Guest Blog: ‘Mindful Drinking this Christmas’ – by Kate Coffey

Christmas is such a wonderful and magical time of year and in my opinion, alcohol is not necessarily needed to enjoy it! As a non-drinker I love every element of the festive season.  There is always so much happening from Christmas parties, luncheons, family gatherings and then the main event of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephens Day. Christmastime may not be the happiest time for all people and it is important to be kind to everyone especially during this period- we never know what people are going through and the loneliness they feel.

For over a year and a half I have been a non-drinker and it is no exaggeration to say that I have loved every moment of it. I now enjoy the special moments with a clear head and yes… with no aftereffects from consuming alcohol the next day! It was the amazing benefits of not drinking that sold this new lifestyle to me and I have never looked back!

Last year was my first festive season without alcohol. Even during the time when I did drink alcohol, I never much bothered with it over the Christmas season. For me, I associated this time with calm and joyful spirits so excess alcohol consumption may have contradicted this. Christmas Day for me used to consist of a glass of champagne before our Christmas feast and sometimes a half glass of wine during the meal; then that was pretty much it for the day. Rather, I always enjoyed plenty of cups of tea and hot chocolate. Maybe subconsciously I saw drink as taking away from this precious time. Now as a non-drinker, I simply replaced my couple of alcoholic beverages with sparkling water and fizzy drinks and enjoy it just the same if not more.

Despite being a non-drinker, I still love the run up to Christmas and I get involved in lots of gatherings. There is always so much happening and even when it’s all over, there are still the New Year’s celebrations to look forward to. My favourite things to do during the festive season is go for dinner to catch up with friends and family (I of course opt for non-alcoholic beverages during drinks & dinner). There are also many other fun options for activities that don’t involve alcohol such as ice-skating and Christmas markets. I of course still go to nightclubs and bars however just order a sparkling water and I still have the best time!

I am all about joining in even if you don’t want to drink but certain events such as ’12 pubs’ for an example which are mainly centred around alcohol, I always feared a small element of peer pressure if I participated, so would turn these events down in favour of something that had a more mindful approach to alcohol.

I’m not insinuating anyone should give up alcohol during the Christmas period rather I’m encouraging people to be sober curious and aware of their alcohol consumption. Cutting back even a little really allows you to enjoy the special period, cherish the holidays and keep you safer. It is about being kind to your mind and body and pacing yourself during alcohol consumption.

Kate Coffey is an Irish Influencer who joined us as one of our guest panellists for our September Mindful Drinking & Mental Health Webinar.