Why Dry January is actually worth it
Is it just us or has everyone, even your most pub-dwelling mates, given up alcohol for January? Dry January started in 2013 with 4,000 people. It’s come a long way since then, with around 130,000 taking part in 2021 – and that’s set to rise this month.
But giving up alcohol can be difficult for different reasons: How will I unwind? Where will I get my confidence from? What should I do when I socialise? Though it’s easy to eye roll while trawling through the potential health benefits, it’s undoubtedly worth it and the benefits far outweigh the concerns – so, give it a shot (of the non-alcoholic kind, of course)…
1. Save money
Lots of people have to stretch a month’s salary over as much as six weeks in January, and after the pricey festive season, so any way to cut back on outgoings is only a good thing. If you usually buy five glasses of wine on both Saturday and Sunday, and treat yourself to a bottle at home twice a week, that tots up pretty quickly to around £90 you could be saving per week. In a month that’s £360ish — a healthy chunk to put away for a holiday!
2. Invest in yourself
Spending January sober could give you free time for yourself (because, realistically, who has time for that?). Finally, a chance to catch up with all those projects and hobbies you’ve been meaning to start… or finish. It’s you can justify a bit of a pamper sesh, like a spa day, with all the money you saved on not drinking. January is the prime time to focus on yourself after the busy Christmas and New Year period spent doing things for and with other people.
3. Good health
As well as clearer skin, better sleep, less prone to infections, healthy weight loss and all the other physical benefits of taking a month off from alcohol, there are mental health benefits too. Alcohol is a depressant so you’ll feel far less anxious, have a much better memory, more brain energy and an improved mood in general. No blackouts mean you’re sure to remember all the good times you had with friends… and you can keep your pride intact because you won’t be doing or saying anything your sober self would cringe at!
4. More productive days
Alcohol and a good night’s sleep simply don’t mix, so a dry month will guarantee far better rest! Especially important for those who struggle to switch off when their head hits the pillow. With great sleep comes great productivity, so you’ll have the energy and motivation to make the most of every day.
5. Stronger relationships
Instead of evenings spent thinking you’re making hundreds of new best friends, only to feel so sheepish the next morning you never speak to any of them again, you’ll make more real and lasting relationships. Also, you can find genuine connections with the friends you’d usually just get drunk with. And, as for physical relationships, it turns out — shocker — sex is so much better when you’re sober.
6. Pride and dignity
Though some of your friends and family may find it hard to accept you’ve stopped drinking, and expect you (wrongly) to be more boring, it’s an admirable decision — so for everyone who’s narky about it, someone else will be impressed. Also, as you won’t do or say anything you wouldn’t usually do or say, especially stuff that could jeopardise your relationships, friendship or career, you won’t get the infamous ‘beer fear’.
7. Upped self-confidence levels
Your genuine self-confidence is likely to soar as you realise you don’t need alcohol as a social emollient, meaning you’ll be able to deal with parties and gatherings drink-free.
8. Knowing how to relax
This newfound sense of self confidence, paired with a clear mind means that over time you’re going to be a pro at relaxing without alcohol. While in the past it may have taken you a glass or two of red to unwind, you’ll find yourself relaxing in minutes with a book, a quick meditation session or even participating in one of your new hobbies.
9. No hangovers
Easily one of the greatest advantages; imagine waking up with no anxiety, no headache, no vomiting, no self-loathing… Just imagine.