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I usually cry off doing the dry January challenge. A myriad of excuses, none of them good ones, normally stand in the way of me giving up my drinking habits for even one sober January month. But this new year I am doing it once more. I managed the whole dry month both for Dry January 2022 and Dry January 2023. And I saw lots of benefits of Dry January both times. And so I know that I can do it again. Are you thinking of giving up alcohol or making a lower alcohol change through the entire month of January too? Well, here is how to do Dry January, plus some Dry January tips to help you get through it too!
*This article has been updated – it was first published in January 2020
- Doing Dry January – Some Dry January Tips To Help You Through It
- What Is Dry January?
- My Reasons For Doing Dry January
- Is Dry January Good For You?
- What Are My Best Tips For Dry January For Getting Through The Entire Month?
Doing Dry January – Some Dry January Tips To Help You Through It
It actually should seem easy. I have had a ridiculously boozy December. I’ve probably drunk alcoholic drinks most days, and it has actually made me realise I might have an issue. My alcohol consumption has really become a bad habit.
In 2020 I had a bit of a health scare, which should maybe have given me a chance to go on a health drive, but actually the stress and worry just sent me into a downward spiral of drinking again. And then once I had test results that reassured me I actually went into alcohol overdrive. I need a break and to stop drinking alcohol.
But there always seem to be obstacles to me starting on January 1st…
Usually, Lots Of Excuses Get In The Way
Is this the same for you? It is pretty easy to make excuses and conjure reasons not to start. Mine are many.
- for a start, my birthday is in January – so not drinking on my birthday? No thank you.
- in addition to this, people may buy me alcoholic gifts.
- there’s usually some booze left in the house after the holidays tempting me to drink it up.
And – there are lots of reasons for giving up – even for just a month…and do any of these resonate with you?
What Is Dry January?
Basically, Dry January means you drink no alcohol in January whatsoever. A no drink January means a completely dry alcohol free month, which is often much appreciated after a heavy festive season!
Whether you are sober curious and want to try one month of not drinking, want to give up alcohol completely or just want to reap some of the health benefits of Dry January and other months such as Sober October, it is worth looking at the benefits of Dry January week by week and see if it is for you.
I always say to start with finding out your why for taking up such a lifestyle change. Whats Dry January meaning for you? What would be your reasons for you starting a no alcohol dry month challenge?
My Reasons For Doing Dry January
I’ve Realised I Can’t Tolerate It
It is a strange thing, but I’ve realised that the older I get, the less I can tolerate drinking. Even just a couple of glasses of wine and I suffer side effects such as
- sleeplessness – I wake up halfway in the night – and not just to go to the loo.
- palpitations – my heart races. This is actually a common thing too, lots of women suffer alcohol induced palpitations after alcohol, even if blood pressure is not affected. I already suffer palpitations with perimenopause, so doubly bad.
- mood swings – it makes me angry, more anxious, or far more upset. Not good for my mental health.
To drink alcohol really is just not worth the hassle.
It Makes Me Want To Eat
Over the Christmas period, my drinking has probably contributed to more late night calories and snacking than anything else. I definitely suffer with alcohol munchies. So cutting it out will also mean that I am far more likely to stick to my diet plans.
I Want To Live
*Mega Dramatic Music*
And yes, I probably have been watching too many TV dramas. But as I celebrated my 50th birthday recently, I’ve realised I’d like to live a bit longer really. Becoming a mother has made me quite fully aware of my own mortality (thank you very much anxious brain!), and I do want time to see my daughter reach a good age. An NHS over 40s health check also made me see how my health really could be affected by too many units every week.
Drinking more than I should is really not the way to increase my life expectancy.
Is Dry January Good For You?
I would certainly say so. Along with all the other benefits of eating and living healthier, I have always seen a benefit to my life from having a successful dry month (or mostly dry month). I don’t sadly have any Dry January before and after pictures, but I will say that going going low or no alcohol for a month results in my
- improved sleep
- improved skin
- loss of a little weight
- increased energy
So I certainly think that the Dry January effects are worth the effort. But do you need some Dry January help? Well here are some tips.
What Are My Best Tips For Dry January For Getting Through The Entire Month?
It can be difficult, but if I can do it I certainly don’t see why you can’t. Here are my sober month tips for a Dry January.
Think About Your Why
Like my reasons above, I am sure that you too will have some great reasons why alcohol is not your friend and why it is beneficial to remove it from your life for a month. There are lots of Dry January benefits. You may want to save money, to improve your body,
Maybe consider writing your why down, and placing this reason in a prominent place to keep reminding yourself why you are staying sober.
Surround Yourself With People Who Will Help
It is useful to find relatives and friends who will support you through the month, as it may not always be plain sailing. This in itself though may not be easy if you have an active social life and are surrounded by people who love to drink.
Don’t have many people around you who are sympathetic to your struggling with dry January? Maybe consider joining a going sober Facebook group.
Understand Some Of The Dry January Withdrawal Symptoms
Stopping drinking alcohol understandably will come with some withdrawal effects. These incluse
- Dry mouth
- Trouble sleeping
- Blood pressure changes
If you do feel that you had an issue with alcohol, it may be worth discussing this with your GP or health care professional before going totally cold turkey. But in the main, you may find that most of these symptoms can be tackled by simply drinking more water and taking a standard over the counter painkiller. If a dry mouth causes you discomfort and trouble sleeping, keep a glass of water by your bedside.
One of my biggest tips for getting through giving up alcohol for January is to try and be more productive. To me, drinking on an evening whilst watching TV could be a huge waste of time. Yet if I try to be more productive with this time, by
- doing some exercise
- listing some things on my eBay
- clearing out some clutter
- being productive working on my blog
This will mean that even though I have given up the booze for a month, I will have achieved much more at the end of the month. And it’s a bonus if I get some Dry January weight loss to boot!
Remember – It Will Only Be For A Month
It doesn’t have to be forever – even if you finish the month, it may help you to get more in control. Plus if you are really struggling, there are no alcoholic beer and wine alternatives out there.
I’ve already booked my belated birthday night out with the girls for February the 3rd. Which gives me the whole of January with no more excuses.
I will let you know at the end of the month how doing dry January works for me this year. Do go onto my social media accounts for my updates.
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Have you enjoyed my dry tips? Do let me know if you too are going alcohol free for a month. Do you think you need to try too?
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