Do Hangovers steal two weeks of your summer?

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Balance Garden hears from Jussi Tolvi, one of the co-founders of The Club Soda Mindful Drinking Festival (and movement) that helps you to cultivate a healthy and happy relationship with (or without) alcohol

I have never had a good head for drinking. I will get tipsy from two bottles of medium-strength beer. A bit more and I would be heading to bed to go to sleep. And the older I got, my hangovers just got worse and worse. Throwing up, throbbing headaches, being able to do nothing but lie still in a dark room, waiting for life to return sometime in the afternoon.

I don’t think my mother has even forgiven me for missing most of my niece’s christening party. I figured that rather than be sick in front of the vicar, I’d just try to get comfortable in the back seat of my parents car, and claim I was suffering from travel sickness due to the long drive (less than an hour and I’d never had any travel sickness before - but it was worth a try, no?).

Was I, am I, alone?

Club Soda is a Mindful Drinking Movement, we don’t tell anyone what to do around drinking, but we can support you if you have decided you want to change your drinking habits. One way to decide what you want to do (cut down, stop for a bit or quit) is to look at what you dislike the most about drinking and how you feel it is impacting on your life.

Most members tell us hangovers are the thing that they tolerate less as you get older or your drinking increases. They are a time thief!

Last week we set out to get some numbers on just how big a problem hangovers are for people. Surprisingly, there is very little hard data out there on how often people suffer the after-effects of drinking. So we conducted our own online poll.

From our survey of 2,000 adults in the UK, we discovered that one in three people who drink any alcohol has at least one hangover per week. One in ten has three or more hangovers every week. And those days pile up - an average person has two weeks’ worth of hangover days over the summer months, and the country as a whole suffers an unbelievable 700 million hangovers this summer.

That is a lot of time spent with a headache, shaking hands, throwing up, or whatever your particular hangover symptoms happen to be.

And it’s not just the nasty after-effects of drinking - just as important are the things left undone because of it.

In the second part of our survey, we concentrated on the positives: what would people like to do instead, if they got the time wasted on hangovers back to them? Holidays, travel, and catching up on sleep were the most popular answers (all chosen by more than one in three people), followed by spending time with family/loved ones, hobbies and personal projects, and socialising (all chosen by more than one in four people). There are lots of nice things to do, as long as you can do them.

This is why we run the Mindful Drinking Festival

Luckily it is getting easier to avoid hangovers by switching to alcohol-free drinks. Not so long ago it was almost impossible to find a simple non-alcoholic beer, whether at a supermarket or in a pub. But the times they are a-changin': Today, there are many amazing beers, ciders, wines and spirit alternatives to choose from, without feeling that you are missing out. You can hold a cold bottle of beer in the pub, just like your mates. Or spend a small fortune on a colourful concoction in a fancy glass at the cocktail bar like everyone else.

Club Soda has always been an advocate of alcohol-free beers and wines in helping people cut down on their drinking. They are not for everyone of course. Some people would rather have a soft drink and that’s absolutely fine by us.

And now, for the third time, we are proud to bring together some of our favourite alcohol-free drinks at our July Mindful Drinking Festival at London’s Spitalfields Market. We will have over 50 drink brands on offer, with tastings, talks, DJs, and live music too, at our “Spitalfields by the Sea” themed event.

The Club Soda Mindful Drinking Festival takes place at Spitalfields Market, London E1, on Saturday 28 July, from 11am to 6pm. The event is free to attend.

Have an event you want to share with us? Get in touch, Balance Garden are happy to connect our readers to things that will help them feel the best version of themsleves