Are you considering giving up alcohol even temporarily? A Dry January (or Sober October) might be just what you need. Cut back on drinking, live healthier and find balance in your relationship with alcohol. Keep reading for ten Dry January tips!
Enjoy all the Mocktails
Just because you’re not drinking an Old Fashioned doesn’t mean you can’t have something fun and bubbly. A lot of restaurants and bars offer some non-alcohol drinks or will make one upon request.
Some of my favorite non-alcoholic drinks include:
Ginger Beer (make sure it’s non-alcoholic)
Soda water with extra lime
Sprite (or seltzer) + a few dashes bitters + splash of lime juice (Some bitters contain a minute amount of alcohol, but for all intents and purposes this drink is alcohol free)
Eat all the Good Stuff
Fuel your body with fresh vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. Once you stop drinking your body might experience some effects so having a healthy base diet can balance out any mood swings. Plus, if you’re skipping alcohol and eating healthy you’re going to feel amazing which will make the whole Dry January even easier.
Find Your Support System
Tell your significant other, friends and/or family about your choice to try out Dry January. Some of them might even join you in the challenge. And if not, you can still rely on them as a support system during this month. It always helps to have someone in your corner cheering you on.
Find Other Non-Bar Fun Activities
In my twenties, socializing was all about going to bars. I’m glad that’s changed but it is often the go-to during the weekends (especially during the winter months) and pops up during the week with work happy hours. It’s honestly a little bit crazy how much our lives can center around alcohol. I find that I can still go out to bars and breweries and feel comfortable not drinking. However, I do tend to come home earlier.
Additionally, I try to fill my social calendar with other dates and activities. Try a new workout class on weekend mornings that you definitely won’t want to be hungover for, spend time on a hobby, go to the farmers market, etc. During the evening you can go to concerts, movies, trivia nights, classes (cooking, painting, etc.) or simply stay in. Invite friends over for dinner parties, game nights, etc. I mean, how fun would it be to have a spa night with your friends like you did during childhood sleepovers?
Dry January Tip #5: Indulge in Self-Care
What better time to pamper yourself than during Dry January? Indulge in self-care. Get a massage or facial to treat yourself. Schedule all of your annual doctor appointments. Do some journaling, etc.
Prepare Yourself for “Well-Meaning” Questions
I like to think that people mean well when they ask why someone isn’t drinking alcohol, but sometimes their intentions can certainly come across in a negative way. Regardless, prepare for questions and how you plan to answer (if you want). I personally like to answer with “I just don’t want a drink right now. Thanks.” and that usually stops anyone from pressuring or pestering with further questions.
During January it’s also easy to say you’re following a diet that doesn’t allow alcohol or simply that you’re doing Dry January. Sometimes I’ll just have a drink that could be alcohol (but isn’t) and no one even asks. Think through your usual social situations and how you’ll feel comfortable responding before you’re in that situation.
I do have some friends who like to pressure me when I’m not drinking. I just walk away from those conversations. If someone wants to be rude about it then they’re not really a friend.
Take Some Time to Reflect
What’s your reason for participating in Dry January? Are you hoping it helps with weight loss or health overall? Do you think you’ve been over-imbibing? Are you concerned you might have a problem controlling your drinking? If you believe it’s something serious, contact a mental health professional for guidance. This Dry January tip is all about giving some thought to your relationship with alcohol and how you might want to continue skipping it or find ways to enjoy it that are healthy for you.
Plan a Reward
Most likely you can save some money during Dry January. Keep track of your savings and pan on rewarding yourself at the end of the month. You could use the money towards a full spa day, something you’ve had your eye on or even put the funds towards a vacation.
You Can Also Cut Back vs. Cutting Completely
If Dry January seems too overwhelming or you’re someone who needs to ease into things, then try cutting back on alcohol consumption vs. cutting it out from your diet completely.
Dry January Tip #10: Reintroduce Alcohol Mindfully
Your tolerance will be lower once you go without alcohol for an entire month. You’ll want to be careful with your intake when you do have your first drink again. And don’t be afraid to blend your Dry January habits with the rest of your year. Just because you’re not doing Dry January or Sober October doesn’t mean you can’t have a mocktail because that’s what you want.
Pin the image below to save these tips for your Dry January, Sober October or anytime you want to cut back on drinking.