As the holidays wrap up, many people’s minds turn to the clean slate January offers for positive lifestyle changes. But it isn’t necessary to wait until the New Year to start making healthier choices – each day is a new opportunity to eat more vegetables, move more, declutter, or cut back on alcohol consumption. It’s been a decade since the Dry January challenge officially started in the UK, and a growing number of people have discovered the benefits of taking a break from drinking for 31 days.
During the pandemic shutdowns, drinking soared as people struggled with isolation, boredom, anxiety and depression. Months of bread-baking and overindulging in alcohol resulted in many unhealthy outcomes including weight gain, sleep problems, and loss of energy. Pausing alcohol consumption for a month has been found to help people feel better and notice any harmful drinking habits that could be considered “risky drinking”.
By avoiding alcohol, cholesterol, liver fat, and blood sugar are impacted – helping many people shed excess pounds. Women in their menopausal years may also find that skipping their evening glass or two of wine can reduce hot flashes and improve sleep. A month off the sauce can also help improve concentration and positively impact blood pressure. With all these benefits, research has found that a Dry January can lead to healthier drinking habits year-round and drinking less even six months after the challenge.
With so many people discovering the benefits of taking a break from alcohol or deciding to stop drinking entirely, the market for non-alcoholic beverages has exploded. Non-drinkers now have a variety of alcohol-free or low-alcohol beers, mocktails, wines, and sparkling beverages with low sugar to enjoy. The Try Dry app can help people meet their dry challenge goals, cut down on drinking, track sleep, energy levels, mood and craving, and access tips and resources. The app also tracks calories and money saved by cutting down or eliminating alcohol.
There is no “healthy” amount of alcohol but it is recommended that women consume no more than one drink per day and men no more than two. Experts also advise that people take several consecutive days off drinking each week. Drinking every day is not only hard on the body, but it can become a habit. Taking 1-3 days away from alcohol each week can help your body repair any liver damage and provide a sense of accomplishment – watching the scale move in the right direction can also be a great motivator to drink less. Even if your January isn’t completely dry, aiming for “damp” can still significantly improve your health and your relationship with alcohol.