For many, the festive season means Christmas parties, end of year functions at work, celebrations with friends and of course, lots of alcohol.

If you are used to letting loose over the festive season only to regret it when you wake up with a horrible hangover and and even worse bank balance, then maybe it is time to try something different this holiday season.

Christmas can be hard on the wallet already so drinking in moderation can help better the situation. Think of all the money you will save by not splashing out on expensive bottles of champagne or fancy cocktails.

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However, learning how to be a ’one drink wonder’ is not only good for your wallet but can also change your relationship with alcohol for the better.

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 2018 global status report on alcohol and health, South African consumers of alcohol are some of the heaviest drinkers globally with consumers drinking 28.9 litres of pure alcohol – per capita – a year.

Not to be a Grinch or anything but trying to practise some mindful drinking will go a long way this holiday season. It might even open you up to appreciate the time you spend with the people you care about even more over the holiday season.

It might be difficult to get started so here are some tips to help you drink in moderation while Santa is in town:

Be mindful

Mindful drinking is all about being aware of your drinking patterns. Take a critical look at how much you drink and when, this will make it easier to create a plan and help you drink less over the festive season and even beyond that if you choose.

Have a plan

To ensure that you stay motivated, it is important to have a plan. Whether you are sticking to one or two drinks be clear about what you are trying to achieve. Why are you drinking in moderation? Why does it matter to you?

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The answers to those questions will come in handy when your friends are trying to convince you to have one more shot when you have reached your limit for the night.

Be prepared to say no (a lot)

Peer pressure is real no matter how old you are, so when trying to drink less, be prepared that those around you will try to convince you to drink more.

It is important to plan how to politely but firmly decline the inevitable drinks that will be passed your way on nights out. People can be relentless but be sure to stand your ground and remember why you are doing it in the first place.

Drink water

As boring as it might sound, drinking water really is good for you. Drinking a glass before you even order your drink is a good way to start your night especially if you are aiming to stick to one alcoholic drink.

Deal with your thirst first before reaching for the wine menu.

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Have a speech ready

Always have a reason as to why you are only having one drink, in fact have a list of reasons, just in case.

Whether it’s, “I have to babysit early in the morning,” or “If I have another drink my acid reflux will kill me,” make sure you always have a reason ready.

It will be easier for you if you try not to look at it as having to explain yourself to people but rather as an opportunity to feel empowered in the moment, because people will ask.

Drink quality drinks

You might as well go all out since you are only having one drink. The pleasures of being a one drink wonder is that you can experiment with more pricey drinks because you know you won’t have to buy 6 more.

Savour your drink

Make your every experience with alcohol an enjoyable one by taking the time to actually enjoy your drinks. Take your time because there really is no rush when it comes to moderate drinking. Appreciate the flavours of your drink, the fancy glassware it’s in, and the ambience of the bar or restaurant.

Non-alcoholic drinks?

Most bars sell non-alcoholic drinks, which are perfect for those who like the taste but not the effects of alcohol.

These might come in handy when trying to avoid alcohol but can also tempt you to drink excessively, entirely defeating the purpose of drinking in moderation.

Non-alcoholic drinks also come at a price so if you are drinking 6 of them on a night out, you will not end up saving much money.

The more you do it, the easier it gets

Drinking in moderation might be a little difficult at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Try to make it fun for yourself by setting challenges; if you can get through a family gathering with one drink then maybe reward yourself with a spa day or anything else that you enjoy.

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Once you are able to enjoy things without having to chug back a number of drinks, you will realize that drinking in moderation is not bad at all.

Disclaimer: These tips are designed for people looking to drink alcohol in moderation. If you are concerned about having a serious alcohol problem, please seek professional help.

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