Specialists have cautioned individuals about remaining responsible for their drinking over the occasion time frame and how it can affect our mental health
Health experts have issued a warning about the potential harm to our mental health of drinking too much over the New Year 2019 period.
The caution from the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland came ahead of the festivities and New Year celebrations.
But the agency has put together its top 10 tips to manage your mental health and its advice on how to stay in control and have too much alcohol.
Among them are knowing your units and staying out of rounds and pacing, while people are also reminded to call in on elderly neighbours and relatives and keep active despite the cold weather.
Brendan Bonner, the PHA assistant director for health and social
Alcohol is a powerful drug and we need to be careful how we use it. Drinking too much can seriously affect our health and wellbeing,” he added.
“Being hungover can also make you feel anxious and low. Some people may already feel down over New year 2019 and drinking can make this worse.”
While for many the New Year period is a time to celebrate, Mr. Bonner also had advice for those grieving or under stress.
The top tip for managing your mental health is to connect with family and friends and make time for others to tackle any feeling of loneliness.
The PHA also lists being active as the second most important way to stay happy and healthy.
Mr. Bonner added: “Being a great time of the year to connect, also try involving the family in getting active this Christmas by walking and cycling together and playing with the kids more.
“Instead of staying cooped up indoors, go to the park to play and have fun.
“We recognize too that for some, New year 2019 can be a difficult time, perhaps because of the expense involved, stress, bereavement, or feelings of isolation or loneliness.
“That’s why we’d ask everyone to look out for each other during the season of goodwill.
“Connect with your neighbors, in particular, any older neighbors who may not get out of the house much. Call in for a cup of tea and check in to see if they need any shopping.
“It sounds simple, but for some, who may not have had any visitors for a long time, just stopping by for a chat can really mean a lot.”
The top 10 tips New year 2019 to managing your drinking and mental health
- Connect: Make time for family and friends over the New year 2019 period;
- Be active: It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Go for a walk or run, cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Exercising makes you feel good;
- Take notice: Stop, pause, or take a moment to look around you;
- Keep Learning: Don’t be afraid to try something new, rediscover an old hobby or set yourself a new challenge over the holidays;
- Give: Don’t be afraid to give and accept support – being available for others if they need support should encourage them to be there for you too;
- Eat before or while drinking and avoid salty snacks, which make you thirsty;
- Know your limits and stick to them – don’t be pressured into drinking more than you want or intend to;
- Try not to confuse large measures of alcohol with standard measures, eg: a glass of wine served at a party or at home may be much larger than the standard 125ml;
- Keep track of your drinks and try alternating alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic drinks. Add plenty of mixer to your drinks to make them last longer;
- Avoid rounds, ‘shouts’ and kitties – drink at your own pace, not someone else’s.