoning and at the very least can give you a stonking hangover that leaves you unable to participate in and enjoy the next round of festivities. Avoid the perils of alcohol with these ways to drink safely in the holidays (and any other time!).
1. Pace Yourself
Probably the most obvious and sensible of ways to drink safely is to simply pace yourself. Some people tend to forget that Christmas is a period that lasts more than a single day. You could end up drinking for two or three days in a row and it is really important to be aware of how often and how frequently you are topping up your beverage. Make the conscious decision to take breaks in between your first, second and third drinks. It is not a competition and although the urge to make sure everybody is jolly and festive is understandable, finding festivity through five glasses of wine is not always the best way to go about it.
2. Choose Your Drinks Wisely
With the entire liquor cabinet to choose from over Christmas, one way to drink safely over the day is to choose drinks that you enjoy but have a lower alcohol content and strength. A small glass of wine, a can of beer and gin and tonic all have very different effects on the body when consumed in higher amounts, so if you know you are going to be drinking frequently throughout the day, maybe a vodka and coke should not be your drink of choice.
3. Plan Ahead
Christmas Day is the kind of day when time ceases to exist and you find yourself reaching for a glass of something way before noon! The best way to achieve a day of drinking safely is to plan ahead. Maybe lay out on the table all of the drink that you are going to allow yourself to consume for the day, and this visual reminder will help you to keep tabs on just how quickly you are drinking. If you notice your ration decreasing faster than expected, lay off until later in the day.
4. Avoid Taking Aspirin and Other Medicines
Sometimes the stress of a big family occasion such as Christmas Day can cause the mother of all headaches. In these cases you are usually tempted to reach for the medicine cabinet and grab an aspirin to help ease the pain, but this is a bad idea when combined with drinking. Alcohol has a much greater effect on the body if aspirin is present in the bloodstream, so you could find yourself drunker than ever on just a few drinks, which will ruin your planning ahead or pacing.
5. Remember to Eat and Stay Hydrated
Admittedly people do not need a reminder to eat on Christmas Day, but one of the most important ways to drink safely is to make sure your stomach is full and that you drink a glass of water regularly to keep your body hydrated. Alcohol does its very best to dehydrate the body so it is vital to keep topping yourself up to avoid feeling worse for wear later on in the evening.
6. Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure
We all have that friend or family member who makes a fuss if somebody chooses not to drink, but it is important that you do not give in to this pressure and end up drinking and getting yourself into a situation you do not want to be in. There is a range of fantastic non-alcoholic options for the dinner table around Christmastime, so do not feel as though you have to drink alcohol to really get into the festive spirit.
7. Deal with Your Post Christmas Hangover
If worse comes to worst and you do end up a little drunker than you wanted to be over Christmas, make sure you take care of yourself and make your hangover as endurable as possible. Spend most of your time rehydrating your body with small but frequent sips of water and put as much food into your stomach as you can bear. Foods such as chocolate, bananas and herbal teas are all great for easing the discomfort of a hangover.
How is your drinking over the holidays? Do you change your habits and drink more? I know I do!