My friends are doing ‘Dry January’ – what is it about and what are the benefits?

The Christmas and New Year’s celebrations may now seem like a distant memory – or if you enjoyed yourself a bit too much, then you may be struggling to remember any of it at all. If you overindulged over the Christmas period, and are now feeling the need for a detox, then January is the perfect time to kick-start a healthy new lifestyle in 2018.

‘Dry January’ is a relatively new campaign that has become increasingly popular the past few years, particularly in the United Kingdom. The campaign urges people to ditch the alcohol for the whole month of January (that’s 744 hours!) with the aim to raise awareness of the health benefits associated with not drinking and ultimately to inspire people to drink less overall.

Research has shown that a month off the booze can improve concentration, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and is of course, good for the liver. Many people who have taken part in the campaign also reported that they had better sleep, clearer skin, that they lost weight, had reduced anxiety and noticed they had more energy after just one month.

As well as all the health benefits associated with going dry in January, there’s also the benefit of all the money you’ll save from not drinking. This is particularly welcome in January, as this is often a tight month financially for many people.

If you are taking part in this campaign, it is important to remember that it is not promoting 1 month of abstinence followed by 11 months of binge drinking. See it as a platform to build on to inspire you to cut back on your overall alcohol consumption. Try to avoid having a celebratory binge on the 1st February and reverting to pre-January drinking levels, as this will undo all the progress you made over the previous month.

If you are finding it difficult to stay clear of alcohol, then there are some steps you can take to make it more bearable;

  • Choose social activities that don’t involve drinking. This may involve taking up a sport or evening class to distract you.
  • Avoid going to bars – this goes without saying, but nothing is going to make you crave alcohol more than being surrounded by people drinking it.
  • Clear all the booze out of the house, or at least hide it.

Treat yourself to a little reward with all the money you’ve saved from not drinking.

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