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Being Careful with Alcohol Especially During the Holidays

There can be A LOT going on during the holidays: Social events, family obligations, full schedules, financial strains, loneliness, social anxiety… and as a result: maybe overindulgence or overconsumption of too much alcohol.

According to Alcohol.org, based on so many factors during the holidays, instances of binge-drinking increase during this time of year. In the US, it is estimated that the amount of alcohol consumed doubles during the holidays.

It can be especially challenging because alcohol is a socially accepted way of celebrating and during the holidays, it’s more available than usual at office and home parties, and other social gatherings.

Speaking of office parties: Too much alcohol consumption at work- related events can lead to lapses of judgement, which can be especially problematic in a work environment. This can include unacceptable behaviours toward co-workers which can lead to fights, inappropriate, unwanted or harassing behaviours, and even termination.

Whether it is that there are people who don’t generally drink as much during the rest of year drink more and have difficulties due to lower tolerance or because there may already be a tendency toward alcohol dependence, this time of year and alcohol consumption can be challenging for many people.

Another thing to be aware of: Research has also found that in more party- like atmospheres with loud music, people have a tendency to also drink faster.

While alcohol can seem to help people to ‘loosen up’, it is a depressant. One drink might help to depress inhibitions, but too much alcohol can also lead, not only to lapses of judgement in behaviours while inebriated, it can also lower mood or may be responsible for mood difficulties the following day (depression and anxiety like symptoms).

Planning ahead of time can help to avoid potential issues:

  • This can be so hard: However, resist the pressures and the urge to drink. It can be difficult when it seems everybody else is drinking, but the more you do it, the less difficult it becomes.
  • Have an awareness of your tolerance and have a number in mind that is your limit. It can help to handwrite it on a piece of paper and carry it with you.
  • If you have a trusted person at an event with you, you can either let them know about your limit or mutually have an agreement in place to support one another.
  • If social situations are especially stressful, have a plan to take breaks from being social. It can be scoping out a quieter area of the gathering or getting some fresh air or even going for a walk around the block.
  • If you are concerned about the amount of alcohol you are drinking and/or your behaviour when drinking, I would highly recommend seeking support from your family doctor or a mental health professional.

And lastly, if you are going to be drinking at a social event, please make sure to have a designated driver or a plan in place so that drinking and driving is not an option.

More about Planning for Holiday Related Anxiety, be sure to check out Episode 18 of my podcast, Life Stuff 101.

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