We’ve all been there. A happy hour that lasts long after the drink specials, Saturday champagne with a side of brunch, and Sunday afternoons slugging pitchers of beer cheering on whichever sports team happens to be playing.
For women in their mid-20’s and 30’s, drinking has an easy time finding its way onto our social calendars. Those on the older end of that spectrum probably already understand that a boozy weekend leaves us scolding ourselves for the better part of the week, a vicious reminder that our early 20’s are in fact, far behind us.
But if internal chiding isn’t enough, the sobering evidence is out there, (pun intended), that this habit is not good for us. So why continue the trend? Here are three hangover-free ways to enjoy your downtime and feel better doing it.
Find a Better Way to Unwind
Browse your Instagram feed on Friday and count how many perfectly filtered photos of wine bottles and colourful cocktails pop up. Bet you can’t choose just one. The end of the workweek often has us going straight for the wine rack or bar-stool, but the connection between drinking and relaxation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Before you spend your next commute Yelping a new happy hour spot, read this: A new study of working adults found that those who work more than 48 hours per week are more likely to develop excessive drinking habits.
How often have you thought: “I’d love to try that (insert super cool hobby here) workshop on Sunday. But not if I’m hungover,” or, “maybe when I have a little more money to spend.” If you live in a major metropolis, a cocktail habit can run you hundreds of dollars a week. Erase a couple pricey bar tabs and you’ll find you might have the cash for those pottery classes or that new eco-friendly spa, after all. And it goes without saying that eliminating the hooch eliminates the hangover.
Set aside time to log whatever classes, hobbies, or indulgences that have caught your eye and keep it handy, so when you stumble upon an awesome opportunity, you can easily record your next buzz-free exercise in de-stressing.
Embrace the Sweet
If swapping out all your happy hours isn’t in the cards, there’s some merit to changing what you’re drinking. Although sugar is by no means an added health benefit, it might actually be of service when it comes to keeping yourself in check.
Women tend to go for low-calorie cocktails, like vodka with club soda or the altered “skinny” version, of higher calorie drinks. While refreshing, they make it easy to have another, and another, without feeling like you’ve eaten two movie theatre-sized packages of Skittles and blown your caloric budget.
And they also slow down our inhibition faster.
A 2013 study found that consuming liquor drinks with zero-calorie mixers like diet and club soda actually makes you drunker faster. Sugar slows down the absorption of alcohol from the stomach to the bloodstream, and subjects who mixed liquor with diet soda had an 18% higher BAC than those who drank the same amount with a sugary soda.
Besides the fact that you’ll be less inebriated per drink, sugar might help you play a little reverse psychology. Allow yourself that REAL margarita or mojito, and sip slowly knowing that more calories means you won’t be having more than one or two
Set a Goal
Ok, I know that for most people in the perpetual state of asking, “am I moving towards where I want to be in my life?” this advice feels tired, overused, and frankly, kind of annoying.
But this isn’t a big picture; plan your path to success, life-altering kind of goal.
This is a go grocery shopping, or to the gym, or even take care of the basic necessities in life. Before you head out the door or uncork that bottle, set an intention for the next day.
The reality is, as much as you’d love to spend Sunday mornings in bed, there often aren’t enough hours in the week to accomplish the other things you know you need to do, like make sure you have clean clothes or some semblance of food in the refrigerator.
And if you’re someone who actually DOES have their sh*t together with long term goals, this can be a smaller step towards getting there. Thinking of starting a blog? Devote two hours of your morning to brainstorming names and ideas. Want to run a marathon some day? Those miles aren’t going to run themselves. Keeping the endgame in mind, whether it’s your next big venture or just having enough food to pack lunch for the week, will help you know when to call it quits, or not to start in the first place.