Have you jumped on the Dry January bandwagon yet? If you are still on the fence you might change your mind once you see all the benefits. It isn’t news that drinking less has health benefits. Check out these 10 benefits to going dry for January.
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How I Decided to Participate in Dry January
I’ve given up alcohol for the month of January.
This is the second time I’ve participated in Dry January.
Last year I didn’t do it just for Dry January, but as part of the Whole30 diet.
I have to admit that not drinking on the Whole30 diet was a big part of the appeal. Truth be told, I needed a break from alcohol for a bit.
I didn’t just drink too much during the holidays, I drank too much during all of 2019. Life was stressful! I was a caretaker to my mom going through cancer, my son was hospitalized with a health problem, my mom died, I became the guardian for my littler brother, and a few months later we revisited our relationship and he moved in with one of my littler sisters. It’s been a whirlwind of a year and I’m not afraid to admit that I used alcohol as a coping mechanism because my mind couldn’t handle everything that was going on in my life.
Then 2020 became, well, 2020. And even though I started the year strong, the pandemic life had me drinking too much to cope with life again.
I actually enjoy life sober
I enjoyed being alcohol free for each of my pregnancies and figured it I could do it for 9 months, 3 times, then I could surely eat healthy and abstain from alcohol for 3o days.
I thought not drinking was going to be the hardest part of Whole30 but with so many people doing Dry January, it feels pretty easy to give up drinking for a month. There is something about the solidarity of millions of people taking a break from alcohol at the same time.
Just search #DryJanuary or #Dryanuary on Twitter and Instagram for an instant support group of strangers.
Looking for more New Year’s resolutions that can save you money? Read this!
What is Dry January and how did it become so popular?
Dry January is a public heath campaign that started in the United Kingdom in 2013. That first year 4,300 people pledged not to drink for a month. Fast forward to 2017 when popularity spread to the US and more than 5 million people took the pledge.
While the official name is relatively new, the idea isn’t. People have been doing this for years to recover from excess drinking over the holidays. It dates as far back as 1942 when Finish people practiced Sober January as part of the war effort.
You can read the entire history of Dry January in the UK here.
What are the benefits of Dry January?
Wow! There are so many benefits to taking a break from alcohol. Most notably, your health will improve. With someone who just lost a mom and watched a child overcome an illness, I’m all about improving my heath.
If you’re an already pretty healthy person, you may wonder how Dry January can benefit you. That’s why I put together this list of 10 reasons to jump on the Dry January bandwagon. It’s not too late to start or think about for next year.
10 Reasons to Give Dry January a Try
- You save money! That is always a win in my book.
- You get a chance to reexamine your relationship with alcohol. This is a great time to realize that you are a fun person even if you don’t have a drink.
- You might lose weight (my wedding band is already loose after 4 days).
- You sleep better when you aren’t drinking. So much better.
- You have more energy. Seriously, we all know that alcohol is a depressant. It isn’t exactly an energy drink either.
- Skin improves. I’m really banking on this one. My skin looked so good during all 3 of my pregnancies. Was it the lack of alcohol? Change in hormones? Time to find out!
- Productivity increases. See #5 and #8. More energy and no hangovers is the perfect combination for productivity.
- No hangover. Repeat, no hangover. That in itself is a huge reason to abstain for a month.
- You have a chance to try new things because you have extra time where you would have been drinking.
- You’ll probably eat better. Hello, Whole30. When you feel good it’s easier to make healthy food decisions.
Abstaining from alcohol may be a primal instinct
Here’s something pretty interesting: humans are wired to go through periods of fasting.
Every major religion has some aspect of self-denial, or fasting. For example, Christians practice fasting during Lent where we abstain from certain luxuries during the 40 days of Lent.
With an increasingly non-secular society, it’s not surprising that humans gravitate towards fasting as a group. There is power in numbers and it feels so much better to fast with a group as opposed to giving up alcohol by yourself.
So if you don’t feel like giving up alcohol in January, remember that Lent is just around the corner. The benefits of giving up alcohol for a month are the same no matter when you decide to do it!
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