How to survive your office Christmas party

Employees are gearing up for their annual holiday parties filled with music, drinks and dancing. This year less than half of US firms will offer an open bar — down 13 percent from last year — and most are doing away with the mistletoe, according to a new poll.

It is part of a general drive towards offices cutting back on alcohol to prevent binge drinking and messy behavior.

For those who will have an open and cash bar this year, beware: research shows it can be impossible to just have one drink. Alcohol can turn off neurons in the brain which are meant to tell us when enough is enough.

However, there are some things you can do to maintain control.

We spoke to a New York nutritionist who gave her tips for mindful drinking to maintain both your composure and your health.

Only 49 percent of companies will be serving alcohol at their holiday party, down from last year’s 62 percent, amid this year’s sexual harassment scandals

New York nutritionist Nikki Ostrower of NAO Wellness urges the partygoers of offices serving alcohol to drink mindfully and set limits for the night to control their drinking.

‘You can overdo it when it comes to drinking without even realizing it,’ she said.

Studies have shown that heavy drinking can cause permanent damage our livers and brain cells and can also increase the risk of depression.

A 2016 study revealed that it can be biologically impossible to stop at just one drink.

Researchers from Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine study discovered specific neurons in the brain that are meant to tell us to stop drinking.

But those dopamine D2 neurons become deactivated when too much alcohol is consumed.

The deactivation means we drink more, igniting a perpetuating cycle.

This can lead to lewd and regretful behavior, especially around coworkers.

So this year, 51 percent of companies are taking strides to not enable their employees’ drinking habits by refusing to serve alcohol at their parties, according to a survey by consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The firm has conducted surveys on office parties for the last decade and the number of employers serving alcohol has increased each year.

Last year the survey showed the highest number at 62 percent.

This year that plunged to 49 percent of companies planning to serve alcohol, suggesting work-place sexual scandals may have also played a role in the decision.

Ostrower gave Daily Mail Online her tips for healthy and mindful drinking.

1. Prepare your stomach for the night 

Ostrower suggests drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before going out.

Apple cider vinegar offers a jolt of vitamins, increases stomach acid to help digestion and can also prevent unruly hangovers.

Pairing that with food and a glass of water will soak up the alcohol consumed throughout the night.

‘Preparing for a night out beforehand is important in making sure you do not overdo it,’ said Ostrower.

She reminds us that everyone is different and the way the body metabolizes can change, so following these steps is the best bet at controlling how the alcohol affects you.


As many as 75 to 80 percent of people get hangovers even after just a few drinks.

Health writer Anna Magee gave her tips to treat grueling hangovers.

  • Eat liver-supporting foods
  • Eat protein and fat before you drink
  • Replenish your vitamins and minerals
  • Get your electrolytes
  • Take milk thistle
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Extra vitamin C
  • Eat protein and fat before you drink

2. Pace yourself  

Pacing yourself with the number of drinks you have in an hour is a good way to stop yourself from overindulging.

She suggests a glass an hour or less will keep you at a comfortable buzz.

‘Drink consciously. Every time you have a glass, notice how fast you’re drinking it and how it’s making you feel,’ she said.

Using a straw tends to make you drink faster, so she suggests sipping from the glass, nursing and putting down a drink will keep from drinking too fast.

‘You don’t always have to be holding a drink in your hand,’ she added.

Ostrower said to set boundaries from the beginning and have a plan for the night because ‘you don’t want to wing it.’

3. Pick your drinks wisely  

If you want healthier beverage options, Ostrower said to stay away from sugary drinks and go with red wine or a vodka with club soda and a lime.

Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that studies have shown, can raise levels of good cholesterol, support heart function and even has some immune supporting properties.

New York nutritionist Nikki Ostrower said a low-calorie vodka with soda and lime is a healthier drink to have at your office party 

New York nutritionist Nikki Ostrower said a low-calorie vodka with soda and lime is a healthier drink to have at your office party

Vodka averages 96 calories per 1.5 ounces and club soda or seltzer contains no calories, making this a popular alcoholic beverage for dieters.

A study from Northern Kentucky University revealed that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes the brain crave even more alcohol.

The caffeine from Red Bull mixed with Jägermeister liquor creates the famous Jägerbomb, which can lead to drinkers wanting even more.

Ostrower strongly advises against taking shots of alcohol during the holiday party, especially with your boss.

The sudden burst of high-alcohol content in your blood is a surefire way to ensure quick intoxication.

Besides shots, there aren’t many alcoholic drinks that can keep you from getting drunk.

‘It’s not so much what you’re drinking, its how you’re drinking and how much,’ Ostrower said.

4. Stay hydrated 

Drinking water before, during and after a night of boozing is important to replenish the water in your body that alcohol has stripped away.

Having alcohol ‘on the rocks’ or with ice is a small way to get water in your body while drinking.

Drinking a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage will hydrate you, as well as keep your pace.

Staying hydrated is key to controlling alcohol’s effects on the body and preventing a hangover, Ostrower said.

‘Challenge yourself to have fun and not drink too much, she said.

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