Dry January: The Benefits of This Challenge (And How to Succeed at it)
As we welcome 2023, there are celebrations all around the world, and even without it, the holiday season and drinking to celebrate go hand in hand. Social drinking is common, isn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t like to catch up with friends over a drink or two? Unfortunately, over the last few years, drinking socially has become less and less common, and drinking to cope with stress has become common.
It is believed that this change is large because, during the COVID restrictions, many activities that allowed us previously to release stress were not available to us, and thus, to cope with the stress of the pandemic and everything that came with it, many of us turned to alcohol to cope.
Drinking, no matter the reason, has become an increasingly common problem, but the question is should we look at alcohol consumption as a problem? Or better yet, a psychological problem?
During the holidays, many people feel stressed. It could be family problems, coping with the death of a loved one, anxiety about the holidays, or fear of social gatherings. In any case, drinking seems to be the only thing that many of us gravitate towards.
Are you someone who needs to step aside and consider your drinking habits? Answer these questions to see if you need to consider participating in “Dry January” – a challenge led by Alcohol Change UK;
- Are you drinking to cope with stress?
- Do you feel stressed when you don’t drink?
- How many drinks do you consume per week or per day?
- Has your drinking affected your relationships – personal and professional?
If any of your answers to the above questions indicate that you drink more than “just socially”, then you might need to consider Dry January.
What’s Dry January? Let’s take a look at this challenge and how it can help you control your drinking habits.
So, What Is Dry January?
Dry January is a campaign led by Alcohol Change UK and this campaign urges people to not drink alcohol in the first month of the year. While it might not be a difficult task for moderate drinkers, people who consume alcohol regularly for whatever reason might face some issues. The hope, in the end, is to help you step back and monitor your drinking habits and see if your relationship with alcohol is healthy.
It could be quite an educational month if you ask me. You can learn to manage stress differently or learn to feel comfortable in a socially awkward situation without the support of alcohol. You might also discover that you feel better and think rationally when you abstain from drinking or consuming alcohol.
Of course, other than all these benefits, cutting back on alcohol can improve your sleep and prevent skin problems.
Now, are there truly health benefits of dry January? Why should you take part in Dry January? Here’s what some studies have to say about the health benefits of Dry January.
What Studies Suggest bout Dry January
Whether it’s your first time at the Dry January challenge or if you’re already a seasoned pro, there are benefits that you can reap. Behavioral science studies say so! A study created by psychologists, James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, was designed keeping smokers in mind but has been adapted to quitting alcohol too.
The “Stages of change model” has been used to help people approach change and work through it. Instead of looking at change as a binary process, this model suggests that there are 5 stages of change. The first stage or “Pre-contemplation” stage is where there is a lack of awareness regarding the change.
Followed by the “Contemplation” stage; where the need to change is identified but no action is taken. This action takes place in the “Preparation” stage where planning is done to cut back on alcohol.
The author of the book, “The Dry Challenge” says that when we give up alcohol (even if it’s for a month), we can visibly see the changes and benefits of it through our clearer skin, better sleep, loss of weight, and more energy. Also, when you drink alcohol, it can have a sedative-like effect on your body but the metabolism can increase alertness and disrupt sleep.
If you are at health risk, have diet concerns, or even if you’re looking to limit your daily calories, then Dry January can bring you a lot of health benefits.
Here are some tips to help you try Dry January in 2023.
Tips To Help You With Dry January
According to psychologists, abstaining from alcohol for a month can be challenging even if you’re an occasional drinker. Here are some tips to help you get started on Dry January;
1. Create an environment to accomplish your goal. Avoid buying alcohol and if you have it at home already, then give it to a friend or pour it in the drain. Keep your environment alcohol-free.
2. Once alcohol is out of sight, you can ask a friend or a loved one to do the challenge with you. This will not only give you support but also allow your loved one to better their health. You can also have a person to plan fun non-alcoholic activities with.
3. Schedule your non-alcoholic activities. This could include cooking, baking, exercising, learning a new hobby, joining a class, or whatever you can enjoy without a drink in hand. This will keep you distracted enough but also help you look forward to your Dry January or whatever month you pick.
Precautions To Heed…
It’s important to know that there’s a chance of lapse in your challenge. It could mean that even if you relapse and take a drink, it could make you feel like you’ve failed and there’s no point in completing the challenge. This kind of thought process can mean self-approved permission to keep drinking.
Instead of taking your lapse as a failure, think of it as a mistake. You can also take this as an opportunity to understand the triggers that prompted you to have a drink. You can learn to correct these triggers in the future.
If you are a regular drinker or have an alcohol drinking problem, then cutting your alcohol consumption suddenly could create more problems. It might not be safe as you might experience severe withdrawal symptoms. If that’s the case, then consult with a professional first and then decide whether you’d like to join the Dry January challenge.
I hope you found the information listed in this article useful. Any information or study mentioned in this article is taken from here.
If you have any questions or would like to add anything to address Dry January, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts in the comments section below.