How to beat the festive fade
Top tips for navigating the silly season
The holiday period can be a minefield if you’re looking to cut down your drinking or want to try to stay sober. Work Christmas socials, celebrations with friends, and all that time spent in front of the TV with a well-stocked fridge nearby can make drinking too much feel inevitable. But it’s not. Follow a couple of key rules and you’ll keep perky for the party season.
1. Set goals (and tell everyone)
The first thing to think about before you enter the Christmas (or Dry January) period, is what you want your drinking goals to be - whether it’s staying sober, or sticking within the 14 unit a week guidelines. Having a target that you’re working towards can help keep you focused and give you something to measure yourself against at the end.
And once you’ve decided what your goals are, tell your friends. Friends and family can give you that extra support and hold you accountable. Cutting out alcohol is a lot easier when your friends stop offering you a drink and you never know, you might just inspire someone else to change their drinking behaviours too!
2. Change your habits
It’s not just the amount you drink, but how you drink that matters too. It’s easy to consume a lot of alcohol at Christmas without really noticing, so try to drink more mindfully. You can try ordering half pints instead of full pints, or measure out drinks when you’re mixing them yourself. Alternating an alcoholic drink with a soft one will also help you reduce the amount of alcohol you’re consuming.
For those of you who want to stop drinking entirely, there are plenty of non-alcoholic cocktails for you to switch to. These days, there are even a number of festive editions - think alcohol-free eggnog and champagne. This makes it easy to enjoy your favourite drink and meet your goals at the same time.
Making changes takes time, and new habits tend to take a little getting used to, but a few small changes like these can add up to a big difference in the long term.
3. Fill your time with something new
Find a new outlet for your time, money and energy. It could be exercising in the local park, learning to cook something new or drawing.
Find a way to fill your time and take your mind off alcohol. And if you want to give something back, volunteering locally is a great way to do something worthwhile especially over the festive season.
4. Don’t go it alone – get support from like-minded people
Local support groups can offer a great way to share advice and seek support. Many local organisations will offer activities to keep you busy throughout the festive season. Alternatively, you could try pairing up with a buddy who shares your goals to get the support that you need. There are also lots of online communities such as Soberistas and Club Soda that you can log onto and share you experiences and get that much needed support from people who know what you are going through.
Whether it’s support groups, a like-minded friend, online forums, or all three, it’s your choice. Pick one that works for you and run with it. It’s a great way to engage with people and get that extra support you might be needing.
5. Treat Yourself
Finally, making changes to your drinking habits is a big deal. When you meet your goals it's only right that you reward yourself. It’s up to you how you want to mark the occasion, but a few of our ideas included celebrating over mocktails, making your friends dinner with your newfound cooking skills, or buying those flights you’ve had your eye on for a while.
Whatever you do, it’s important to celebrate your achievement, show people how far you’ve come, and hopefully mark the start of a longer term change.