It’s that wonderful time of year. The festive parties and gatherings are starting, and the celebratory drinks are in full flow. But for anyone trying to cut down on alcohol, it’s not so festive.
Peer pressure combined with increased socialising makes it hard to turn down that extra drink. Good intentions can go out the window. It’s easy to overindulge.
Research commissioned by Sans Drinks found that a quarter (26%) of Aussies admit to drinking too much alcohol over the Christmas period.
While one extra drink (or two) may seem harmless, the physical and mental hangover is not.
Drinking messes with the chemicals in our brain which causes anxiety. In the longer term this increases the likelihood of depression.
So how can we avoid this and drink mindfully this year?
Make a plan…and stick to it
Before heading to social gatherings have a plan of how you can minimise your drinking.
Consider driving, leaving early before things get messy or avoiding bigger drinking events.
If you plan on having an alcoholic drink or two, spread them out over the course of the gathering. Depending on the event, you may choose to have a drink on arrival to get into the festive spirit. If it’s a lunch or dinner you may plan to enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your food.
Putting too much pressure on yourself to avoid alcohol is miserable and unnecessary – especially at Christmas. You can still have a drink and enjoy yourself. Just be mindful of your limits.
Rather than having a full glass of wine or beer, pour a small one or choose a low alcohol version. Boasting an identical smell, taste and look, you won’t even know the difference.
Until the next morning that is. No hangover for the win!
Change how you socialise
Not all Christmas get togethers need to involve drinking. There are so many other ways to socialise and celebrate. A picnic at the beach or having friends over at home are good ways to take the focus off drinking.
Alternatively organise an event which does include drinking…but of the non alcoholic variety.
Encourage your friends and family to get on board with mixing up a few mocktails or tempt them with some alcohol free wine or beer. They may well realise what they’re missing.
Have an accountability partner
Before you head into the holiday season tell a friend or family member about your decision to drink mindfully. Ask them to keep you accountable and support you when the going gets tough or temptations sneaks in.
Being accountable to someone can help you to stick to your goals and make better choices.
It can be the difference between reaching for that cocktail or mocktail. More importantly, it can be the difference between a hangover or not.
One of the easiest ways to give into temptation is by arriving at an event unprepared. Before you know it, someone’s offering you an alcoholic drink and pouring you a large one.
To avoid this, have a drink ready to take with you to enjoy. With so many non alcoholic drinks available you’re guaranteed to find something you love. And sipping on your new favourite tipple means you’re never missing out.
Before heading to a bar or venue, check out their drinks menu so you know in advance what mocktails or non alcoholic drinks they serve.
Swap alcohol for non alcoholic drinks
As increasing numbers of people choose to cut down on their drinking, they’re reaching for alternatives that are just as satisfying. The result? The non alcoholic drinks market is booming, offering a variety of delicious options.
Swapping alcohol for non alcoholic alternatives is easier than ever before. With so many health benefits you’ve nothing to lose this Christmas. Well, other than a hangover of course.
Cheers to that.
By Irene Falcone
Founder of Sans Drinks, Australia’s number one alcohol-free bottle shop.