We are finally saying farewell to 2020! January is a great time to make positive changes to our lives, whether that is by spending more time with loved ones or by taking part in Dry January.
Dry January is an alcohol-free challenge created by Alcohol UK, a charity dedicated to alcohol change. The concept is simple: stop drinking alcohol for the entire month and give your body a change to reset itself. Easy, right?
That sounds great, but I don’t have alcohol issues. Why should I take part?
Stepping back from alcohol for a month is useful for anyone who drinks, even if not very often – it’s a chance to prove to yourself that you can set your mind to something and succeed. According to Alcohol Change UK, it’s also an opportunity for us to learn better skills to manage our drinking, which helps us drink more healthily the rest of the year.
Some benefits include:
- Better and deeper sleep.
- A healthier diet.
- Improved mental health.
- More energy.
- Nicer skin.
- Reduced blood pressure.
- Better results when exercising.
- Reduction in bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Stronger immune system.
- And the big one… It’s a money-saver!
If you are planning to take part, there are many things you can do to make things easier for yourself. We’ve listed a few of them below.
Replace alcohol with a fun or relaxing activity.
If you use alcohol to take your mind off things, there are other activities you could try instead. Could you start a diary? Try a new recipe? Walk your dog somewhere new? Follow a YouTube workout? Watch a new series? The possibilities are endless.
Take the money you would normally spend on alcohol and set it aside.
Whenever you stop yourself from buying a drink, take that money and put it in your savings account (or a money pot, if you have one of those.) Count it all at the end of the month – you might be surprised at how much you’ve saved. You can then use this to treat yourself to something nice, like a DVD or book.
Download the Try Dry app.
This free app helps you succeed by sending you daily reminders, keeping track of your money and calories, and much more. You can use it all-year-round, or whenever you’d like a break from alcohol.
Take part with a loved one.
A great way to stay motivated is to find a Dry January partner who can take on this challenge with you. You can hold each other accountable to your commitments, share your tips and lend listening ears when one of you is struggling.
Join the Dry January Community Group on Facebook.
If you don’t have anyone to do this challenge with but are still keen to get involved with other people, you can join the Facebook Community Group. This is a space where participants share their experiences with Dry January and help each other succeed.
Use this time to address any underlying issues.
If you think there is an underlying issue behind your drinking – such as mental health challenges – this is the perfect time to explore them. We suggest you book an appointment with your GP or sign up to the NHS’ talking therapies, which are free and completely confidential.
Whether or not you choose to do Dry January, we hope this upcoming year brings you more love and joy than ever before. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!