holiday party alcohol

With party after seemingly endless party, a lot of us will be drinking much more than usual around the holidays. Despite their festive nature, holiday gatherings can actually be rather stressful at times, and many people completely overdo it and don’t know how to find a happy balance between being a little buzzed and over-drinking. Here are some tips on how to drink without overdoing it this season.

Stop worrying about alcohol. Every holiday party becomes a battleground that involves booze, social nerves, and the sudden pressure to be MERRY ALL THE TIME. So, most of us grab another drink, another cookie, freak out about our decision and do it again. The fear makes us overdo it, not the festivities. Both food and booze can be used as emotional numbing agents, especially during the holidays when both are plentiful. Approach alcohol in an intentional way with respect and moderation and you will drink less. Remember, your friends (and family) will love you without alcohol too.

Gauge your appetite before you drink… Alcohol inhibits ghrelin, our hunger hormone, and makes you stop wanting to eat after a drink. If you don’t eat, a hangover is guaranteed, so be sure to have a pre-meal before drinking, and snack on healthy, hearty foods throughout the evening if possible.

…Because when you are hung-over, you will eat everything. Having too much booze and not enough food will throw your blood sugar way out of whack. That, combined with dehydration, means your body will wake up in survival mode and you will try to eat everything in sight. Drink some water, pace yourself, and really try your best to take care of your body this holiday season.

A cocktail does not equal stress relief. Parties, especially work parties and those that involve making nice with unruly family members, can be unbelievably stressful. Grabbing a cocktail or beer might ease the stress at first, but remember: alcohol is a depressant. That first drink might help you relax but then after several you may find yourself feeling amped up and tense as your blood pressure spikes. This is also why drinking too heavily will mess up your sleep cycle.

What are your best tips for drinking (without overdoing it) during the holidays?

Featured Image: aya padrón via Flickr CC.

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Sarah is a freelance writer with a wide variety of interests, including international relations, politics, education, humanitarianism, women's rights, yoga, mental and physical health, and natural remedies.