OK, we get it. December was full of pre-Christmas drinks, then the big day itself, then New Year. A month of stopping drinking could only do you the world of good, right? Right. First of all, time off drinking will make you feel good about yourself (aka smug) and give your liver a bit of much-needed R and R. Second, January is a boring month with nothing much going on anyway, so you’re not exactly missing out on much. Third, just think of all the calories and money saved come February. Win, win, win.
Understand why you’re doing it
There are bona fine reasons why giving up the sauce is better for you. According to the celebrity rehab centre The Priory, there are numerous health benefits to reducing your drinking. You’ll have better sleep, be more hydrated and your blood pressure will decrease. You’ll also reduce your risk of strokes, heart disease and hypertensive disease. Another lovely side effect of no booze is that your skin will start to look amazing. Result!
Unless you’re 20 or a superhero, feeling hungover of a Saturday or Sunday morning is not pretty. And let’s face it - as time goes on, these are getting worse. No one can dispute the fact that being able to get up and do stuff on the weekend is a major benefit of being off the booze. So, January could be the time to tackle that DIY project you’ve been meaning to, join that early morning yoga class you’ve always wanted to, even train for a 10k. And remind yourself that you would never be doing this if you'd gone to the pub last night.
You might want to limit your exposure to pubs and bars, but be realistic. Going completely off-grid is unsustainable and will ultimately leave you feeling frustrated. We all need a bit of human interaction, so why not meet friends for non-threatening things like going for a coffee, a trip to the theatre or, if you can stand it, going for a walk. Suggest brunch instead of dinner (no mimosas though). And if you can’t manage another bloody country walk, then remember - it’s only for a month.
Get some good non-alcoholic drinks
Don’t approach the month thinking that you’ll only be drinking tap water. One - it’s very boring and two - no one like a martyr. Get some non-alcoholic alternatives for drinking at home - BLOOM has a great raspberry mixer that will fool even the most jaded of gin drinkers. Or go for a mocktail, you can never go wrong with NAgroni (non-alcoholic Negroni) or a tea and tonic (yes, it’s a real thing).
Go dry for charityWhy not make your dry January work for you. The dryathalon trend was initially a brainchild of not one but two charity campaigns – Cancer Research UK’s Dryathalon and Alcohol Concern’s Dry January, in a bid to get the UK's drinking down. Going dry for charity means you give something back - either by donating the money you’ve saved on giving up the booze, or by getting yourself sponsored. Knowing that you’re doing this for the greater good will keep you going when and if the going gets tough.
Don’t go it aloneWhy not incite your colleagues to try an alcohol-free January in your workplace? No drinks after work, no Friday lunch pub trip, no bubbly if it’s someone’s birthday (the cake can stay though - you can only abstain from one thing at a time). If you all agree to do it together, then it’ll be much easier to make it through the 31 days. Look for others that are doing dry January in your community and create non alcohol-related connections. And why not ask your partner to do it too - the theory is that if you’re both in it together you’ll double your chances of getting to February as neither one of you will want to bring the other one down. In theory.
We all know that alcohol is packed full of empty calories and when you’re out for a night on the lash, you all too often end up powering into a kebab at 2 am. Chances are you’ll stay be staying in a bit more at home during your dry January session, so why not learn to cook wholesome, nutritious meals. Not only is this a genuine skill that will benefit both you and your family for lifetimes to come, but you’ll notice the extra pounds dropping off too. Not a bad gain for minimal effort.
Sort out your diet
We’ve taken a light-hearted approach to dry January and hope to see you back with us and enjoying our lovely gins and Irish whiskeys in sensible moderation come the 1st of February.