Dry January, for some an energising way to kick off the new year, for others annual penance for Christmas over indulgence. Whatever your motivation, stopping drinking alcohol for a whole month might be tougher than expected, we’ve put together some tips inspired by the people we work with to help you get through the next 30 days.
Write down what you think the benefits will be – Ask yourself what you would like to achieve from a month of no alcohol. How might you feel at the end of January? What impact will time without booze have on your fitness, relationships, energy, work, your bank balance? Write them down and hang on to the list, this will be a useful to refer to when you might need a bit of encouragement. If you start to notice new positives as the weeks go by, add them to the list.
Tell people you are doing Dry January – be proud of what your doing: tell friends and family, post on your social media, get a t-shirt if you want. The more people you have conversations with about Dry January the less likely you’ll be tempted to pack it in and pretend you never signed yourself up in the first place.
Get activities in the diary – alright, all of our social calendars are not exactly packed out at the moment but having something in the diary for tomorrow is a great way of making the decision to not drink tonight. Get out early and have a walk before work (arrange to meet go with someone else if you can), arrange a phone call with a friend, kickstart your New Years fitness routine, spend some time doing something for you. Make a commitment, put them in your calendar, set a start time and try and stick to it.
Be proactive in doing new things – So your not going to chill out on the sofa with a beer and try to complete Netflix, then what…? Removing the alcohol might mean you find yourself feeling a bit restless, frustrated or bored. This is an opportunity to try something new or pick up another activity you usually find you don’t have time for. Not only a great way to shift your attention away from alcohol but it also feels amazing to start to tick things off your to-do list. Be proactive, you might need to give yourself a bit of a nudge to change routines but it will get easier as times goes by.
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Plan things to look forward to – A round the world trip might not be so easy to organise at the moment, but there’s nothing stopping you using some of your time in Dry January to plan your next adventure. Spend time making a list of places you like to visit, near or far, events, festivals, countries, museums, theatres, whatever! Look into how much it would cost to go when you are able to and then put aside all the money you are not spending on alcohol. Keep a record of who much you’re saving and how far it goes towards your next trip.
Be prepared to say no – Family and friends can feel like they’re helping us join in the fun by pushing a glass under our nose so practising different ways to turn down a drink can be really useful, especially for our nearest and dearest. For most people in our lives, partners, friends on (another) Zoom social or colleagues on Teams after the last meeting on Friday wont care if you’re drinking or not. For the one insistent person who won’t take the hint, be prepared to say no. You don’t need excuses, it’s your choice if you drink or not.
Don’t beat yourself up – Dry January isn’t a pass/fail exercise, it’s a chance for you give your body a rest, reap some of the benefits and have some space to reflect on your relationship with alcohol. If you do end up having a drink, don’t beat yourself up, you’ll fell so much more positive if you decide to keep going after a bit of a slip rather than completely throwing in the towel.
Look forward – Dry January can be the perfect way to start the year making some healthier choices, but if its followed by On-the-lash February you perhaps wont see all the benefits. Hey, your body will thank you for any break you can give it from alcohol but for a real change in wellbeing think beyond January. That’s not to say you’ll never drink again but reflect on your experiences of Dry January, are there any changes you could make? Perhaps drinking during the week wasn’t as helpful a way to de-stress as you previously thought or you may find you sleep better without a glass of wine.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Not drinking can be a bigger change than some people realise and often alcohol can be having more of an influence on our lives than we’d like to think. If you’re really struggling during Dry January don’t be afraid to spend some time looking at what other support is available. Worrying or feeling frustrated is normal but speaking to someone will help you see you are not unusual and it’s never too late to make changes.
If you are worried about the impact alcohol is having on your life, call us and speak to a member of our team. Get in touch
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