Dry January: Alcohol, it’s not you…it’s me!

Categories: Lifestyle.

Taking a break from alcohol doesn’t have to mean punishment for the indulgence of the December holidays, in fact it can be a perfect time to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol and score great health benefits to boot. In comes Dry January, which is literally a month of not having any alcoholic beverages.

That means no after-work wine, no beer with the buddies at the braai, no cocktails with the girls. Sounds a bit sombre doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. With the new trend of non-alcoholic beverages on the rise you won’t stick out like a party-pooper when ordering a mocktail at the bar.

The beginnings of Dry January

“Ditch the hangover, reduce the waistline and save some serious money by giving up alcohol for 31 days” is a phrase coined by Alcohol Change UK, a British charity that actually founded Dry January in 2012.

Depending on how much you drink, going dry might leave you feeling a bit anxious. On average, normal consumption is about a glass of wine a day with no more than seven glasses in a week. Going beyond that could mean you unleash a swathe of health risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and liver disease over time.

Recent Research shows that alcohol consumption has been on the rise with the recent coronavirus pandemic, with up to 43% more adults drinking alcohol more frequently than before the pandemic. “2020 was certainly a year of stress for nearly everyone and many folks have increased their alcohol consumption,” added Dr. James C. Garbutt, a psychiatry professor at the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina.

The benefits of Dry January

So if you’re planning on ghosting alcohol for a month here’s a few health benefits you stand to reap:

Brighter skin. Firstly your skin will glow with a visibly brighter appearance – because alcohol is a diuretic, you lose a lot of water in your urine leaving your skin lustreless and dull. Ghosting booze means more water retention and overall hydration. Win!

Better mood. Your mood will get a boost – just like a breakup with a toxic ex, ditching the booze for a bit will help you think clearer, help you to make more sound decisions and you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’re happy, healthy and don’t have a babalaas to deal with the next day.

Save money. You’ll save so much money – no more mimosas, which means more money in your pocket. It also means you won’t want to buy a garage pie after a night of drinking and that automatically means less calories…there’s a science to this.

Immune booster. You’ll have a stronger immune system – give your body less battles to fight, it’s already dealing with the corona pandemic, so help it along by giving it an extra strong boost. Binge drinking alcohol decreases your disease-fighting immune cells. Researchers say you aren’t likely to be riddled with diseases just because you drink, but a super healthy alert immune system in these times is ultimate self-love.

Better organ function. Generally your liver and heart will thank you for the break. After a month of no alcohol your tolerance will be much lower, resulting in you getting a buzz for less.

Long-term goals

It’s possible that after the 31 days you’ll reconsider whether you really need alcohol in your life at all or if you need it as regularly as you previously used to. According to Alcohol Change UK at least 75% of people who attempted Dry January drank far less than they used to after completing the challenge.

So whether you give Dry a try or attempt a Damp January (sneaking in a glass or two) or go right back to your usual drinking habits, revisiting your relationship with alcohol should be a healthy conscious choice for your overall good.

Sources:

Dry January | Alcohol Change UK
OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)