Your one-stop guide to what it is, why participate and how to join and get the support you may need!
What is Dry January?
Dry January is essentially when people have a break from consuming alcohol and go alcohol-free for the whole month of January.
Dry January was first introduced in 2013 by the charity Alcohol Concern, who focused on helping individuals consume alcohol in healthier ways, instead of demolishing alcohol consumption altogether.
A lot of people complete Dry January as a challenge, and often carry it out to fundraise money for Charity!
Why participate in Dry January?
We all know that during the Christmas festive season, we consume perhaps more food and alcohol than we usually do. That glass of bubbly, that may or may not have turned into a bottle ;) Dry January is a fantastic way to help your body get back into the normal swing of things and give it a reset.
Every hour, one person in the UK dies as a result of alcohol and alcohol-related illnesses costs the NHS £3.5 Billion a year. By participating in Dry January, it will help you to become more aware of your alcohol consumption and the negative effects it can have on the body if consumed too much, to help you develop a more mindful, healthy relationship with alcohol.
Alcohol Change UK reports several visible benefits for participating in Dry January;
- Brighter, healthier-looking skin (alcohol can cause dehydration, causing the skin to look dry and dull)
- Better digestion
- Better sleep (70% reported a better quality of sleep)
- Saving money
- Potential weight loss (if consuming fewer calories through cutting out alcohol, assuming these calories aren’t replaced)
Recent research carried out by BMJ open (2018) have found the following invisible health benefits from short term alcohol abstinence;
- Lowered Diabetes Risk (Alcohol can contain lots of calories and sugar!)
- Lowered Blood Pressure
- Lowered Cholesterol
Better longer-term relationship with alcohol!!! (70% of those who took part with Alcohol Change UK were found to be consuming alcohol more healthily after 6 months of completing the challenge!)
How to get involved
Alcohol Change UK, the former merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK is the leading UK charity for alcohol. They offer a lot of support to help people through this challenge. Some of the ways they offer support is below:
- The Try App (your booze-free friend to help you along the way)
- Coaching emails (tips, support and stories of previous Dry January participants)
- Facebook groups
- Social Media (Instagram, Facebook)
To access any of this support follow: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january/sign-up-for-dry-january
A lot of people complete Dry January without the professional support of others and may just rely on family members or friends to support them and encourage them to participate and not give up if they start struggling.
Participate for Charity?
If you’re considering to take part and raise money for charity, then start now...
Create your fundraising page here: https://dry-jan-21.blackbaud-sites.com/. Then, promote it on your socials, getting as many people as possible to donate! Well done if you do decide to do this for charity! – what an incredibly inspiring person you are!
Motivation along the way
- Treat yourself (Work out what you have saved by not buying the alcohol for that month and then treat yourself to that takeaway or that new dress you were eyeing up ;) )
- Make Mocktails! (Mocktails (cocktails without containing alcohol) can be a fantastic way to still enjoy the taste of nice, refreshing drinks, just without the alcohol. Why not do this with your flatmates and have a competition for the best tasting mocktail? Here are some recipes to get you started!
- Make plans! (Plan your days to keep yourself busy. If you’re not drinking you will have those evenings and early mornings you may not have had before… why not go for winter walks? Go for a coffee in town and a walk around? Meditate? Watch that new series you’ve wanted to start on Netflix?
Whatever way you consider participating in Dry January, remember, this is a challenge, but one you can be very proud of!
Remember, go promote it through the rooftops – let’s get more and more people to do the same!
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