December can be both a very fun and very stressful time of year, and in both cases it can often lead to drinking too many drinks over the holiday season. I know my calendar fills up with dinners and parties and I’m sure yours does too. Besides juggling your social calendar, many of us are also contending with family drama (who knew something as simple as who’s hosting when could cause such tension?) and we’re also all wrapping up work with the calendar year ending. Unwinding with drinks, whether at the office party or at home, to loosen up for a nerve-wracking family gathering is often a go-to solution. But rather than taking unnecessary risks (and ending up with hangovers all season long), there are ways you can drink safely for the benefit of yourself and everyone around you.

Make sure you have a designated driver. Did you know approximately 40 percent of crashes in Canada are caused by alcohol? Keep yourself and the roads safe; if you’re going to be drinking, always having a designated driver established before you get to the party. Take turns with your husband or neighbour, or allow everyone to enjoy a drink by taking a taxi or public transit. In many major cities, on New Year’s Eve, the public transit system is free so you can revel and ring in the 2019 and get home safely.

Drink water in between each alcoholic beverage. The Mayo Clinic suggests having a glass of water every other drink. This way you’re keeping well hydrated and you’ll slow down your drinking pace over the hours you’re at the party. Alternating with water (or any non-alcoholic beverage) may be especially helpful if you feel more comfortable in social situations with a glass in hand to sip from; the glass of water is a healthy way to keep your hands busy while also feeling like you’re not being left out.

Lighten up your drinks with water. You’ll reduce the amount of alcohol you’re consuming by watering down the drinks. For example, instead of a glass of wine, make it a wine spritzer. This way you’re still getting the taste of the drink you enjoy most, but as a lightened up version.

Keep healthy drinking guidelines top of mind. Sure, you can let loose a little over the holidays but there’s no need to go overboard. Remember that for women no more than two drinks a day, 10 drinks a week, and three drinks a day, 15 per week for men, is the recommendation by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Having some food in you and also snacking while you drink will help slow down how quickly the alcohol is absorbed into your system. Know, though, that drinking on a full stomach won’t prevent you from getting drunk.

Don’t try to keep up with how quickly everyone else is drinking. Just because your cousin can easily consume a drink every 20 minutes doesn’t mean that you should be able to as well. Alcohol affects people differently. Factors including age, weight and how often you typically drink all impact how much alcohol you can consume safely.

 

What drink-safe tips do you have to share that we haven’t covered here?

Karen Kwan

Author Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a health and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in BestHealthMag.ca, Canadian Living, Flare, Metro, iRun, and VitaDaily.ca, to name just a few. She's a marathoner (with a dozen 42.2k races under her belt) and an avid foodie, so she can often be found traveling within the city or abroad to indulge in both great food and running.

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