There’s 10 days to go until Christmas Day. This can be truly the most magical time of the year, especially if you are a Christmas nut and have kids. The joy is infectious. It can also be the most challenging time of year. And if you are trying to drink less or are going alcohol-free all together, that uplevels your challenging to tricky as all f**K.
“It’s the most, triggering time of the yeeearrr!”
- the plethora of Christmas parties
- the financial stress
- the pressure to buy all the presents
- having to spend time with relatives (when you’d rather be having a root canal)
- the warm weather
- knocking off work for the year
- being alone
- missing loved ones
…there are just SOOOO many reasons (both positive and negative) instilled in us to get on the booze at this time of year. Drink to celebrate, drink to relax, drink to deal with stress, drink to forget. If you are wanting to avoid all of this and stay on the straight and narrow with your sober/sober curious goals, here is a list of my top tips for having a fabulous booze free break.
You probably guessed that this would be my top tip, it’s my top tip for ALLL the socialising, not just the festive kind. Having a tasty non-alcoholic drink in your hand is going to make this SO much easier. You will minimise or eliminate the FOMO you feel when the family are popping the cork on the Mumm over champagne brekkie if you have something equally tasty (and far less toxic) in your glass. You’re going to make it a loss less likely for Uncle Rodney to get in your ear about why you’re not drinking, and babe you deserve a tasty tipple with that Chrissy ham! You can read my top festive non-alcoholic drinks recommendations and make sure you are well prepared!
The BIG lesson that stuck with me when I did the Alcohol Experiment, is that alcohol is not a very effective tool for dealing with stress. It is in fact like putting a band-aid on a festering sore. It might be covered over for a bit, but rest assured, things are still bubbling away under that band-aid, ready to weep all over everything as soon as the high (band-aid/alcohol) is removed. Whatever is stressing you out this holiday period, don’t try and drink it away. It will still be there and looking a lot freaking uglier the next day. Find healthy ways to positively work through those stressors. Go for a walk (you might be ready to get away from everyone by mid-afternoon). Plan a lovely reward bath for when you get home. Hide in a cupboard and do a five-minute meditation. Hit pause and deal with things rather than pushing them down and next-morning-you will be very thankful.
3.Have an ESCAPE Plan
If it all becomes too much and you need to get out of there DO IT! Leave the kids with your husband and head on home. If everyone is at your’s pop out for a walk or tell everyone you’ve overdone it on the trifle and go for a lie-down. A well-timed smoke bomb could be your saving grace. Just remember, everyone else has their beer goggles on and will more than likely not notice that you have disappeared. You are not letting anyone down, you are looking after yourself. The bonus is, you can drive!
This is actually one of my go-to party tricks. If talking to everyone becomes all too much and you can’t hide in a bottomless glass of prosecco, roll up your sleeves and get busy. Hiding in the kitchen is my (and my Mum’s) number one tactic for when you’re just not feeling so social. See if you can make the gravy or take on the salads. Do the dishes. Get to work folding wrapping paper if you have to. Just look busy and create a much-needed bubble of solitude. A mindful time-out on an otherwise chaotic day.
5.Chat it out
Have a go-to person ready on the other end of the phone that you can hit up if you’re feeling triggered as all hell. If you need to message me do it. Have your champion phone a friend lined up and ready to talk you off a ledge (or a glass of sherry out of your hand) should the situation arise. Have a code word with someone who is there with you on the day. “CARROTS” means “help! I need a chat” and that fabulous person can steer you away from the eskie in a heartbeat.
If this is your first Christmas period alcohol free, think about changing it up. Make your day look a little different. Shift your focus. Take quiet moments to soak it all in and most importantly… breathe.
You’ve got this!