One day it’s Indian summer and you’re basking in the autumn warmth on your back, the next day invitations for holiday gatherings start trickling in. How lovely to be included and invited to shindigs!

For those who drink alcohol, there’s that familiar feeling as the fun flurry of cocktail-laden parties drags on to OMG I have another party to go to tonight, help, pass me a drink. What starts out as fun and celebratory, yay, we’ve made it this far into the year and we’re still standing easily turns into I’m exhausted, I need a glass of wine to get me through this evening of people.

Stop and take stock.

Following are some pro tips from Hilary Sheinbaum, author of The Dry Challenge, for navigating boozy celebrations.

Tip: 1: Organize Transportation

Before leaving your home, figure out how you’re getting back safely. During quarantine, it’s likely you participated in a few Zoom happy hours or wine nights and didn’t think about getting behind the wheel. There are a few options to choose from: arrange a car service or agree on a designated driver in advance, or at the end of the night you can ping an Uber or call a cab.

Tip 2: Eat Before You Drink

Do not drink on an empty stomach! Eat a meal before going to a party (unless dinner is also going to be served). Without having sustenance in your body, alcohol will be absorbed quickly — meaning you’re likely to get drunk at a more rapid pace than you’d planned. This can result in feeling dizzy, sick, leaving early and other not-so-wonderful feelings. 

Tip 3: Drink Water

… And lots of it — before, during and after each boozy beverage. Alcohol dehydrates you and, in addition to creating intense hangovers, it can cause interrupted sleep and rough looking skin. Plain ol’ H2O is great, and so is coconut water or Gatorade. 

Tip 4: Sip Slowly & Mind Your Manners

You may be very excited to drink among friends, but don’t chug that beer, throw back multiple shots or down that cocktail. Slowly enjoy your beverage and (refer to tip 4) drink water in between (this will keep you from getting too drunk too fast). Also — be sure to compliment and thank your host(s) before leaving and say goodbye! This may sound like common sense, but — again — most of us haven’t ventured out in a very long time, so it’s worth noting that you should tell the host(s) that you had a wonderful time and hope to see them again.

Tip 5: Skip Greasy Hangover Foods

If you were overserved and are feeling the wrath of alcohol the morning after drinking, it’s time to rehydrate and fuel your body back to health. First, pour yourself a tall glass of water (skip the coffee — caffeine can further dehydrate you) and skip the greasy hangover food (instead opt for eggs or something with protein). If all else fails, try to sleep it off (alcohol can disrupt your REM sleep).

Should you choose to imbibe, you can ease back into social gatherings and keep it together with these six tips.