The bustle of Christmas markets in every borough, the glimmering lights brightening Oxford Street, and aroma of mulled spices wafting from every corner have ushered in this year’s holiday season. As the temperatures start to dip and the spirits start to rise, the social circuit has revved back into full swing. Amongst the mugs of warm milk and hot chocolate at home, you might start to indulge in the cheeky cocktails and cups of mulled wine at holiday parties, soirees, and work events.
Here at (med)24, we’re here to help you escape the holiday hangover and sip smart this season.
Navigating the holiday spirits
We know the end of the year, filled with festivities, family, and friends, although bustling and exciting, can start to become a source of stress as everything adds up. Managing festivity fatigue and tight deadlines, and keeping your mental health in balance is enough to make you reach for an extra glass of bubbly. These stressors, paired with the freely flowing libations at parties and soirees might lead you to have a few more drinks than normal.
An extra drink or two might feel like an immediate antidote to worries floating around, helping soothe those tense feelings we tend to internalise. Unfortunately, this is only a short-term fix. (med)24 GP, Dr. Amisha Mehta, says, “Alcohol can actually have the opposite effect! A glass of wine can make you feel good, but only temporarily.” Alcohol can indeed leave you feeling more mentally and physically unbalanced the next day, leading to more anxious feelings and a dampened mood. Our Nutritional Specialist, Dr. Riz Khan recommends that “with more social opportunities over the festive period, be mindful of what you drink.” He suggests grabbing a non-alcoholic drink in-between alcoholic drinks, if you choose to indulge.
Mind the measures
So how do you know if you’ve had a bit too much? The UK Low Risk Drinking Guidelines recommend drinking no more than 14 units per week, spread evenly across three days in the week to reduce the risk of disease. The concept of a unit itself is pretty abstract, and it can be easy to lose track of them, especially after a few drinks. Here’s an idea of what one unit is in realistic terms:
- A small glass of wine (1.4 units)
- A standard pub measure of spirit (1.4 units)
- Half a pint of beer, lager or cider (1 unit)
- A standard measure port or sherry (1 unit)
The next time you’re about to head out for an event or gearing up to uncork the Merlot at home, try making a plan on how many glasses you want to drink. Deciding on your limits beforehand can make the difference between an enjoyable, relaxing night and a rough day after.
Tips for your sips
With the help of our doctors, we’ve rounded up our top five tips for this season, to help you get through the holidays without the hangover:
- Take slow sips and savour your drink! If you’re feeling especially thirsty, keep a glass of water or club soda handy between sips.
- Leave the car keys at home if you decide to have a drink. It’s so easy to call a cab, uber, or bolt nowadays - take your pick!
- If you’re in the mood for some mulled wine, but don’t mind skipping the buzz, try mulling some apple juice instead for a festive, dry alternative.
- If you have numerous events lined up for the week, try having smaller glasses of alcohol at each event. Your head will thank you in the morning!
- If you find yourself overindulging, make sure you hydrate with water throughout the night and during the next morning. Nutritious and healthy meals through the next day will also help you regain your energy and alleviate any pain.
Let’s toast our glasses of champagne, club soda, and eggnog to a glimmering holiday season full of merry, health, and happiness with loved ones.
If you’re looking for more tips or have questions about staying healthy through the end of the year, book an appointment with our Nutritional Specialist here and kick-start your health goals from today.