Dry January has been popular is recent years and has been gaining in popularity each year. Dry January is when you don’t drink alcohol for the whole month of January. The movement originated in the UK in 2012. The Dry January campaign was born out of the Alcohol Change UK. The Alcohol Change UK thought this was a great opportunity to spark discussion about what it is like to take a month break from alcohol after the holidays. Discussions started in the UK about the potential long-term benefits from taking a break from booze.
Each year the movement gained momentum and more people got on board. Bars decided to order non-alcoholic beers and an app was started to help members track their progress. In 2018, Alcohol Change UK reports over four million people took part in the campaign. Dry January has gained traction in the United States as well. Vloggers and Instagram influencers have taken part in the movement.
5 Benefits of Dry January
Improved sleep quality
Alcohol, even small amounts, interferes with sleep quality. Alcohol can help you fall asleep but it interrupts the deep restorative sleep we need to help us feel rested. Over time, interrupted sleep problems can lead to an increased risk of obesity, heart attacks, and mental health problems.
Loose some weight
A top New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Abstaining from alcohol for a month might be the jolt that your body needs to shed those additional pounds. Studies show that taking even a month break from alcohol in those who are pretty average drinkers can experience alterations in their liver far, cholesterol, and blood sugar. There is no product on the market that would have close to the positive results on your health this quickly! You will also be providing your body with the nutrients it needs to run in tip top shape. Alcohol has no nutritional value and does not contribute to your daily nutritional needs.
Reduction in unwanted drinking experiences
It is inevitably that you have consumed more alcohol in one sitting than originally planned or perhaps you regret some decisions you’ve made while drinking. (Drunk texting anyone?) Alcohol Change UK hired an expert to conduct a survey of individuals taking part in Dry January. This expert, Dr. Visser, found that six months after the campaign had finished seven out of ten people continued to drink less riskily than before. For those that were drinking at harmful levels, they saw almost quarter of them were now in the low risk drinking category.
Nothing kills energy levels like alcohol use. Alcohol is a depressant which means that is slows your respiratory rate and decrease inhibitions. Of course, being hungover from consuming too much alcohol can impact your entire day. However, even just a couple of drinks will also contribute to a lower energy level. Studies has shown that consuming a moderate about of alcohol (average 2 drinks for woman and 3 drinks for men), decreases the amount of productive tasks an individual takes part in the following day.
Increased mental clarity
Alcohol is like sludge to the brain. It slows down our ability to problem solve and effectively prioritize tasks. This is especially important for people who already struggle with problem solving and task prioritizing, like those with ADHD, anxiety disorders, or learning disorders.
Why should I do it?
Dry January allows you to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol. Taking a time out from drinking helps you determine- is this where you want to be in your life right now? Is alcohol contributing to your health goals? Your financial goals? Are you taking part in activities that are not alcohol related? Allow this time to be a reset button. It can be a wonderful to set you on a new positive trajectory for the whole year. Enjoy!
For some, you may find that not drinking is a much larger challenge that originally anticipated. That’s okay. It’s not until we take a step back from drinking that we realize how big the role of alcohol has become in our lives. Reach out and let us help you. Our therapists are trained in helping you accomplish your goals- whether that’s to cut down or abstain from alcohol. We’re here to support you. Not ready for counseling yet? Sign up for our series for tips sent directly to your inbox.