4 Tips For Dry January That'll Help You Make The Most Of The Month, According To Experts
Dry January, a month without alcohol, might be one of those things you've always been interested in trying but have yet to do. So could this year be the year? It could, y'all! But no one said it was easy to put the champagne glass down, friends, which is why gathering some tips for dry January before you begin is a great way to plan for success.
I mean, think about it: Going straight from a holiday season filled with alcoholic indulgences galore to, you know, Shirley Temples, might prove to be a bit of a challenge. But there are a whole host of reasons why taking a break from booze can be a good idea, whether you're sober-curious in general and want to see what it feels like, or you just want to take a breather from imbibing so you can reliably wake up earlier without getting a headache.
Whichever way you slice it, choosing a dry January is a resolution that can have wonderful benefits for your health — benefits that might even extend well into the new year. Who knows what you could learn about yourself when you spend a little time keeping it real and sober with a seltzer sans vodka?
Here are some suggestions for how to do dry January with intention and purpose, and how to actually enjoy it.
Make sure you know why you want to do dry January
One of the most fundamental aspects of achieving any goal is knowing why you want to achieve it, right? "Spend some time thinking about why you're taking on dry January in the first place," Dr. Indra Cidambi, a double-board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in addiction medicine, tells Elite Daily in an email. "Is it to reset your body and approach the new year with a clear and healthy mindset? Or do you actually have concerns there may be a problem and need to turn to professionals for some additional support?"
Knowing what prompted this change will help you "maintain and maximize" whatever it is you hope to gain from the experience, says Dr. Cidambi.
Get at least one person to do it with you
It's true of exercise, it's true of a book club, and it's true of dry January, says Dr. Cidambi: It's easier with friends. "Often healthy life changes are easier, and more fun, when you do them with others," she explains. "Get a group of friends together, or enlist the help of your partner or extended family. Together you can swap in healthy activities like yoga or cooking a nutritious meal where before you might have gone to happy hour."
And trust, if you avoid isolating yourself, Dr. Cidambi says, you'll be happier and significantly less likely to just say "screw it" and grab a beer.
Write down how you're feeling about this change in your lifestyle
For many people, drinking can help make certain social situations seem easier to handle, or it can even take the edge off after a bad day. While dry January might feel really great overall, it's also possible that you'll experience a few moments of frustration, sadness, or anxiety throughout the month as your body adjusts to the change. A journal, Dr. Cidambi suggests, could be a great tool to help you get in touch with how you're coping with these changes, as well as how to navigate upcoming, potentially tricky social situations,
"Journaling is an incredibly useful tool for people to understand their habits and the cycle that drugs and alcohol play in their lives," she explains. "One of the most effective ways to journal is when a person is able to identify and address the key issues bothering them that day before going to bed. This helps the individual be on top of the stressors they face on a daily basis."
Identifying how you cope without things like alcohol may help you create new, healthier, patterns for resolving stressful or anxiety-provoking situations in the future, Dr. Cidambi adds.
Get creative with your social calendar
The million-dollar question of dry January is, what are you going to do on the weekend without booze?
"Doing a dry month can be a great way to be more intentional about what you put in your body," lifestyle and mindfulness coach Wade Brill tells Elite Daily. "Without drinking, people typically notice how little water they drink, how much better they sleep at night, and how much more energy they have."
But if you're someone who typically centers your weekend plans around drinking, or at least around being somewhere like a bar, Brill says it's definitely a good idea to be intentional about keeping your calendar filled with different, creative activities. She suggests things like art classes, moonlit walks, theme dinners, spa dates, or trying something new like rock-climbing or learning a foreign language.