Dry January: The Ultimate How To Guide
Jan 23, 2023
As the holiday season comes to a close, many of us may find we feel a bit worse for wear after a month of indulgence. Whether you overindulged in food, drink or both, the start of a new year is the perfect time to reset and refocus on your health. One popular way to do this is by participating in ‘Dry January,’ a month-long challenge to abstain from alcohol.
Also known as Sober January, Dry January is a campaign that began in the UK in 2013 and has since gained popularity around the world. The campaign encourages people to take a break from alcohol and reap the benefits of a booze-free month.
Dry January is not about being perfect or never drinking again. It’s about taking a break, being mindful of your alcohol consumption, and understanding the impact it has on your body. After a month of being alcohol-free, you may find that you don’t miss it as much as you thought, or that you are able to moderate your drinking more effectively.
The Benefits of Dry January
Participating in Dry January has a number of benefits. For starters, it can help you break the habit of drinking alcohol on a daily basis. Additionally, abstaining from alcohol for a month can have significant benefits for health and well-being:
- Boost health. Alcohol has been linked to a number of negative health outcomes, like liver disease, certain cancers and a weakened immune system. Taking a break from drinking can give the body time to recover from the effects of alcohol and improve overall health.
- Improve sleep. One of the biggest benefits of Dry January is improved sleep. Alcohol disrupts the natural sleep cycle, making it difficult for people to fall asleep and stay asleep. When you give up alcohol for a month, your body will naturally start to reset your sleep patterns, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
- Lose weight. Another possible benefit of Dry January is weight loss. Alcohol is high in calories and when consumed in excess, can lead to weight gain. By abstaining from alcohol for a month, you will avoid a lot of empty calories, which can help you lose those extra pounds.
- Increase energy levels. Dry January also leads to increased energy levels. When you consume alcohol, it makes you feel tired and sluggish. When you give up alcohol for a month, you will start to feel more energized. This increased energy can be used to focus on other health goals, such as exercise or work on a new hobby.
- Enhance skin health. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, causing wrinkles, dullness and puffiness. When you give up alcohol for a month, your skin will start to hydrate, resulting in a brighter, more youthful appearance.
- Promote clear thinking. Dry January is not just about the physical benefits, but also the mental benefits. With the absence of alcohol, people report feeling more in control, having better mental clarity, and feeling more positive.
- Support emotional well-being. Alcohol is a depressant, and its use can lead to feelings of sadness and anxiety. When you stop drinking for a month, you may find that your mood improves and you feel more motivated and productive.
Tips to Help You Stay Sober during Dry January
If you’re participating in Dry January, congratulations! Here are some tips to help you stay sober throughout the month.
- Set clear goals and intentions. Having a clear understanding of why you’re participating in Dry January will help you stay motivated and on track.
- Plan ahead. Think about the situations that may be challenging for you to stay sober in and come up with strategies for how to navigate them. For example, if you’re worried about social events, plan to attend events that don’t revolve around alcohol or bring a non-alcoholic drink with you.
- Find alternative activities to replace drinking. Exercise, reading, cooking, spending time with friends, and trying new hobbies are all great ways to keep yourself occupied and your mind off of alcohol.
- Practice mindfulness. Be present in the moment and pay attention to how your body and mind are feeling. This can help you become more aware of triggers and cravings, allowing you to better handle them when they arise.
- Seek support. Having a support system in place can be incredibly helpful in staying sober during Dry January. This can come from friends, family, a counselor or support group.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that Dry January is about making positive changes, not about being perfect. If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, focus on getting back on track and continuing to make progress.
- Reward yourself. Set small rewards for yourself as you reach milestones throughout the month. This can help you stay motivated and give you something to look forward to.
- Remember the benefits. Remind yourself of the benefits of a sober month. This can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.
- Be prepared for cravings. Alcohol cravings can be strong, but they do pass. Try to distract yourself, drink water, or do something else to take your mind off of drinking.
- Have a plan for after Dry January. Once the month is over, it’s important to have a plan in place to continue your progress and maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol. This could include setting limits on drinking, or continuing to abstain from it.
Staying sober during Dry January can be a challenge. But with the right mindset and a plan in place, you can do it! Remember to take it one day at a time, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support if you need it. By the end of the month, you’ll be proud of yourself for making it through and will likely see many benefits as a result.