1. Be selective about the events you attend: Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you have to say ‘yes’ to every invitation that comes your way. Practice saying ‘no’ to events that your instincts tell you to avoid and conserve your energy for the ones that are important to you. For anyone living with arthritis, fatigue and burnout can be a big issue. This year, conserve your energies and focus on spending time with the people who matter the most to you.  

  1. Plan other things to do: Boredom can be a major trigger, particularly for someone used to drinking regularly. Plan and keep your diary active. Organised an evening that doesn’t centre around alcohol – instead, plan something different, such as a chess/board games night, a gingerbread-house baking session, Christmas card/wreath making or a movie night. Planning alcohol-free nights is a good idea because, despite our best intentions, sometimes we just drink because we are bored or have no alternatives planned. Also, planning something for the next morning – a walk, hike or bike ride, is a motivator to not drink the night before. If you are inspired to take up a new hobby, read our blog to get you started with some ideas here.  

  1. Nominate yourself as the designated driver: Choosing to not drink on a night out can be hard or first but, the truth is, after the first 10-15 minutes, you will find yourself becoming more relaxed and happier with your decision to drive. There are a whole host of alcohol-free drinks now available in restaurants and bars, including ‘mocktails’, low alcohol wines and zero alcohol beers – have fun trying them out and discover which are your favourite ones. You’ll get home without the price of a taxi and, better still, you’ll be happy to wake up refreshed and restored the next day.  

  1. Practice assertiveness: It’s a strange hallmark of Irish culture that we find it’s acceptable to try to push alcohol on others, when it’s not. Remember, there is nothing rude about saying politely that you’ve had enough. The truth is that insisting on filling someone’s glass, despite them saying ‘no’, is controlling and unhealthy behaviour. Someone topping up your glass continually is not a sign of ‘a good host’ but, rather, it’s a sign of someone who feels better if others drink as much as them, so it’s not really an act of kindness, but one of egotism if you think about it. Also, if you decide not to drink at all, don’t apologise or make excuses – you shouldn’t need to justify what you do or do not drink or eat at a party.  

  1. Think before you drink: If you are going to drink, always eat before you do, as this slows down the rate that alcohol is absorbed into your system. Also, avoid starting drinking too early in the day – hold off by drinking a soft drink or sparkling water for the first hour or so, as this will slow you down considerably, plus don’t forget to intersperse alcohol drinks with water (and insist your drink doesn’t get topped up until you’re ready – the only way to do this is to hold your hand over you glass sometimes!). These small things add up to great results – less of a headache or fatigue the following day, less of a drain on your pocket and less chances of you overindulging in high calorie snacks the next day, which your waistline will thank you for 


Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.