Celebrate responsibly

St. Patrick’s Day safety tips

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, the excitement builds for one of the most anticipated student celebrations. It is a day filled with green attire, parties, and, for many, taking part in the tradition of enjoying a pint— in my house, we will also celebrate with some green pancakes in the morning! However, amidst the fun, it is essential to remember the importance of celebrating safely and responsibly. 

I have emphasized this in past Wellness columns, but I will mention it again: Start by planning your day. Decide where you will be celebrating, how you will get there, and most importantly, how you will return home safely, whether through a designated driver, taxi, or walking with a friend. Mixing substances, including alcohol and prescription medications, can dangerously impact your health and increase overdose risks. 

To mitigate adverse effects, make sure to stay hydrated with water. Alcohol can dehydrate your body quickly, so drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential. Try to alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. Not only does this practice keep you hydrated, but it also helps pace your alcohol consumption. Eating a good meal before heading out is equally important, as food can help absorb alcohol and slow down its effects on your body. 

It is also wise to avoid consuming substances alone and to inform a friend of your whereabouts and plans. Setting personal limits and adhering to them is crucial for a safe celebration. Additionally, dressing appropriately for Sackville’s chilly March weather is essential! Exposure to cold can increase health risks, and alcohol does not warm you up. Consider setting up a buddy system with your friends so that no one is left behind or finds themselves in uncomfortable situations. 

A respectful celebration environment is grounded in consent and care for others—practice bystander intervention safely if you witness anything concerning. Bystander intervention looks different for everyone and could look like seeking assistance from others, distracting to defuse the situation, or directly asking if the person involved is all right. Asking for consent applies to all interactions and must be ongoing, specific, and freely given. It is also important to respect everyone’s answers without pressure or insistence. 

A good portion of St. Patrick’s Day festivities occur during the day around the community such as downtown or at house parties, so it is essential to respect your neighbours’ privacy and comfort. If hosting a gathering, keep the guest list manageable and inform your neighbours beforehand, addressing any concerns they might have. Maintain reasonable noise levels to avoid nuisances and potential fines. Clean up after the event, discourage littering, and encourage your guests to respect the community. Providing food and non-alcoholic beverage options can also make your gathering more inclusive and safer for everyone involved. 

St. Patrick’s Day is about coming together with friends to celebrate Irish culture and heritage. By making smart choices, looking out for one another, and knowing your limits, you can ensure that the day is memorable for all the right reasons.

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