After the holidays, some people are staying sober during “Dry January” and Dr. Jody Ryan with WellPower says that’s a great way to start the new year.
For decades, cutting back on alcohol has been a common New Year’s resolution. Dry January is a newer trend that started as a public health challenge in the UK in 2013 – but it has gained a widespread following. In fact, 35% of U.S. adults reported taking part in Dry January in 2022.
January marks a fresh start and it comes on the heels of the holidays when Americans see a 100% increase in their alcoholic drinking habits. Additionally, American and Coloradans drank more over the pandemic – and now many of us are rethinking our relationship with alcohol.
There are so many benefits to being mindful of our substance intake, no matter when you do it.
According to Dr. Ryan, studies show that cutting out alcohol for even a month can make a noticeable difference in your health. Regular drinkers who abstained from alcohol for 30 days slept better, had more energy, and lost weight. They also lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduced cancer-related proteins in their blood. Other benefits are saving money and feeling more “in control” of your drinking after the challenge.
What are some tips you recommend to help people cut back or eliminate drinking?
Start by evaluating: What are your goals? Is it to:
- Improve your overall health
- Save money and weight loss
- Sleep better and have more energry
- Avoid black-outs
To improve your health overall: reduce consumption:
- Try no drinking days and avoid hard drinking days
- If you do not want to stop, try to drink mindfully
- Start with having one less drink
- Moving towards the uncomfortable is how we break the habits. Remember, human brains don’t like change.
Explore the world of non-alcoholic cocktails, or “mocktails” as they’re commonly known.
- Number of drinks or number of drinking nights over the weekend
- Have non-alcoholic options between drinks
- Practice saying no
Be mindful of triggers:
- Start a new habit of walking after work
- Write down plan, and revisit every week
- Set alerts on your phone for difficult times during the day
- Set your password at work to be ‘drinklessin2023’
- Share your plan with others