The holidays are here and that means good friends, good food, and some good drinks! From spiked eggnog to champagne toasts, the winter season is full of fun moments.
When January 1 arrives it might feel overwhelming trying to get your resolutions in order after a month of imbibing. Feeling healthier in the new year doesn’t require weird diets or a million steps, it can be as simple as joining the Dry January challenge and cutting back your alcohol intake for one month.
What is Dry January?
Dry January is simple: skip the booze for one month, starting on January 1. This event began in 2013 in the UK as an initiative by nonprofit Alcohol Change UK. By encouraging people to lower their alcohol intake, Alcohol Change UK aims to end preventable alcohol-related diseases and injuries.
Dry January is now celebrated worldwide as a way to reset for the new year. Studies have found that those who drink more experience higher rates of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Despite these statistics, drinking is a very normal part of American social culture and cutting it out can be tough. If you have ever been interested in a sober lifestyle, Dry January is an amazing way to try it out and see how you feel.
Millions of Americans are cutting back their alcohol use, and this number is only increasing. A 2019 poll found that 40% of Americans say they’re drinking less than they used to five years ago. Many sober-curious people have turned to non-alcoholic options with ingredients like adaptogens that provide the same relaxing feeling as a glass of wine.
What are the benefits of Dry January?
Quitting alcohol for a month brings major benefits for not only your health, but your wallet too! Here is what can happen when you quit alcohol:
You’ll sleep better. Alcohol can disrupt REM cycles, so after one month free of booze you’ll have a higher quality sleep and can wake up refreshed and well rested.
Your body will be more hydrated. Alcohol is dehydrating, and excessive drinking can lower your skin’s elasticity, decrease cell turnover, and disrupt your gut health.
You’ll save money. Whether you spend $15 a week on a bottle of wine or $10 a drink when you’re out at a bar, cutting out alcohol can lead to major savings. We recommend putting these savings towards something way more fun to drink.
You’ll be less likely to injure yourself. Alcohol is involved in at least half of all traumas and deaths from burns, drowning, and homicide. It also plays a part in four out of ten fatal car accidents. These stats might sound morbid, but you’ll actually be a lot safer during Dry January versus a normal month of drinking!
These are only a few of the benefits you will gain when you cut back on alcohol. Dry January can improve all parts of your life, from your physical and mental health, to your experiences with friends and family.
How to Participate in Dry January
Joining in the Dry January fun is as simple as cutting off the alcohol, but it’s important to stay mindful during this journey. Here is how you can join the challenge this year:
Step 1: Take an honest look at how much alcohol you currently drink.
Do you have a glass of wine every night to wind down or are you just a social drinker? The CDC defines moderate drinking as two drinks or less a day for men and one drink or less for women. Heavy drinking is defined as 15 or more drinks per week for men and 8 or more drinks per week for women.
After reading these stats, where do you fall on the scale? If you find yourself in the heavy drinker category, consulting a doctor is highly recommended before starting Dry January. When you consume alcohol at this level, your body’s tolerance to drinking increases, and you can experience withdrawal symptoms if you go cold turkey.
Dry January is recommended for anyone who is a moderate or light drinker and does not have dependency issues with any substance.
Step 2: Choose a goal and stay mindful.
After checking in on your alcohol intake, it’s time to decide what your goal for Dry January is. We suggest journaling your thoughts and spending some mindful time to decide on your goal!
Dry January is not meant to be a detox or a way to lower your tolerance so you can drink more in February. It’s a way to discover how much alcohol is affecting your health in a mindful way. Creating a mindfulness routine as part of your Dry January will help you succeed not only this month, but for the rest of the year.
Here are a few goal ideas to get you started for the month:
I want to feel healthier, sleep better, and find mental clarity.
I want to spend time with my friends and not feel obligated to drink to have fun.
I want to support a dream like running a marathon that requires a healthier lifestyle.
Write down your goal for the month and check in with it every week. Celebrate the progress you have made and challenge yourself to stick with your goals.
Step 3: Surround yourself with sober buddies.
Participating in Dry January is way more fun with friends, so enlist a few buddies who want to get healthier with you. It’s important to surround yourself with others who support you and encourage you to keep going with the Dry January Challenge. Gift your friends some alcohol-free sips and plan a fun activity together that doesn’t include drinking.
Are you ready to try out Dry January?
Dry January is a fun way to try out a sober lifestyle and challenge yourself to improve your health over the course of one month. From finding new alcohol-free drinks to starting a sober challenge group with your friends, there are so many ways to make this month an enjoyable and exciting journey.
Try out Dry January this year and swap the alcohol for healthier options, like calming adaptogens or mood-boosting nootropics. Living an alcohol-free lifestyle can feel like a major change, but after one month you might be surprised at how easy it is. Many enjoy Dry January so much, they decide to continue for the rest of the year!
Make sure to stock up on fun alcohol-free drinks and have a great Dry January!