Around the globe, in the spirit of their New Year’s Resolutions to be healthier, people participate in ‘Dry January’. This is when people willingly stay sober for an entire month starting January 1st. For many people, the benefits of a sober lifestyle are quickly realized during Dry January, and transition into a more sober lifestyle overall. Some people continue staying sober for many more months, or they simply develop a healthier relationship with alcohol after successfully completing Dry January.
The end of the year comes with a lot of self-reflection. Whether you’re considering Dry January because you’ve realized you have a somewhat unhealthy relationship with alcohol, or you simply want to reap the health benefits of drinking zero booze, a Dry January is a wonderful goal to have.
Abstaining from alcohol for an entire month is certainly something to be proud of. For some people, successfully staying sober for that symbolic first month of the year represents their sincere intention to make positive changes in 2022.
Benefits of a Dry January
A sober January means you’ll be more likely to focus on achieving your list of New Year’s Resolutions. After all, a clear head and the absence of hangovers will allow you to be more productive and better focused on your goals.
There are many health benefits of abstaining from alcohol. These benefits of a sober lifestyle include healthier relationships, more energy, better sleep, clearer skin, higher productivity and improved mood.
Tips for Staying Sober in January
We’ve reviewed some of the many benefits of abstaining from alcohol and cutting it out of your diet. You might be very keen on the idea of a Dry January, but wondering how to accomplish this feat. Below are some tips for successfully achieving a Dry January:
1. Declare Your Intentions
The first and perhaps most important tip for successfully achieving a Dry January is to make your intentions known. Be sure to tell your friends and family that you’ve not only decided you’re doing Dry January, but you’re also very serious about your decision. Since you don’t want anyone to tempt you, manipulate you, or disrespect your decision, you’ll have to make it clear that you’re serious about this boundary being respected.
Once your loved ones realize that this sober challenge means something to you, they’ll be supportive. Great friends will come up with fun sober activities for you to do together and they might even do sober in January with you, which brings us to our next tip:
2. Find an Accountability Buddy
Just like accountability buddies can help us exercise more often, an accountability buddy for Dry January works wonders as well. Having an accountability buddy during Dry January means that you have a friend or family member who also wants to have a sober January, and you motivate each other and keep each other accountable.
The two of you can also do sober activities together, such as a scenic winter hike or a cooking party.
3. Go For a Natural High
Many natural things can substitute for that ‘high’ alcohol gives you, and lots of these natural substitutions are very healthy for you.
Exercise, for example, releases endorphins and is a natural high that will help you feel great and not crave any booze. Exercise is an incredible mood-booster that leaves you feeling healthy and happy – so all you’ll crave afterwards is a healthy dinner, not a heavy beer.
Aside from endorphins, another natural ‘happy hormone’ is oxytocin. That’s why being intimate or cuddling someone is another natural high that reduces stress and improves mood. When you get a healthy dose of oxytocin more often, you won’t be craving alcohol.
You can get oxytocin from cuddling a pet or getting a massage as well.
4. Spend Time with Supportive People
It’s safe to say that you should be trying to avoid anyone who pushes you to drink with them. Many people who are not participating in Dry January don’t want to drink alone, and they’ll sometimes try to push you or influence you to drink with them. Avoid these people who don’t respect your boundaries, and instead find people who are supportive of your sober January.
5. Avoid People or Situations That are Triggering
If you’ve ever been known to reach for a glass of wine when you’re emotionally charged, anxious or triggered, it’s important to make a list of people, emotions or situations that trigger you. Part of staying sober is about avoiding what makes you want to drink. Some people have a stronger urge than others to drink when they’re feeling emotionally charged. If you’re one of these people, it’s important to come up with a plan to avoid these triggers as best you can.
6. Keep Yourself Busy and Mentally Fulfilled with a Passion Project
A passion project is a side project you start at home that is directly related to whatever it is that you’re passionate about in life. Here are some examples of passion projects, but it all depends on your personal interests.
Someone passionate about home décor might paint or refurbish furniture at home, while someone passionate about writing might start a blog.
7. Set Up Your Home Environment to Reflect Your Goals
If your goal is to stay sober, your home might need a bit of a revamp. Not only will you want to remove all alcohol from your house, but you’ll also want to stock your fridge with non-alcoholic beverages you enjoy. It’s fun to open the fridge and see a fun flavour of sparkling water, your favourite brand of bottled smoothies, or some other drink that is non-alcoholic yet fun to drink.
Other ways to revamp your home to reflect your Dry January goals include setting up some mood-boosting lighting such as salt lamps and candles and setting up some stress-reducing essential oil diffusers as well. Your home is your sober yet calming sanctuary.
A Healthier Body and Mind
If you want to find out some other ideas for a healthier body and mind, take a CircleDNA test and find out what types of lifestyle changes suit you best, based on your DNA. Taking care of yourself is the whole point of New Year’s Resolutions, and learning more about yourself through a DNA test is a great way to start off.