10 Ways to Survive End-of-Year Parties—and Avoid a Hangover

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Male cat. How to avoid them is an art of careful planning. Party season is upon us, and even though it’s a blast, that means we’ll have to work extra hard to avoid weight gain, headaches, and embarrassing videos of Mariah Carey sing-a-longs.

I’m an experienced event attendee, a lover of butt shaking, and a hater of hangovers. Here are my top tips to help you stay on track while having the time of your life!

1. Don’t say yes to every party

Between company parties, birthdays, festive season get-togethers, visiting friends, family demands and the urge to sip cocktails in the sun, you’ll have a busy schedule. So often we tend to get overcommitted and then feel bad because we back out at the last minute… or join in, but all we can think about is lying in bed with shows.

Be selective. Say yes to events that really matter and say no to others. Schedule downtime and self-care like you would a date. And not just when you’re dealing with a hangover. It will help you stay mentally healthy and feel fresh – we promise.

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2. Replace every other drink with a non-alcoholic drink

And I don’t mean water. (But if you can sneak in a few glasses of water, that’s an added win!) I mean, between your real beers, opt for non-alcoholic beers (like Castle Free). Even Savanna has a non-alcoholic cider. Check out this great list of non-alcoholic drinks for adults. If you have friends like that who are under peer pressure and drunk, you can still walk around with your glass of lager – and they won’t even know it’s non-alcoholic. Wink*

Norah’s Valley Alcohol-Free Silk White Babylonstoren Bitterlekker Uncanny De-Alcoholized Sauvignon Blanc

READ MORE: Here’s how to experience the festive season sober and enjoy the best non-alcoholic drinks

3. Don’t drink alcohol at every party

While this may seem like the lamest advice ever, it will be a real saving grace all season long. I have stacks of non-alcoholic beers and other non-alcoholic drinks at home, like Norah’s Valley Alcohol-Free Cashmere Rosé. Find soft drinks that you know you like and get a buddy to accompany you on this plan. For extra motivation, book a training session with your physiotherapist the next morning. Now there’s an excuse to avoid the sauce.

4. Make morning plans = less hangover

Make the most of summer mornings too. Instead of just setting aside time to meet up with friends over an evening of wine, book your buddy for coffee. Try a new juice shop, go for a run, go for a hike, or sign up to try a new workout together. This way you can book fun dates that don’t always involve alcohol.

READ MORE: 8 clever ways to get more exercise into your day

5. When you go out, go dancing

This is great for two reasons. First, it’s hard to dance with a drink in your hand (this will give you a break and prevent a hangover). And no one wants to end up with red wine on their new dress. Second, dancing burns calories. There’s nothing better than a few hours of shaking your hips and jumping up and down to Beyoncé. Dancing also increases endorphin release, which in turn improves your mood. Go and light up the ground!

6. Eat before you go out

Don’t go out hungry. You’re more likely to indulge in extras you wouldn’t otherwise eat, plus the alcohol will hit you pretty quickly = even worse hangover. I’ve experienced this before, I had a busy day, didn’t really eat and then went out for an after-work drink with friends. It always ends with a droopy eye and a bag of slap chips. When you’re sober, you make better decisions. So have a nutritious meal or healthy snack before hopping on the gin train.

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7. Drink before and after

Water, that is… And if it becomes a big problem, ease the dehydration the next day by adding some electrolytes. This helps prevent a hangover. Keep Revive sachets in your purse or even one in your pocket and drink it with some water before you go to bed, at the club, or when you wake up the next day. Pay particular attention to your fluid levels when you’re partying and exercising the next day. Alcohol can reduce your fluid levels and make it much more difficult to complete your workout.

8. Pay attention to your mixers

Speaking of gin: To prevent a hangover, opt for low-sugar or low-calorie tonic water and other mixed drinks. These days we have a wide range of sugar-free mixers on offer and this will really help you avoid peaks and crashes (and extra pounds). Even using sparkling water with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice can pair really well with gin.

READ MORE: The 2 hangover recipes you’ll need this weekend

9. Try to get enough sleep

If you know it will be late, plan some sleep time the next day. Lack of sleep significantly increases irritability and can worsen your other hangover symptoms. The problem is that alcohol affects sleep quality, meaning you’ll have worse sleep. Disrupted sleep leads to weight gain because ghrelin (the hunger hormone) is more active, and when you’re tired and hungover, your body craves what gives you energy: sugar (and carbohydrates). Try not to have too many late nights in a row as this aggravates and impairs memory, mood and cognitive functions.

10. Take vitamin C

Alcohol combined with late nights compromises your immune system. You are much more susceptible to germs – and no one wants to miss the best weeks of summer because they are in bed with the flu. The other reason you should take a few immune boosters before going out: avoid a hangover. Part of what makes a hangover so miserable is that there’s a lot of inflammation and oxidative stress going on. Therefore, taking antioxidants (in the form of vitamin C or pomegranate juice) before partying can help prevent damage the next day.

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