Top tips for safer seasonal drinking
Keep calm this Christmas by reading our top tips for safer seasonal drinking.
Alcoholic drinks can flow freely throughout the festive period. It’s tempting to indulge, knowing that you have an extended break to relax and switch off.
But it’s easy to drink too much. Children might see their parents behave differently from usual due to having too much – which can be upsetting. It can lead to family arguments, or accidents in the home.
People also often try to do things they might ordinarily not do. Alcohol can lower inhibitions which may cause people to say or do something they regret later on. We want you to have a good time and enjoy yourselves, but always think about what you drink.
We have compiled some tips below for safer seasonal drinking. If you feel your use of alcohol or other drugs is becoming a problem, please get in touch with one our local services for free and confidential advice and support.
Our top tips for safer seasonal drinking
Slow your drinking pace
It can be tempting to get those drinks down fast or move onto the next free glass of Prosecco before it runs out. Remember that the quicker you drink, the harder it is to stay in control. Slow down and control the pace of your drinking.
Getting involved with other people’s rounds can cause you to drink quicker than normal and go at the speed of the fastest drinker in the group. Avoid this by buying your own drinks.
Enjoy soft drinks
Alcohol dehydrates you, so have a soft drink as well as, or instead of, another alcoholic drink. This can also help control your drinking. If you have a glass without alcohol in your hand, it will slow your drinking down. Plenty of venues now serve amazing soft drinks and mocktails.
Be aware that caffeinated drinks can also dehydrate you. You won’t feel as bad the next day if you have lots of water.
Eat before drinking
Food helps to slow the absorption of alcohol, stopping it going to your head too quickly and helping to protect your stomach lining.
Carbs and protein like pasta, potatoes and chicken are good to eat before or while you are drinking. They will keep you full and give you a slow release of energy throughout the day or night.
Watch your measures
Keep an eye on the amount of alcohol that is in each of your drinks and watch what your host it pouring into your glass. If you are drinking at home, be conscious that measures might be bigger than you are used to having at the pub or a bar. When pouring spirits, measures can vary a lot.
With wine being topped up around a table, it’s very easy to lose count of how much you have had. Watch what you are being given. If you aren’t sure, don’t rush on to another drink or try asking for something different instead.
Punches, mulled wine and cider can also vary in strength considerably.
Don’t bow to peer pressure
It’s very easy to feel peer pressure when out and about, whether at the office party or out on the town. If someone says you should have another “for the road” or “another one won’t hurt”, it’s always ok to say no or leave a drink untouched.
Enjoy going out with your colleagues this Christmas and do so in the knowledge that when you see them again you won’t be the person being talked about for the wrong reasons. Know your limits.
Don’t let yourself become the entertainment
When there are free drinks, rounds or peer pressure, it is easy to have more than you planned. Some people might have ulterior motives for getting others to drink more than they intended.
Don’t get talked about for all the wrong reasons. Consider what images people might have on their phones of that night. Remember, people have lost their jobs, careers and reputations on nights out.
They’ve been injured, hurt in fights, or got into trouble with the police. Stay safe and keep your reputation intact.
Don’t drink and drive
If you’re going out, even “just for one”, don’t take the car. Never drink and drive. Alcohol content builds up in the body so you can still be over the limit travelling back from a party the next day.
Get home safely
Get some numbers for local taxi firms stored on your phone or ask a member of staff in the venue who should have some. You can download apps like Uber to book taxis, but it can sometimes be difficult to book one at busy times.
If you need to wait for a taxi, stay somewhere safe and well-lit until it turns up, ideally with a friend.
Do a bit of research ahead of time on what offers are around and which taxi firms will get you home safely.
Make use of free online tools like DrinkCoach
DrinkCoach is a free online resource which helps you keep track of your drinking, The app gives you access to an alcohol test, helping you understand how risky your drinking is, and a wealth of other features to help you build healthier habits.