Between festive work parties and your favorite aunt’s homemade eggnog, it’s easy to let December pass in a cloud of alcoholic cheer.
Why not consider participating in Dry January? This increasingly popular trend of abstaining from alcohol in the first month of the year not only offers the opportunity to dial back excessive indulgence from December, but it can also help you make better long-term decisions about when and how you drink.
Who Invented Dry January?
The idea of abstaining from alcohol after the holiday season likely has no single origin, but was popularized by Alcohol Change UK in 2012. In 2018, over 4 million people committed to giving up drinking for the entire month of January.
While the original purpose of Dry January was to help people think more consciously about the effects of alcohol consumption, anyone who commits to going alcohol-free for 31 days can experience the benefits of Dry January.
What are the Benefits of Dry January?
The benefits of Dry January go beyond just abstaining from a few hundred (or thousand) empty calories per week. Giving up drinking for a month can bring numerous benefits, including:
- A sense of personal accomplishment
- Saving money
- Improved energy
- Better skin
- Increased concentration
The benefits of a month-long alcohol-free period typically extend beyond the time of strict sobriety. People who committed to Dry January were also more likely to drink less in August. Trying Dry January can also be a great way to reassess your overall relationship with alcohol, with the benefits lasting throughout the year.
Is Abstaining from Alcohol Good for Your Health?
In a word: yes. While the prevailing belief has long been that moderate drinking can be beneficial for health, recent research suggests that even light drinking is likely not very good for you.
Alcohol consumption can lead to a general weakening of your immune system, meaning heavy drinkers are likely to get sick more often and stay sick longer.
Tips to Survive Dry January
So, you’ve decided to give Dry January a try. Fantastic! Here are some tips to help you stay focused from a foggy New Year’s morning to the first day of February.
1. Track Your Progress
Keeping track of the days you’ve gone without drinking reinforces your commitment and keeps you motivated to continue.
2. Replace Drinking with Other Activities
Grab a new book, start a new hobby, or try out a new fitness program. If you need inspiration, there are some BOD options available:
3. Try Non-Alcoholic Alternatives
If you enjoy the social aspect of drinking but still want to commit to Dry January, try a mocktail or other non-alcoholic beverage that mimics the experience of drinking without the actual alcohol.
4. Find Different Ways to Reward Yourself
Go to the spa, get a massage, watch a movie – do something that makes you feel good without needing to drink alcohol.
In short, abstaining from alcohol in Dry January can not only lead to an improvement in your immediate health and well-being, but also to a range of long-term benefits. So, after packing up the Christmas lights and finishing off the gingerbread cocktails, why not consider giving up alcohol in January? It’s a great way to start a healthier new year!