On Wellness Wednesday, a well-being reminder as the holiday season begins: be well & let others be well.

The holiday season is upon us. For many, it’ll include gatherings with colleagues, friends, and family. Often, those gatherings will involve alcohol.  There’s nothing wrong with that. Indeed, I look forward to festive get togethers over drinks.

But what we must remember is that not everybody does. 

For some, well-being is adversely affected by the stress associated with both the holidays and gatherings that include alcohol. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago by the ABA Journal’s Stressed about holiday parties? Think about skipping them, says lawyer in recovery.  The post features tips from Laurie Bresden, a lawyer who is in recovery.  Bresden urges other lawyers in recovery to “consider what you want your celebrations to look like, rather than meeting everyone else’s expectations.”

Bresden tips aren’t limited to lawyers who are in recovery.  This paragraph caught my attention

  • “According to Bresden, her office gets many calls from lawyers in recovery who are stressed about navigating holiday work events in which alcohol is served. For those planning the parties, she suggests serving alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages in the same types of glasses, so nondrinkers don’t feel awkward, including having mocktails on the menu and respecting boundaries when employees don’t attend the gatherings.”

My attention was caught because I’ve tried to convey a similar message. 

In this 2016 post, I wrote:

  • “The holiday season is approaching. Even if it weren’t, let’s remember to accept ‘no thank you’ as a perfectly legitimate answer when a colleague is asked if they want a drink.”

Back then, a Vermont lawyer let me know that at parties, whether holiday or not, the lawyer and the lawyer’s partner use plastic cups to serve all drinks.  That way, nobody knows what others are drinking, thereby saving someone who is not drinking alcohol from having to explain why.

In 2018, I posted “N.O. is O.K.” I’ll repeat part of what I wrote then:

As bar counsel, I’ve dealt with lawyers who’ve told me that one of the keys to their wellness is to avoid situations that will tempt them to make, if you will, ‘unwell decisions.’  For example, some avoid events that include alcohol.

I totally get it.

But many of them want to be social.  They want to go to bar events or holiday parties.  They want to see people, chat, have fun.  The interaction helps their wellness.

What they don’t want is to deal with comments like what? did you quit for the holidays? nobody likes a quitter!!’

I know this is preachy.  But my message is this: when someone says ‘no’ to a drink at a holiday party, don’t object.

I’m no expert.  But, on well-being, I believe in “be well and let be well.”  Whatever works for you – attending holiday gatherings or avoiding them – do that.  If you attend, participate in a way that is conducive to your well-being, whether that means having a drink or not.  There’s nothing wrong with choosing to drink responsibly.  Nor is there any need to comment upon, call attention to, or object to someone who chooses not to drink at all.

Enjoy the holidays, let others enjoy theirs.

Previous Wellness Wednesday Posts

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