The parties have started! The British Association’s famous holiday luncheon, The American Women’s Association holiday luncheon, the Glitzed and Blitzed holiday ball…It’s on.
And while I enjoy dusting off the glittery evening gown, this time of year is always very hard for me to keep a workout or diet schedule. That’s not great for the waistline, but the one even bigger worry I hear about from other expats is dealing with the results of alcohol consumption during the holidays.
Hangovers suck. However, it is a reality when dealing with the excesses of holiday parties, whether it’s unlimited wine or champagne at a hotel brunch or a house party.
Everyone figures it’s only once a year, until it turns into once or more a week for the whole four weeks of December.
There’s a lot of tricks out there to avoid a hangover. Funnily enough, I find the least popular option is actually not drinking or choosing to drink less. I don’t know anyone who ever chooses to do that. Let’s face it, a lot of people like to be tipsy and even drunk, as it’s considered in Western cultures as loosening up and blowing off some steam.
Medical folks will tell you it’s probably the worst way to manage stress, but that does not negate the hard facts that so many people still use alcohol to relax.
I was skimming over some tips to manage holiday drinking, including one from a website in Indiana (USA) that suggested such things as skipping a round, eating while drinking and not feeling pressured to say no to a drink offer. I have to be honest, I feel a little uncomfortable myself turning down a drink offer as it is considered a bit impolite. I don’t care what anyone says, the reality is it is difficult to go to a holiday party and not drink at all. People say they support it but you’ll find them questioning you like you did something wrong.
Knowing your limit is another so-called tip, but I think that is also out the window during holiday parties. People always overdo it. In Chicago, for New Year’s Eve, my drinking friends called it Amateur Night because of all the people who go out drinking who don’t normally drink and get really stupid from overdoing it.
The website I consulted also suggested doing an experiment at home to actually TEST your limit so you know how much alcohol you can handle…sounds like a great theme party actually…come on over and see how much you can drink without getting really drunk. And it’s always your perception that goes first, so how do you know how drunk you really are unless you are doing stupid things and saying stupid things to people in a real social situation? You can see the dilemma.
As I wrap up this thought processing on drinking during the holidays, I wish to share with you my tried and true method of avoiding all hangovers: Drink water. You can either drink water during your party, which will usually dilute the alcohol and basically negate its effects. (That is a bit pointless, really, if you like getting tipsy.) OR the absolute BEST way to manage overconsumption is to go home and fill up a sports bottle with water and stay awake for an hour or so drinking tons of water. Drink at least one sports bottle if not more. I know losing sleep is not the greatest thing but rehydrating your body after drinking is a good way to avoid the hangover.
So that’s it. You want drink at parties and not ruin the next day? Drink water when you get home.
You’re welcome and happy holidays.
About Andrea McKenna
image: E. Chiau
Andrea McKenna Brankin is journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.