Between office parties, holiday gatherings, and the additional social and financial stress that accompanies the holiday season, it can be challenging to resist the urge to unwind with a drink or several. A study conducted by Alcohol Monitoring Systems showed that over 450,000 monitored DUI offenders increased their drinking rate by 33% between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. This spike exemplifies the correlation between increased alcohol consumption and the holiday season. While the opportunity and temptation to drink may be higher than ever during this time of the year, it doesn’t mean that you have to make unsafe and unhealthy decisions. Here are a few ways to smartly sip this season.
Alcohol Moderation During the Holidays
Enjoy your drink and savor it by sipping slowly. Balancing your intake with food is also a good idea and will help you feel full, as well as slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.
Drink Water In Between Alcoholic Beverages
Alternating alcoholic drinks with water is an excellent strategy to slow down your alcohol consumption. It will also keep you hydrated and comfortable, no matter the social setting.
Never Drink on an Empty Stomach
Always be sure to eat something before you leave the house. Eating on an empty stomach will expedite and enhance the effects of the alcohol. Snacking on appetizers and other treats throughout the event is also a good idea.
Set a Realistic Goal for How Much You Will Drink
If you struggle with limiting how much you drink, begin by setting a goal and sticking to it. Your goal can include the number of drinks you have, the types of drinks you will have, when and what you eat before drinking, and many other factors. An “all-or-nothing” approach is rarely successful, and you can greatly benefit by being honest with yourself and setting safe, but realistic expectations.
Have Someone to Keep You Accountable and Safe
If you know you may struggle with the temptation or opportunity to binge drink, have someone at the party or gathering keep an eye on you. This can be anyone or any group of people. Your date, a friend, a family member, someone you trust. You should always assign a designated driver, or if you are by yourself, take advantage of Uber, Lyft, or a taxi service to get you safely home after a night out.
While this is a statistically more active time of the year for binge drinking, it doesn’t have to be for you. However, if you are struggling with controlling your drinking, during the holidays, or anyone other time, you may want to consider a consultation with one of the board-certified psychiatrists at Psychiatry Associates of Baton Rouge. We have a team of skilled, compassionate mental health professionals with the experience and resources needed to help with these challenges.