Extending dry January? Six expert tips to banish booze
-Jan 17, Dr Bunmi Aboaba, The Sober Advantage, Health -
A record number of 65,000 people signed up to Dry January last year. This year the number is supposed to be even bigger! Maybe you’re well into the month and haven’t touched a single drop, maybe you’ve had good intentions but had a few glasses or indulged in a wild night out. Whatever your situation, you can still start Dry January right now.
If you’re already doing Dry January and you’ve made it this far then I salute you! If you haven’t managed to stick to it, then it isn’t too late (by a long shot!). Here are some of my best tried and tested tips for Dry January!
What do you get out of Dry January?
First off, it’s always good to know what you are going to get out of this. By joining the likes of Natalie Portman, Russell Brand and Blake Lively you are not alone! Not only are so many celebs completely sober, 21% of people in the UK are teetotal.
Here’s a few things you’ll get out of doing Dry January:
● Better night’s sleep
● More energy during the day
● No hangovers
● Lower anxiety
● More mental clarity
● Better memory
● Better sex life / libido
● More self-confidence
● Being a better friend, relative, parent or partner
● More respect
● Feeling more relaxed
● A healthier bank balance
● No more shame or guilt when you wake up in the morning
OK, so now you know what you’re in for, here are some killer tips on how to have an amazing Dry January!
1. There are so many things to do and places to see that don’t involve alcohol
I know, it’s hard to imagine a weekend without a drinking session. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Doing activities that don’t involve drink is a great way to distract yourself and even learn something new. Search for new classes in your local area – it could be anything from tap dancing to a life drawing class.
2. Make a mini bucket list
This has to be, hands down, my favourite way to keep busy and have fun. Creating a mini bucket list of achievable and fun things for January beats setting yourself boring new year’sresolutions. Write down a checklist for the month and tick them off as you do them. Some examples include getting a full body massage, take a social media detox for a week, visit a city you’ve never been to before, see a show at your local theatre and bake a pie from scratch. This means you can look back on January alone and say “Wow, look how much I did!”
3. Practice mindfulness
You’ve probably heard this advice so many times already, but practising mindfulness goes a long way towards having a successful Dry January. So, you think you feel like a drink – but do you really? Listen to your body and your mind and what it wants at that precise moment – you might end up realising you could actually do with a delicious hot chocolate or a long, luxurious bath…. or an invigorating swim! Not only will you surprise yourself, but you’ll learn more about yourself and what you truly want.
4. Measure yourself
Measuring your progress, whether you do it using pen and paper or a cool app, acts as a motivator just like getting gold stars in primary school! One of my favourite apps is Goal Meter – you get to choose a goal such as ‘drink less’ or ‘get more sleep’ and keep track of it over time. It also has a handy graph that shows your progress, while you keep yourself accountable.
5. Reward yourself!
So, you’ve measured your progress, but it’s just as important to reward yourself when you reach certain milestones. When I say milestones, I mean any milestone be it one day or 30 days. I recommend you split your milestones evenly (e.g. every three days). You could even incorporate your bucket list in with your ‘rewards’ (hey, two birds with one stone!). So if you’ve completed three days of Dry January, go and get that massage!
6. Beat the bar
If you do end up having to go to a bar for someone’s birthday or any other occasion, then it’s time to arm yourself with some tactics. Not everyone will be doing Dry January, so you’ll have to keep your wits about you – especially if there’s that one friend who always insists you drink. Some of my favourite one liners to use if someone asks you why you’re not drinking include:
● I’m on antibiotics
● I’ve just had a drink
● I think I’ve got a cold coming on
● I’ve got to be up early in the morning
● Or simply “I’m doing Dry January”
If these don’t work and the person is still insisting that you have a drink, you may have to dig a bit deeper within yourself and ask whether this person is a real friend.
As for drink, there are plenty of non-alcoholic cocktails to choose from. The beauty of this is most bars will have all the ingredients for nearly all ‘mocktails’ …and they’re half the price! You might end up discovering your new favourite drink.
Go get ‘em and have a happy Dry January!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Bunmi Aboaba a Sobriety Companion and Coach, and founder of The Sober Advantage. Bunmi helps people battling a variety of addictions to get control of their lives and beat their addiction – for good. Bunmi uses a variety of techniques to help her clients, all of which she has used herself to help her gain her sobriety and remain sober for 10 years. See: The Sober Advantage and here.
Feeling fired up? Here’s why Dry January is good for your heart, these are the medical facts about drinking alcohol over forty and this is why wine ‘o’ clock could be a threat to your health. And, if you’re battling the January blues – here’s some ways that might help to lift the gloom.