Surviving the Festive Season When It’s “Your Job” To Drink
Navigating wellness through the holiday season can trigger anxiety and stress responses in even the biggest tinsel-lover.
And when you are being paid to grow, produce, promote, sell and market a product that soaks the Holiday season, navigating a life with a little more balance and less booze can be nigh impossible.
In North America, the Thanksgiving holiday is the first in an endless schedule of parties, promotions, get-togethers and gatherings, which can quickly tip over into a 24/7 cycle of late nights, over-indulgence, with little time for rest or recovery.
So in light of this, here are six ideas to help you navigate the Holidays with professionalism and aplomb:
1. Accept invitations where the pressure to drink is less
Divide invitations into “business critical”, “stop for a pop” and “nice to do’s” and commit to attend only "must do's" and quick stops. Once you commit to a party, drink only what is necessary to fulfill your obligations. Eliminating unnecessary occasions is one of the best ways to self-moderate your volume of diary dates and drinks. Remember that you don’t have to finish every glass offered.
2. Have a standard response to the inevitable question
Something as simple as “I’m actually choosing to drink a little less this week / month / season” can work. It clearly communicates your decision and verbally reinforces your values of self-care. It’s also a direct way to head off the inevitable “Are you sick, weak, pregnant” – those unwanted advances that are standard fare in industry gatherings. If you’re stuck and don’t know what to say, Dr Lauren Kane from American support group Annum.com has some great tips for How to Say No To Drinks When You're Cutting Back .
3. Pour non-alcoholic drinks into a wine glass
Muscle memory plays a big part, swirling and while sniffing sparkling water can look silly, its familiarity can also be comforting when you’re in a new scenario. And you’re likely to know how to juggle holding a wine glass when the canapés come along.
4. Drink two or three glasses of water when you arrive
Often when we are thirsty we unconsciously eat or drink. Water helps quench your thirst and resists you taking that gulp of sparkling wine or cocktail on arrival. And if you like spirit-forward cocktails, steer clear of neat alcohol, opting for high-balls or spritzers. Finally, adapting a rule of consuming 1:1 water to wine is always a great help to moderate your intake.
5. Find others at the gathering who are holding “kids drinks”
Finding other abstainers can be a search mission, but common interests may surprise you once the wine-talk is out of the way – even the fact you are both slowing down your consumption can be a conversation starter. How to find these folks? Hint: they may well be at the same self-pour table you are.
6. Hold on to Your Glass
Literally, holding a glass can give the perception to others that you are happy with what is in your glass, reducing the pressure on scouring for “another drink”. Keep an eye on wait staff refills, as it’s easy to lose track of the multiple short pours and holding on to your glass helps to visually recall who is filling your glass and with what wine or drink.
What if you are happy imbibing but know someone else trying to cut back on consumption?
Please support them.
Offer to shout that glass of sparkling water as you would sparkling wine. Consider how hard it can be to moderate your intake and be an ally. That’s called community and it’s part of the magic. So be magical for each other.
Finally, enjoy yourself. It's busy but also a time to celebrate the tremendous community we are part of. Share with us how you manage your wellness during the Holidays – we would love to hear!
Meet the Tribe!
Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.
Head of Auctions, Langton's (Aus) | 2018 Woman of Inspiration – Australian Women in Wine Awards
Years in the Industry:
28 years. Starting in winery production, sales and marketing, I joined Langton’s in August 1998 as Senior Evaluation and Marketing Manager, working with Stewart Langton and Andrew Caillard MW. That year I headed up the project to move the auction business online which we then launched in 2001. I worked closely alongside Andrew Caillard for 10 years until taking over the role as Head of Auctions in 2008.
My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
Sleep. Taming my thoughts and pausing my brain long enough to fall asleep and get an uninterrupted seven hours.
How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
Mostly no reading on my phone half an hour before bedtime, and only listening to music and podcasts. Exercise forces my brain to concentrate on the task at hand; with personal training sessions twice a week, a game of netball once a week, and walking the dogs on the weekend with my family.
Regular family time – My husband Matt and I always eat dinner together with our three kids - Jai (18) Ivy (16) and Sofia (11) at the dining table, most nights around 8 or 8.30pm. It is an important time for us all to catch up on everyone’s day, their plans, and there are always lots of great discussions on life.
Finding the “Me time” by booking in regular massages, and spending time gardening on the farm. I drink lots of water, focus on fresh food when we can and seasonally - at the moment we are eating lots of blueberries.
You can connect with Tamara through her personal Instagram or through Langton’s website or Instagram
What We’re Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
How Hard Do Sommeliers Hustle? – Victoria James for SevenFiftyDaily.com
“One of my key takeaways is that the number of steps walked and flights climbed vary significantly based on the design of the restaurant.”
7 Reminders for Mindful Eating – Mindful.com
“Mindful eating isn’t just about sating our appetite, filling ourselves up from the outside. It’s also a gratitude practice: appreciating the delicious sights, tastes, and the people who made it possible for you to enjoy the plate in front of you.”
Let’s Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you. Check out details on the Let's Meet Up! page over at A Balanced Glass.
Co-presenter at Wine2Wine in Verona, Italy, Nov 26 to 27 (Rebecca)
Guest Lecturer at INSEEC in Bordeaux, Jan. 21 – 26 (Cathy)
Attendee at ProWein in Düsseldorf, March 17 to 19 (Cathy)
Attendee at MUST: Fermenting Ideas in Cascais, Portugal, June 26 to 28 (Cathy)