Some things to consider when your calendar is full of boozy gatherings… if you’re too lazy to read this entire article, please at least have a glass of water every other drink and don’t drive for any reason. Thank you!

As the world opens up, many people are feeling anxious about their abilities to hold conversation. But, there are other concerns few have considered, including a tolerance for alcohol and remembering party etiquette. Beginning Memorial Day Weekend, Southwest and American airlines stopped alcohol sales in the U.S. due to a recent uptick in alcohol-related assaults occurring during flights, an alarming indicator of the current state of post-pandemic social affairs.

After a year-plus of quarantining, social distancing and restrictions on large get-togethers, it’s been proclaimed that Summer 2021 is going to be a wild party all season long and we want to be able to handle ourselves. Should you find your inbox full of invites, and a desire to catch up with friends and acquaintances, here are some pro tips for easing back into boozy celebrations. (As someone who doesn’t drink for a month — or months at a given time — these guidelines have been helpful.)

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: Silence Your Cell Phone

We’ve all spent more than enough time on our phones over the past year — so, unless you’re offering directions to an incoming guest: put it away when you’re with company! Focus on your in-person interactions and conversations. Social media can wait. (Yes, you can even post that picture the next morning!)

Tip 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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.