What better occasion than to start the new year by quitting alcohol for – at least – a month? 🥂❌ This is, as some call it, the aim of the “Dry January” – a challenge that every year brings together millions of people all around the world in an attempt to better their health and their relationship with drinking. But there is more to it! Among the benefits of Dry January are also better mental clarity, easier weight loss, higher chances of conception, improved sleep, and many more!
This is what convinced me to give Dry January a try this year, and I can proudly say that I’ve been pretty successful in my approach so far! 💪. In this post, I am going to share with you my experience with quitting alcohol for a month (so far) – and, hopefully, for much longer than that – as well as 5 tips if you want to join me in this challenge!
But first, let’s have a look at the 10 main benefits of Dry January for our mental and physical health, and all the reasons why taking a break from alcohol might be one of the best decisions of your life! 💗
10 Mental and Physical Benefits of Dry January
We all know that January is one of the best times of the year to get back on track with our health goals. Our motivation is through the roof, our New Year’s resolutions are still fresh in our minds, and we are all willing to start fresh after being a little too overindulgent during the holidays!
Whether your goal is to lose a little bit of excess weight, improve your sleep quality, or just be more focused and alert, quitting alcohol might be the best choice for you.
Indeed, among the 10 main benefits of Dry January are:
- Better sleep quality, as alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a.k.a. deep, restorative sleep; 🛌
- More clarity and reduced daytime tiredness (as alcohol depresses our central nervous system, leading to overall lower energy levels); 💡
- Fewer headaches, nausea, and brain fog (the typical symptoms of hangovers); 🤢
- Improved focus, alertness, and overall productivity. This is especially because we are often less efficient with our usual tasks the day after a big night of drinking; 🧠
- Higher chances to conceive, as alcohol might decrease female fertility. This one was HUGE for me, as I have been truly worried that alcohol would affect my ability to get pregnant. 🤰
- More strength, resistance, and physical balance, which are all leading to improved exercise performance. In addition, hangovers often prevent us from getting the exercise we intended to get; 🏃♀️
- More stable moods, less anxiousness, and irritability. Again, after the initial alcohol buzz, we often tend to feel down after a night out); 😊
- Easier weight loss. This is due both to cutting down the calories contained in alcohol, as well as making better food choices. Indeed, drinking and hangovers often lead to poor food choices and binges; ⚖
- Strengthen the immune system (regular alcohol consumption might lead to an impaired immune response); 🤧
- Better hydration. This is because alcohol is a diuretic. Plus, it can also decrease the body’s ability to produce an antidiuretic hormone, which helps the body reabsorb water. 💧
5 Tips for a – truly – Dry January!
Dry January is just at the beginning, but I’ve found these 5 tips very helpful in quitting alcohol – hopefully for good this time! 🍻❌
- Having a strong “why“.
As I explained in this post on how to set effective weight loss goals, having a strong “why” is essential when it comes to achieving our resolutions. Among the most common “whys” for quitting alcohol are:
–feeling overall healthier;
–having a break after the holidays’ shenanigans;
–testing our mental boundaries;
–supporting a friend or a relative who has already committed to the Dry January challenge;
–or also trying to conceive, which is big for me!
In addition, I tend to have a very addictive personality, so quitting alcohol altogether seems easier for me than consuming it in moderation. 🤲
- Choose different activities to fill the time you would normally spend drinking.
Another great tip for reaping all the benefits of dry January is to break the habit of drinking alcohol by replacing it with a new – and ideally, healthier – one! For example, you might start reading more consistently instead of pouring yourself a cup of wine. Or suggest your friends to go on a hike together instead of going to the pub. Simple actions can go a long way!
- Replace alcohol with other beverages.
This tip has saved me numerous times. I’m a huge fan of craft beers, and have been very pleased to discover that there are many brands out there that offer incredible non-alcoholic beers!
My favorite so far has been Athletic Brewing’s IPA, though I am trying Stouts and Sours too. In addition, almost all bars are offering different types of non-alcoholic drinks (a.k.a. mocktails). These are also really easy to make at home. (I am saving this Watermelon Agua Fresca for next summer)!
I have also tried a nonalcoholic red wine and wasn’t impressed, but I still enjoyed it. There’s something about that berry drink in a nice wine glass while in a hot bath! 🧖♀️ Another great hack is to drink a glass of pomegranate juice (great for fertility)- or whatever healthy drink of your liking – in a wine glass. 🍷
Finally, I’ve tried the Ritual Zero Proof Gin for liquor. I like it, although I wouldn’t say it tastes like Gin. It’s a fun drink anyhow, but for the price, I could probably make something similar myself! I’ve also enjoyed drinking seltzer water and a splash of pomegranate juice, seltzer water, cucumber, lemon, or lime. It feels like such a special drink to me! ✨
- Found an accountability buddy.
Founding an accountability buddy is extremely helpful when it comes to staying consistent with your intentions. This can either be a relative, or a friend, but also sharing your intention of quitting alcohol on your socials. In any case, always remember that you are doing it for YOU, and not for them!
- Reward yourself!
Quitting alcohol is not easy, especially if you are drinking it regularly or are used to seeing it as a reward after a hard day at work! This is why you have to find new ways to reward yourself after every small milestone in your sobriety journey (for example, after completing your first week sober). Healthy rewards might be a hot bath with some Epsom salts, an episode of your favorite TV series, or even one of your favorite cookies! 🍪 Of course, at the end of the month I will reward myself with some non-alcoholic Champagne I bought for the occasion!
If you find this article useful, please consider sharing it with your family and friends! And don’t forget that we’ve got this!💗
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