10 ways to reduce your office Christmas hangover bill

10 ways to reduce your office Christmas hangover bill

“Keeping your drinking under control can make a big difference to your health, and your happiness,” explains Dr Gary Bolger, Chief Medical Officer at AXA PPP healthcare. “Unfortunately, too many of us find it difficult to keep to healthy limits, so the start of the year is great time to reassess your monthly intake.”

According to guidelines, adults should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, yet research by Drinkaware, the alcohol awareness charity, has found that 10 million adults drink above the guidelines, and up to 17 million working days are lost each year as a result of alcohol-related sickness.

“Regularly drinking more than the daily guidelines can affect your health in many ways,” continues Dr Bolger. “Heavy drinkers increase their risk of developing high blood pressure, cancer (especially breast cancer and cancer of the gullet), liver and heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis. Binge drinkers can also develop unpleasant short-term effects, such as sweating, shaking, bad skin, diarrhoea, blackouts and problems sleeping. And that’s as well as the long-term health problems.”

As these top tips show, it is possible to relax and enjoy a few drinks safely without overdoing it this Christmas:

1)     Have a goal – Set yourself a goal – this could be stopping altogether or aiming to only have alcohol at the weekend. Decide on a start date and stick to it.

2)     Eat something – Food can slow down the rate that alcohol is absorbed into your system. Before going out, eat a healthy meal with carbohydrate content to help prepare your stomach.

3)     Downsize the supersize glasses – Opt for smaller measures. Choose a small (125ml) glass rather than a large (250ml) one for wine. If you’re drinking at home, buy smaller glasses for the house.

4)     Stop the top-ups – Stopping topping up your glass before its empty can help you to keep track of how much you’ve had. Beware the over-vigilant host who won’t let your glass empty.

5)     Avoid drinking home alone – When you pour your own measures rather than paying for measures individually, you may not notice how much you are drinking. Smaller (¼) wine bottle sizes are available (187 ml) and can help to cut down consumption.

6)     Sip your soda from a wine glass – Drinking a soft drink from a glass you would usually fill with alcohol can be a great way to cut back without feeling like you’re missing out. When you’re trying to resist the pressure to have alcohol, get a drink that looks like it’s an alcoholic one or try having a shandy instead.

7)     Weave in glasses of water – Paradoxically, alcohol dehydrates you so it’s important to drink water before you begin drinking and in between alcoholic drinks. People often guzzle the first drink because they’re thirsty. Alternating alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks will not only help stop you getting too intoxicated, it will help reduce headaches and hangover symptoms the next day.

8)     Know your units and monitor your intake – Keep a drink diary to help you to work out how much you’re drinking on a regular basis. Sites like this one by the NHS can help you work out the number of units in your drinks.

9)     Understand your triggers – If you’re really trying to cut down on your alcohol intake, work out which situations you know will encourage you to drink and then look for alternatives – for example, if you’re going out with friends suggest the cinema instead of the pub.

10)  Be cautious – When going out for a drink, plan how you’re going to get home before you leave. Make sure you’ve got numbers for taxis and keep aside enough money to get home safely. On average, it takes about one hour for your body to break down one unit of alcohol, so if you’re thinking of driving the next day, be aware that you may still be over the legal limit. Your body breaks down alcohol at a rate of about one unit per hour – and there is no way you can speed up the process. Think about alternative methods of transport, or get a lift if possible.

For more information on employee wellbeing, visit AXA PPP healthcare’s Business Insight Centre.

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