How To Survive The Office Christmas Party

The office Christmas party season is fast approaching. And, whether you're attending a huge office bash with hundreds of fellow colleagues, or just a small gathering down at the pub with a handful of workmates, there are a few pointers you should keep in mind... 

The office Christmas party can potentially be a minefield of tipsy mistakes and social faux-pas, but with a bit of sensible prep, there's no need to dread the annual bash. Take these tips onboard, and you can relax and celebrate with your colleagues in style. 

Be friendly and get involved

Even if you're more of an introvert than a social butterfly, it still pays to put yourself out there and get mingling with your workmates. If you’re feeling nervous, you don't need to reach for the Dutch courage before you go: try to remember that you’re probably not the only person feeling a bit uncomfortable. 

Getting out of your comfort zone may seem intimidating, especially if you don't know many of your colleagues very well, but it’s important to show up and do your best to get involved. Brush up on your conversational skills by having a few questions to fall back on if the chat dries up: you could try asking what people plan to do over the Christmas break. If you're still stumped for ideas, Hubspot has a guide on how to make small talk in any situation. Give it a try with your workmates: chances are, you'll discover interests in common you never even knew you had. 

Dress the part in a suit or eye-catching shirt

It's a special occasion, so resist the temptation to just wear your everyday work suit or run-of-the-mill weekend wear. Putting a bit of thought into your celebratory outfit will show your colleagues that you really want to be there, and will signal that you're feeling festive and ready to party. A sharp, well fitted suit is a sure to impress, and is also a practical option, as you can take off your blazer and roll up your sleeves if you get too warm or fancy hitting the dancefloor later. 

If a suit sounds a bit too dressy for your work environment, then a formal shirt tucked into a pair of smart jeans will be just the ticket. This selection of party-ready shirts from Pritchards features designs in both subtle and eye-catching designs, so you’re sure to find one to suit your personal style. Try teaming one with a pair of patent brogues to really pull your outfit together. 

Don't party on an empty stomach, and pace yourself

The annual work Christmas party is often a notoriously boozy occasion, so take care of yourself and have plenty to eat before you start drinking. Having plenty of food in your stomach will slow the rate of alcohol absorption, and the feeling of being full will encourage you to drink more slowly. If nibbles and canapes will be served at your party, then don’t be shy about helping yourself: they'll help you to pace yourself and stay in control. Just watch out for salty snacks, which can make you even thirstier. 

If you're going straight out after work and you know you won't get a chance to eat dinner, make sure you to line your stomach with a hearty, carb-heavy breakfast and something substantial for lunch, and pack a snack to eat before the party kicks off. During the party, try to make every other drink a small glass of water. Keeping yourself hydrated is the key to staying in control: it will mean you stay merry for longer without getting too drunk, and you'll feel less hungover in the morning, too. 

Play it safe, and don't be afraid to leave early 

The Christmas party is a chance to let loose and socialise with your work colleagues, but that doesn't mean you should start airing your dirty laundry. Keep the conversation friendly, and try to avoid airing your office grievances or talking about your co-workers behind their backs. Try to remember that working life will resume as normal the following Monday, and you don't want to make things awkward. 

If you’re feeling worse for wear after a couple of hours, then it’s better to head home a little early. If your head is spinning, then politely excuse yourself and order a taxi. It’s better than waking up filled with regret over something you said or did the night before, and you'll feel much fresher, too.

Tackle your hangover with some handy cures

Should you wake up the morning after not feeling your best, you don't have to spend all day in bed. There are three key elements to curing a hangover: hydration, food, and light activity. If you wake up with a pounding headache and an uneasy stomach, the first thing you should do is try to drink at least a pint of water. 

Low blood sugar is also a cause of headaches and nausea, so a filling, carb-heavy breakfast will help to get your blood sugar back up: try one of these recipes from Good Food. Avoid taking any painkillers: during a hangover, your liver is already working overtime to process the excess alcohol, so don't make things worse by popping paracetamol the morning after. Finally, some gentle exercise, like a walk in the fresh air, will help to clear away the sluggish feeling we often get the morning after a big night out. 

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Guest Thursday, 14 December 2017