Annette Boden MSc

Alcohol – know your limit and enjoy healthier festive season and beyond

Published 30 Nov 2018 Associated Categories Featured, Reflections

As we come into the festive season, a time of fun and frivolity, office parties and annual gatherings, it is a time to have some fun and enjoy the festive celebrations. Central to much of the celebrations are food and drink. It is the ‘drink’ I would like to focus on and offer some helpful guidelines and tips so that you can enjoy the season happily, healthily and safely.

To do this, it is worth being aware of a few facts about alcohol excesses and some top tips to avoid the problems they cause.

The facts

There are many harmful effects that excess alcohol has on the body over time. These include: liver cirrhosis, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, fertility problems, impotence, low mood, anxiety, depression, insomnia, dementia and brain damage.

Further information can be found on the ‘alcohol concern’ fact sheet (link at the end).

Some of these effects will not be noticed for many years. However, alcohol also causes lots of short term negative consequences. Alcohol causes a high number of sick days off work due to hangovers caused by dehydration, low blood sugar and poisoning. Binge drinking can cause irregular heartbeat, and, in some cases, sudden death, known as ‘holiday heart syndrome’.

 

So, what can you do to enjoy the festive season and into the new year without drinking to excess?

Safe limits

The most recent guidelines published from the UK Chief Medical Officer suggest that, for both men and women, to keep health risk to a minimum, it is safest not to drink more than 14 units per week.

Some top tips

  • Enjoy the festive season mindfully – being more involved in  conversations, party games, or whatever plans you make; and self-compassionately -taking care of yourself by drinking less so that you savour the moments and pace your partying!
  • Drink plenty of water to re-hydrate, especially in between alcoholic drinks when out, and before going to bed.
  • Relax- unwind at the end of the working day with a walk or a shower, instead of reaching for that first drink. Unwind first.
  • Eat before you go out to reduce the effects of alcohol.
  • Focus on time management and stress management – avoid using alcohol as a coping strategy…it doesn’t work.
  • Drink slowly, drink less. You will remember all the highlights and think more clearly and positively the following day.
  • Try a few non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’ with plenty of fizz and flavour
  • Eat before you go out to reduce the effects of alcohol.
  • Avoid getting into ‘rounds’ on those party nights out, skip rounds, or alternate with soft drinks such as fruit juice or sparkling water.
  • Have more alcohol-free days to allow the body to recover and to keep your mood positive and immune system firing on all cylinders. At this time of year its easy to pick up coughs and colds if our immune system is weakened.

 

However, if this is a time of year you dread and you find yourself getting in to old familiar bad drinking habits to alleviate stress and anxiety, then get in touch here. I  can help you to address the causes of your suffering and learn new coping strategies to help you stay healthy for the festive season and beyond.

I wish you a peaceful, healthy festive season.

 

Visit www.alcoholconcern.org.uk  for further information

For further advice or help with problem drinking please get in touch here

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