Tis the season to be jolly is a line from the popular Pentatonix Christmas carol ‘Deck the Halls’ that some take to heart when it comes to alcohol consumption over the festive period. We all know that alcohol is harmful to our health and its over- consumption is associated with many health problems from the increased risk of heart and liver disease to name a few. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause other problems for students however such as, missing lectures, disruptive behaviour on campus, legal or financial implications, unprotected sexual activity and increased feelings of isolation and depression.
That being said, alcohol has become the centre of social gatherings, and around Christmas, with the 12 Pubs, Christmas parties, extended holidays, and New Year’s Eve, alcohol is in abundance. Yes, we know, holidays are meant to be enjoyed! However, we can celebrate with family and friends, while still being mindful of the consequences to our health and well- being.
Therefore, it is necessary to remember to know the limits to your festive cheer.
There is no safe amount of alcohol to consume. However, in Ireland, the HSE provides low risk weekly guidelines for alcohol consumption, which are as follows, for men, 17 standard drinks (170g/210mls of pure alcohol) over a week with minimum 2 to 3 alcohol-free days and women are recommended 11 standard drinks (110g/140mls of pure alcohol) over a week with minimum 2 to 3 alcohol free days.
But what is a standard drink? A standard drink is half a pint of beer, a small glass of wine or one pub measure of a spirit. Six standard drinks or more is classified as binge drinking i.e. 3 pints of beer or six single measures of vodka.
So, you may ask how can I reduce the risks of alcohol-related consequences? Well continue reading below where we have outlined 12 points to remember to end your year on a healthy and happy note!
- Plan to drink less- decide how much you will drink and stick to it
- Plan your night out
- Limit the amount of money you bring out to avoid overspending and excessive drinking
- Avoid drinking games
- Drink lower alcohol options
- Drink non-alcoholic options
- Use a standard measure for spirits instead of just pouring ‘freehand’
- Eat while drinking
- Don’t drink if driving- Assign a designated driver
- Plan how you will get home before your night out
- Look out for your friends while they are drinking
- Drink in places you feel safe, comfortable and with people you trust
For more information on the benefits of drinking less alcohol and tips to drink less, visit askaboutalcohol.ie.