How to stay healthy during a party season

By Joel Evans, updated 6 months ago in Health / Food and fitness

three friends dressed for a party hugging and laughing covered in glitter

One of the great things about the LGBT community is that we know how to party. While any Friday or Saturday night can become one for the Instagram Stories, there are certain times of year that tend to involve more revelry than others.

Think a long list of social engagements over the summer holidays or a fabulous fortnight of events during Mardi Gras. There’s no shortage of occasions that could turn into a party ‘season’.

As you’re planning costumes and getting the calendar in order, be mindful of your health during this time. There are many ways you and your friends can have a great and safe time as you party the nights (and perhaps days!) away. Here’s how you can go out while avoiding party burnout.

group of five happy and diverse queer people dressed for a pride party

1. Adapt your fitness or exercise routine

For those of us who exercise regularly, extended periods of downtime can really affect physical and mental health. You just feel, meh. Whether you’re into yoga, weights or long walks, try to set some time aside for exercise around the glitter (biodegradable only, thanks) and parties. We’re not suggesting you try to mimic your usual exercise routine. Instead, adapt your fitness routine to a model that’s manageable around the brunches, dinners and parties.

You can do this in several ways. Reduce the time you spend exercising to a duration you can comfortably commit to. You might also choose to lift lighter weights or take on a softer routine to avoid putting too much pressure on your body before and after the bubbles start popping.

“If you plan to use PrEP, there are three ways you can use it.”

We’ve put together a list of the best YouTube fitness channels for home workouts to keep movement in your day over a busy party weekend. And we’ll just leave this here, in case you’re looking for exercises that will make your bottoming top class!

2. Spend some time in nature

Nature is known to have a restorative effect on mental and emotional wellbeing. Even spending a short time at a park or by the beach (if one is close by) will help you recharge from all your plans.

Connecting with nature can be as simple as enjoying a takeaway lunch outdoors or going for a 30-minute walk instead of hitting the gym. A little goes a long way. If you’ve been drinking the night before, remember to grab your sunglasses. Your eyes are likely a little delicate!

3. Eat three meals a day

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But during party season, every meal counts towards keeping you healthy. You’ll need the sustenance to maintain high energy levels, particularly if drinking or partying. Have a hot outfit planned for the party? It’s never a great idea to forego food for fashion. Eating light is better than eating nothing at all (And you’ll still slay with that fabulous outfit!).

We, of course, recommend eating as healthy as possible, but if a greasy fast-food run is what the body calls for after a big night, give the people what they want!

man eats bowl of cereal while smiling at a message on his mobile phone

If you’ve got back-to-back parties for a couple of days, make sure you eat regular meals. Food is fuel and your body’s going to benefit from having something substantial in the tank to keep you going. A six course banquet might not be all that appetising at the time, but even a few light snacks can help sustain your reputation as the Energizer Bunny.

Need quick, healthy snack ideas that could turn a food craving into fulfilled fantasy? We’ve got you covered here!

4. Drink alcohol mindfully

Be mindful of how much you’re drinking. We’re not necessarily saying to limit your fun (we’re all adults here!). Some of us tend to indulge more than others, and if this is you (or one of your friends), take steps to ensure you can do so safely.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach and eat as a group to ensure all your mates have primed themselves for the night (or day!) ahead. It is recommended that no more than 10 standard drinks are consumed a week per person. Alternate your drinks with something softer or stick to a single spirit to avoid peaking too early (and to get your money’s worth out of those party tickets!). The key is to have fun, while looking out for yourself and your friends.

“… during party season, every meal counts towards keeping you healthy.”

Now let’s get real; there are a few precautions you should take on the big night, particularly if you’re new to partying. While drinking in clubs and pubs, always keep your drink within reach. Drink spiking (lacing a drink with another substance, such as GHB) can happen if your glass is unattended. Be cautious if you’re offered drinks from someone you don’t know, and remember it is okay to refuse politely. Should you feel unwell at any time, alert the venue and seek medical care if required.

For more information on partying safely and the effects of alcohol and other drugs, visit Touchbase and Pivot Point. These resources are produced specifically for the LGBT community.

5. Stay hydrated

Drink water regularly before, during and after your session. Most of us are already dehydrated before we feel thirsty.

Rehydrating is key to helping your liver break down the alcohol in your system. Not only will you be able to party a little longer, it’ll also help you recover from the hangover (wink!).

6. Get plenty of sleep to avoid burnout

Party seasons mean at least a few late nights and long days, sometimes back-to-back. Sleep as much as you can. If you’re handling a busy calendar over a month, it’ll be a little easier to allow for sleep than over an intense week or weekend of events. The key is to schedule dedicated recovery time to avoid burning out and risking becoming unwell before you complete your eagerly awaited social line-up.

There’s no shame in admitting you need some downtime, and if this is you, don’t feel pressured to stay out the whole night. If you plan to pull through, don’t overdo the energy drinks! You’ll crash much harder the following day.

young man comfortable in bed with clean linen

7. Take a break from devices and screens

Set aside a specific portion of your day to take a brief digital detox. It’ll help with the come down from the loud music and bright lights before your next event. An hour or two might be all you need to have a reset and recalibrate your senses.

Remember, while detoxing, anything with a screen is off limits! Putting down one device in favour of another doesn’t count.

8. Practice COVID-safe behaviours

It’s possible to be COVID-safe and have fun at the same time! We know it’s been an exhausting couple of years as Australia has moved through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you party the nights away, it’s important to keep yourself and your friends healthy by being COVID-safe. Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitiser for the group.

Wear a mask when required by the venue or according to the COVID-19 safety measures in your state/territory. If you’re worried about how a mask will look on your outfit, choose one that will make a fashion statement!

9. Look after your sexual health

Party seasons present many opportunities for both planned and spontaneous play. When was the last time you tested for HIV and STIs? Is PrEP a part of your routine, and if it’s not, would you like it to be? You want to make sure you protect yourself and your partner(s) while having fun at the same time.

So, a few weeks before it’s time to party, take stock of your sexual health. Book a test for HIV and STIs and know your status before you play. For more advice on testing before a big weekend or season, read our two-week party plan here.

Remember, PrEP only protects against HIV. Use condoms to help prevent other STIs, such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea Syphilis and Shigella.

So get out there, stay safe and most importantly, slay the town with all your fabulous!