By Tugend Demir
Are you thinking of doing Dry January? Need to give the liver a rest? Here are some top tips.
Dry January is the perfect way for your body and wallet to recover from an indulgent Christmas, not to mention New Year celebrations.
By giving up your old friend alcohol for a mere 31 days, you will save a few quid, lose a few pounds, and feel more energised and refreshed in the process. But for some people that’s not as easy as it sounds. January has five whole booze free weekends to get through.
Here are 10 top tips for dry January – how to get through the month.
- Don’t hibernate – well OK during a pandemic!!
The worst thing you can possibly do is to hole yourself up in your house and attempt to hibernate. Though you may not have much choice during a pandemic! Make it your mission to get up and make the most of your hangover free weekends and mornings. Plan activities you would never normally get round to at times you would never usually be up. You can always do more exercise first thing in the morning!
- Ditch cocktails for detoxing mocktails
Don’t settle for plain old tap water when you drink. Drinking mocktails is a great way to get through dry January, as you are still treating yourself to a luxurious drink, minus the calories and headache the next morning. Experiment with recipes and ingredients at home. Where I work, at The Arch London we offer a ‘Virgin Vera’ mocktail made with detoxing Aloe Vera water, muddled Fresh Lime, Raspberries and fresh Guava Juice.
- Know your numbers
Read it and weep. A Pina Colada cocktail with rum has 644 calories. That’s more than a Big Mac burger. A pint of larger has 180 calories – more than a small slice of chocolate cake. And a large glass of white wine is 185 calories – the equivalent of 4 fish fingers. Calculate exactly how many calories you will save by ditching the booze – odds are you’ll be shocked by how many you can save.
- Plan a holiday (yes even now – we can dream, right!)
Planning a holiday is the perfect way to motivate yourself during dry January. Putting all the money you’ve saved on booze into a ‘holiday piggy bank’ will be a visible inspiration to keep going, along with your shrinking waistline of course. Win, win.
- Recruit a partner in crime
Your driathlon will be about a million times easier if you have a least one of your friends on board the good ship sensible. You’ll have a sober partner in crime to go out with and look suitably smug while your other friends are being drunken idiots around you.
- Get drunk on love
Replace visiting your old friend alcohol with seeing real actual people that you care about. Arrange to see that old friend your parents, or make time for your partner even if it’s only on Zoom. Do something romantic with your significant other at home.
- Try a new type of exercise
Taking up a new exercise for the month will boost your levels of serotonin plus giving you something else to focus on. Try a ‘Ravercise’ classes – think daytime clubbing without the booze – for your dancing hit while staying firmly on the wagon. Everything can be done from a laptop these days!
- Think positive
Don’t picture your month of sobriety as something negative. Think of it as something great you are achieving purely for yourself. Rather than focusing on denying yourself alcohol, envision your success and how happy you will be at the end of the month when you have reached your goal.
- Tell everyone
By telling everyone you are never drinking ever again (well, for January) will increase your chances of success. Why? Because your feelings of shame will be increased by about 98% if your friends or family catch you clutching a sneaky gin & tonic when you shouldn’t be.
- Cut back, don’t cut out
If all else fails, simply cut back on your alcohol intake and set yourself an achievable goal per week. This will be much more easy to sustain and will certainly alleviate any January blues. There are also plenty of other ways to put goodness into your body, by upping your intake of fruit and vegetables, drinking more water, and taking supplements such as Milk Thistle which is thought to protect the liver from alcohol damage and premature ageing by helping to regenerate liver cells.