Health + Wellness

How to make it through ‘Dry January’

During Pretty-Drunk December, doing Dry January sounds like the ideal way for both your body and your wallet to recover from festive overindulgence. “It’s only 31 days,” you’ll cry, “just think of the money I’ll save, the pounds I’ll lose, and how energised I’ll feel come Feb!” Given that January has a whopping five weekends to survive, booze free, however, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Here’s some top tips to help you get through.

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Don’t hibernate

The worst thing you can possibly do is become a hermit in your own home and attempt to hibernate for the entire month. 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 around to that happen at times you would never usually be awake at. Brunch is a great idea too, just be careful to invite fellow non-drinkers, so you’re not tempted by a tipple.

Recruit a partner in sobriety

Your dryathlon 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 with while your other friends are being drunken idiots around you and then feeling dreadful the next day.

Know your numbers

A frozen margarita made with tequila can contain up to 700 calories; read it and weep non-Dry Januaryers – that’s more than a Big Mac burger. A pint of lager has 180 calories, which is more than a small slice of cake; and a large glass of white wine contains upwards of 220 calories – the equivalent of 44g bar of chocolate. Calculate exactly how many calories you will save by ditching the booze and you’ll be both shocked at how many you consumed over Christmas, and then delighted at how many you’ll save this month.

Plan a holiday

Planning a holiday and then putting all the money you’ve saved on booze into a ‘holiday fund’ will be a visible inspiration to keep going throughout this punishingly weekend-heavy month. Dreaming of hot sun and white sandy beaches is a guaranteed motivator, plus you’ll have a shrinking bikini/speedo body too: win, win.

Share the love

Replace visiting your old friend alcohol with seeing actual people that you care about. Arrange to go and see that old friend you’ve been meaning to visit, make more time for your parents, or book a weekend away with your partner (providing he or she is on the wagon too). A romantic city break is a great idea as it’ll remove you from any pressure to go to the pub with your friends. If you’re strong as an ox and can handle the pub without a pint or Prosecco in hand, it isn’t utterly out of the question. Non-alcoholic drinks do exist, believe it or not.

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Embrace exercise

Kickstarting your fitness regime for an entire month will not only boost your levels of serotonin, but will also give you a suitably time-consuming goal to focus on. Try a group fitness class and see it as a social get together without alcohol – opt for Zumba or salsa classes and you’ve even fulfilled your weekend dancing quotient too. Turn to page 66-67 for some inspiration and advice on getting fit this year.

Stay positive

Many people picture a month of sobriety like some sort of ghastly community service sentence, but don’t see your forthcoming challenge as negative. Instead, flip it and see it as something fantastic that you’re working towards achieving for yourself and for your health. Rather than focusing on the fact you can’t unwind with a drink, try and envision how happy you will be when you have reached your goal.

Tell everyone and anyone

Telling everyone you’ve ever met that you’re never drinking ever again (well, for January, but it might feel like forever at times) will increase your chances of success. Why? Because your feelings of shame will verge on 100 per cent unbearable if your friends or family catch you clutching a sneaky glass of red when you shouldn’t be.

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Back up your efforts

There are oodles of ways to put goodness into your body, so why not go the whole hog – up your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, drink at least two litres of water daily, work out regularly and take a supplement to keep your mineral and vitamin levels tip top. Combined, your efforts are sure to alleviate any January blues, and if they don’t, well, it’s only 31 days until you can reunite with your good friend G&T.

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