How to pace yourself over the festive season

Erynn Blansjaar | December 2019 | 7 minutes

The run up to the New Year can sometimes feel like an endless drinking session, with party after party, and lots of excuses to crack open a bottle. If you feel like you might overdo it and want to pace yourself over the holidays, here’s what we recommend. Who needs booze to be merry?

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Make a plan

If you know you’ve got a boozy party coming up, make a plan and stick to it. Don’t let other people throw you off - you know how much feels like enough for you. For example, you can decide in advance to only have three glasses of wine, and drink water in between. You won’t always know how much you’re going to drink, but giving it some thought before the event can really help you stick to what you think is enough.

Stick to your own alcohol

If the event is a ‘bring your own booze’ affair, it can help to just drink to the alcohol you bring with you. So, if you bring a four-pack of beer, stick to having that, and no more. This is a great method to manage how much you drink because if you wanted more alcohol you’d have to ask someone else, or leave the party to get your own.

Remember: there’s nothing rude about saying no

Often people feel guilty about saying no to an offer of a drink or a top-up. But take it from us, there’s nothing wrong with saying no if you’ve had enough, or don't fancy drinking at all. You’re always allowed to change your mind later. Being clear about your limits is perfectly acceptable. Putting pressure on others to drink more than they want to is not.

Download the Try Dry app to keep track

Our Try Dry app is the perfect way to keep track of how much you’re drinking, how many units you’ve had and how much you’ve spent. And if you’re doing Dry January in the new year you can use it to track your dry days and savings! We’ve recently added a few more exciting features, such as the ability to set goals and earn badges. You can download it for free from the App Store and Google Play Store.

Try an alcohol-free alternative, or make your own!

There are lots of brilliant alcohol-free drinks on the market, and the range keeps on growing! Try some of them and find your favourite – you don’t need to drink it all night if you don’t want to, but swapping an alcoholic drink for an alcohol-free one can do wonders. Plus, you might even like it so much you don’t want an alcoholic drink after all!

Alternatively, if you’re feeling a bit more crafty, why not make your own alcohol-free drinks? We have some great festive recipes which you can find here. Personally we think these are better than their alcoholic counterparts!

Avoid drinking in rounds

We’ve all been there – you’re in a pub with your mates, and one of them keeps suggesting another round when most of you still have half a drink left. Sitting out a round or opting for a non-alcoholic drink can help you pace yourself, rather than drinking as much as the biggest drinker present.

Think about what you enjoy, and what you don’t

At Christmas, people often start drinking earlier in the day. This often leads to drinking more. Bearing in mind the types of drink you really enjoy during the festive season, and cutting out the drinking that makes you feel guilty or unwell, can help you make better decisions about drinks you do and do not want to accept. For example, if you love a glass of mulled wine, treat yourself to one and enjoy it. Don’t join in with a glass of prosecco if it doesn’t spark the same festive joy.

Keep the guidelines in mind

Drinking over 14 units a week – which is equivalent to five or six pints of standard ABV beer or one and a half bottles of wine – can put us at greater risk of developing alcohol-related harm. To keep your risk low, it’s wise to keep tabs on your drinking to make sure you stay under the recommended guidelines. Why not use our Try Dry app for this? You can mark exactly what drink you had each day, what %ABV it was and how much it cost – it’s an easy way to get a clear overview of what you’re drinking, and when.

These are just some of our tips for cutting down or keeping a closer eye on how much you drink during the festive season. If you’d like to try giving up alcohol altogether, why not give Dry January a go? It’s a great way to reset your relationship with alcohol, and get a load of benefits to boot!