According to a YouGov survey, the overall alcohol consumption of the average individual increases by 41% across the whole month of December. With this in mind, national charity The Licensed Trade Charity has outlined some wellbeing guidance for those in the industry looking to cut down on drinking, eat healthier and catch up on sleep.
Healthy drinking tips
Help your body clear out the alcohol by drinking plenty of water between alcoholic drinks, or alternate them with soft drinks. It is estimated that your body needs four-parts water to every one-part alcohol to remove it from your system.
Drink slowly. This gives your body – and more importantly your liver – time to metabolise and flush the toxins from your body.
Have at least two, and ideally more, alcohol-free days each week.
Downsize your drinks - if you’re a beer-drinker, make the units go further by drinking halves instead of pints. If you’re a wine-drinker then opt for a smaller glass.
Never drink on an empty stomach as this floods your body with alcohol and forces your liver to work too hard. Make sure that you eat carbohydrates and fats before drinking alcohol to line the stomach, prevent nausea, hangovers and to help avoid getting drunk. Food will also absorb some of the alcohol, thereby slowing its delivery into your blood stream.
Sign up to Club Soda, the mindful drinking organisation. You can join online for free to receive eBooklets on setting goals and tracking your progress, and gain support to change your lifestyle.
The charity has also recommended operators avoid unrealistic fitness goals and instead opt for small but sustainable healthier choices.
Habits for a healthy lifestyle
Be active – burn off the extra calories you have taken on by gardening, dancing, or going for a walk. If you are popping to the local shop, think about walking there and back rather than automatically reaching for the car key.
Track your exercise – free apps such as Runkeeper or MapMyRun can be used for walks, bike rides and more, and help you see how far you have gone and how fast – giving you a goal to beat for next time and added motivation.
Serve your food in reverse. Most people start with the ‘naughty’ foods leaving little room for vegetables. But by dishing vegetables up first and ensuring they fill half of the plate, you can more easily control the amount of the less healthy items that accompany them.
Count your chews! Chew every mouthful 20-30 times as this breaks the food down more allowing it to be more easily digested. It also slows you down so you realise you are full sooner, and not when it is all too late.
Eat oily fish such as salmon and mackerel each week which can help prevent heart disease.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep at the end of each day, the charity added.
For a healthy night’s sleep, the LTC suggest:
Try to get back into a regular routine before bed, and instead of ‘cramming’ sleep with one really early night, try to go to bed a little earlier each night to gradually restore your sleep reserves.
Make your bedroom a technology-free zone. Don’t watch TV in bed, or look at your phone or laptop – the brightly lit screens of phones and computers can decrease the amount of melatonin released at night to help you sleep.
Aim to get 7-8 hours sleep every night
The charity can also help with issues such as dealing with serious illness, coping with disability and substance dependency, through its free 24/7 helpline. Publicans can find a range of help sheets on the LTC website on all health issues from improving your work/life balance to coping with illness and accidents.
It is harder than ever for hospitality workers to disconnect from the job, with emails and communications apps meaning teams are connected even when they leave the pub.
Patrick Van Der Mijl, co-founder of the internal communications platform Speakap, says employees should have the right to ‘switch off’ after their shift and recently added a 'do not disturb' feature to his app.
He said: “Most retailers, hotels, restaurants/bars, entertainment venues and other businesses that employ non-desk workers will realise the long-term benefits of switching off.”
Benefits include higher employee productivity levels, short-term and long-term job satisfaction, employee retention rates and even better customer satisfaction rates and sales.
He added: “If your employees are stressed, your business will suffer. It’s that simple.”
“If they want to switch off once their shift has ended, they have every right to do so and should feel supported and empowered to do so by their employer – be it to spend quality time with their loved ones or simply decompress for their emotional well-being.