Drink smart over the festive period

With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, it can be a great time of year, but it can also be a time of excess, especially when it comes to alcohol.

The festive season is a good time to reflect on our drinking culture and the way we drink. Research tells us that even when people intend to drink responsibly, it can be difficult to stick to this plan because getting drunk is often an accepted norm, there is often social pressure to drink and the setting makes it easy to drink large amounts.

To keep your risk of alcohol-related harm low: men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis. If you drink as much as 14 units a week, it’s best to spread this evenly over 3 or more days.

Mindful tips for festive fun

  • Having a party? Consider stocking up on some non-alcoholic beers and wines or making a mocktail alongside your boozy offerings! Anyone that is trying to reduce their alcohol consumption or who doesn’t drink will appreciate your efforts to
    allow them to fit in with the party vibe.
  • Eat before and while you are drinking and alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks. You’ll thank yourself in the morning!
  • Plan activities for your family that don’t involve alcohol. Even responsible alcohol use can send the message to your children that alcohol is a necessary part of everyday life. Show them that alcohol doesn’t have to be part of every social
    situation to have a good time.
  • Set yourself some goals. New Year is a great time to think about cutting down the amount of alcohol that you consume. Jump on the Dry January bandwagon to reset your relationship with alcohol and give it up for the month:
    88% of participants saved money last year, 71% had better sleep and 58% lost  weight!
  • Pour your own drinks so you can be sure of how much you have consumed.
  • Think about how much money you’re prepared to spend on a night out and stick to a budget.
    If all your best efforts fail and you find yourself with a hangover – apparently a “red ambulance” will do the trick (so Twitter says), which is a full fat can of Coca Cola – the sugar and caffeine being the magic ingredients! Obviously, you can also replace lost fluids by drinking liquids that are easier on the digestive system and
    contain less sugar but can still perk you up such as water, tea or sports drinks.

Getting help

If you’re concerned about your drinking or someone else’s, a good first step is to see a GP. They’ll be able to discuss the  services and treatments available. As well as the NHS, there are several charities and support groups across the UK that provide support and advice for people with an alcohol misuse problem. Drinkline runs a free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else’s. Tel: 0300 123 1110