The holiday season offers many opportunities to drink alcohol. If you want to drink less during this time, think about why you do it. Do you drink as a response to the stress of the holidays? Do you drink at holiday parties because you feel awkward or a little bored? Regardless of your reasons, try these tips for drinking less during the holidays.

De-stress Before Socializing

The holidays can mean extra stress, so some people end up drinking more or faster. If that sounds like something you do, reduce your stress before you enter a social situation. 

Find a way to relax that doesn't involve drinking. Try breathing exercises, getting a quick massage, taking a bath, getting a pedicure, or going to a workout class.

Don't Stay Til It's Over

Have an exit strategy before you even arrive at a party. Allow yourself time to socialize with the people, and then go home before you get bored. 

Parties that extend beyond midnight can evolve into nothing but drinking. You might find it helpful to give yourself a time limit or to catch a ride with a friend who isn't drinking and may want to leave early.

Set Goals and Write Them Down

To succeed in drinking less during the holidays, try some proven goal-setting techniques. Create a specific and measurable goal, such as only drinking a certain number, type, or volume, limiting alcohol to certain hours, or always having a glass of water between drinks. 

For example, for one event, you might commit to only drinking wine or champagne rather than hard liquor. If that goes well, limit yourself to just two glasses of wine at the next event. If you want to limit how much you drink at home during the holidays, goals could include only drinking water after 9 pm or drinking at least two glasses of water between each glass of wine.

When you've chosen a goal, write it down. This simple act helps you remember the goal and keeps you accountable.

Bring Something Else to Drink

You don't have to go to a holiday party and drink just what the host offers. You can bring a non-alcoholic drink, like apple cider or kombucha, with you. 

Bringing a drink gives you something tasty to sip on throughout the night or in between alcoholic beverages. It keeps your hands busy, too, so that you don't reach for a cocktail just out of habit, and so a well-meaning friend doesn't bring you a "refill." 

Keep Fitness Goals in Mind

Working out after a night of heavy drinking feels awful, but skipping even one day of exercise can lead to more and more workouts derailed during the holidays. Don't give yourself excuses not to stick to your fitness plan. If you know you'll feel sick during the next workout when you drink too much; you might feel motivated to say no. 

Focus on Friends and Family

The true meaning of holiday gatherings has nothing to do with alcohol. Share this time with friends and family to celebrate your love for each other. To drum up the true holiday spirit, focus on quality interactions, such as: 

  • Getting involved in a non-alcoholic party game 

  • Talking to people that you don't know very well 

  • Helping with food preparation in the kitchen. 

Staying busy can keep your mind off of alcohol.

If you liked these tips and want to learn more actionable steps for drinking less, continue to explore the Confidant app. We can provide education or the opportunity to speak to someone about your goals.