From family dinners to ugly sweater parties, the holidays can be a time of celebrating, feasting and drinking. Whether you’re celebrating traditions, ringing in the New Year or enjoying time at home, here are a few things to consider when celebrating over winter break.
Escaping holiday stress
From the financial pressures of holiday shopping to being around family more than we’re used to, the holidays can feel as demanding as the semester itself. Finding positive ways to deal with this stress is key to making winter break actually feel like a break!
While some of us may see alcohol as a quick solution to release our stress, research shows it can often lead to more stress and undesirable outcomes. Mindfulness practices, physical activity, talking with friends, cooking and getting outside for a winter walk are proven to combat stress in a healthy and positive way.
If you choose to drink, keep in mind the holidays can sometimes change the amount you might normally consume or the type of alcohol you choose. These changes can increase our risk for things such as hangovers, alcohol poisoning, elevated blood alcohol levels and driving under the influence.
It helps to reflect before getting into these types of situations. Think about the choices you usually make around alcohol: Do you drink during the school year? Do your friends’ or family’s drinking habits affect your own? Do you prefer to drink socially or more regularly? Once we’re aware of how we might be impacted, we can make better, more informed choices about what’s best for us.
Holiday drinking may not be for everyone either. It’s always okay to say “no thanks” and still feel festive with a hot chocolate, peppermint mocha, eggnog or sparkling cider. If you’re hosting your own party, try making some of these alcohol-free holiday drinks so your guests have options.
Making a plan
Driving on winter roads can be tricky enough without adding alcohol into the mix. It’s important to make a plan for how you’re going to get from place to place safely. Designated drivers and affordable rideshares are solid options. Additionally, all CU Boulder students are issued an RTD bus pass, making public transportation an easy and free option as well!
However you choose to celebrate, it’s important to have a plan and know what you want to get out of winter break. Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday season!
For more health and wellness resources, visit colorado.edu/health.