Mindful Sipping: Navigating College Social Life by Mindful Drinking

Going back to college can be an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. With the pressure to fit in and have fun, it can be easy to fall into the trap of excessive drinking. However, practicing mindful drinking can help you avoid the negative effects of alcohol while still enjoying yourself.  Continue reading to learn how to practice mindful drinking when starting college this Autumn.

A standard drink

To help you practice mindful drinking this college year, you first need to learn what a standard drink is. A standard drink is a half pint of beer, or a 100ms of wine or a 35.5 ml measure of spirits. Knowing what a standard drink is will make it easier for you to track how much you have drunk. You can also track this by using our Drinks Calculator.  


If you choose to drink, decide how many drinks you will have before going out and stick to it. Keep track of your intake and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic beverages. Setting yourself a limit will also help you save some money!

Avoid binge drinking  

Binge drinking is having 6 or more standard drinks in one sitting. You may be surprised that drinking 3 pints of beer in one sitting is binge drinking as a 1 pint is 2 standard drinks. Pace yourself and take breaks between drinks. Try stay out of drinking games as these games can lead you to drink far more than you intended. Remember that after you stop drinking, the alcohol levels in your system can continue to rise for up to 3 hours. 

Be aware of your surroundings 

If you’re at a party, pay attention to the people around you and the atmosphere. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it’s okay to leave. Call a parent, family member or friend to pick you up or let them know where you are and are on the way home.

1 hour 

It takes 1 hour to process 1 standard drink. This is so important to know, especially if you are thinking about driving the next day. The time starts when you finish your last drink. Common myths like showering, eating a big breakfast, drinking coffee or energy drinks to help sober you up are simply not true. Only time will process the alcohol. That’s why it is important you track what you drink using the drinks calculator so you can make an informed decision about when you are safe to drive the next day. Any amount of alcohol will impair your ability to drive. Having a drink driving conviction can not only cost you a driving ban and fine but can stop you from going on a J1.

Your Mental Health

Alcohol is an anxiolytic which means it can reduce feelings of anxiety for a short period of time but once the effects of alcohol have worn off, feelings of anxiety can heighten. College is an exciting time but can be stressful causing our anxiety levels to rise. If you add alcohol into the mix, even a small amount, it can make feelings of anxiety worse. No one wants to wake up with ‘The Fear.’ You can learn more about how alcohol can affect our mental health. Alcohol can also cause and heighten feelings of depression. If you feel you need support, see our support page here.  


Remember, you don’t need alcohol to fit in or have a good time, you are interesting enough without it. Get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and exercise regularly. You don’t need a fancy gym to work out, do home workouts or even short walks to move your body will do you the world of good. Taking care of your mind and body can help reduce the negative effects of alcohol and make you feel better overall. 

By practicing mindful drinking, you can have a fun and safe experience while going back to college this Autumn.