Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes festivities and fun. But this is a time when many people find themselves drinking more than they usually do.
Drinkaware, the UK’s leading alcohol education charity, has put together the 12 top tips of Christmas to see people safely and healthily through the Festive season and into 2019.
If you choose to drink alcohol this Christmas:
1.Keep in mind the Chief Medical Officers’ low-risk drinking guidelines and try not to drink more than 14 units, which is six standard glasses of 13% wine or six pints of 4% beer, in any week
2. If you choose to drink this much, then spread the drinking over three or more days and avoid binge drinking. Drinkaware’s app is there to help people track and calculate their units so that they can see their progress over time. Visit: drinkaware.co.uk/app
3. Try allocating several days every week when you don’t drink – the drink free days. This will help to reduce the overall amount of alcohol that you drink and let family and friends know that you are not always drinking and that it’s perfectly normal not to do so. If you have children, it will also show them that Christmas doesn’t have to include alcohol. Find out more at drinkfreedays.co.uk
4. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. A healthy meal before you go out or start drinking, and snacks between drinks can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol, helping you stay in control
5. Avoid drinking before you go out, what some people call ‘preloading’– it’s very easy for the drinks to stack up that way
6. Pace yourself by alternating any alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks and avoid drinking in rounds, which may make you drink more and faster than you intended
7. Try downsizing your alcoholic drinks– it will help you to drink less and reduce the number of calories that you are taking on board
8. Try having a no or low alcohol alternative or an alcohol-free mocktail – they are just as tasty
9. If you’re heading out to a Christmas party, make your plans in advance on how you will get home, with a licensed taxi cab, and with people that you trust. Remember that lone men can be vulnerable too
10. Keep warm and always take a coat. Alcohol makes blood flow to the blood vessels near your skin and away from the core of your body. If you then go out in the cold after drinking, you can lose heat very easily and quickly. And that can be dangerous
11. Remember that drinking and driving kills. It’s best to avoid alcohol completely if you are driving, even if that’s the morning after
12. And looking ahead to 2020: The New Year is a fantastic opportunity for people to really look at the amount of alcohol they drink and, where necessary, to make long-lasting changes to their drinking that can benefit their health and wellbeing. Drinkaware has a wide range of tools and apps to help. drinkaware.co.uk
It is worth also bearing in mind that whilst the work’s Christmas party is an opportunity to let your hair down amongst your co-workers and perhaps to get to know them more on a personal level, it is never funny to drink so much alcohol that you end up making a complete fool of yourself in front of your peers and not making it into work the next day. A sure-fire way to get yourself into trouble. So heed the advice above.
Specialist drug and alcohol support is also available across Northamptonshire. If you feel that your drinking is problematic and you need help you can call STAR’s free and confidential helpline on 0808 169 8512. STAR is open from 9am – 16:30pm Monday to Friday. Our friendly advisers will help identify the best service for your needs and can refer you directly. We can also offer help and support to family members affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use.
Public Health Northamptonshire is a Directorate within Northamptonshire County Council. Since 1 April 2013, Local Authorities have been responsible for improving the health of their local population with national public health functions overseen by Public Health England. The team commissions services with the aim of giving every child the best start in life, encouraging people to take responsibility for their health and make the best choices, promoting independence and quality of life for older residents and creating an environment for all the flourish. They also have a delivery team that you may see out and about in the community.