09 Feb

So, you've completed Dry Jan. Now what?

We are all familiar with “new year, new me” energy.  Whether it's joining a gym, eating healthier, going vegan or cutting out alcohol, the month of January generally comes with habit changes and goals. One of the most common, in fact, is Dry January. An estimated nine million people in the UK alone reported committing to Dry January in 2023! However, a lot of people complete this one month challenge and celebrate with a pint or glass of bubbly! Ironic, right?

According to a survey by Alcohol Change UK, British drinkers consume about 13.7 units of alcohol in a “typical” week. 33% of British drinkers typically drink more than the recommended amount of 14 units per week, with twice as many men doing so compared to women.

Aside from Dry January, 30% of British drinkers reported wanting to reduce their alcohol consumption generally throughout the year ahead. The most common ways of doing so were committing to alcohol-free days (25%), drinking less on occasions where they are drinking (16%), committing to alcohol-free weeks or months (15%) or a totally alcohol-free night out (10%).

People who participated in Dry January report feeling an increase in energy throughout the day, a decrease in feelings of general anxiety and depressive thoughts, better sleep and more mental clarity and alertness just to name a few. So why stop at the end of January? Why not extend those benefits throughout the year?!

If you are looking to reduce your alcohol consumption, here are some helpful tips to do this in practice:

  • Order something other than just plain water! Just because you aren’t drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun beverage. See if there are any good mocktails on the menu, have the bartender make something for you. You also can’t go wrong with a classic soda water and fresh lime.
  • Try non alcoholic options. There are more alcohol-free beers, wines, spirits, and even prosecco on the market now than ever before! You can still feel like part of the fun without feeling the negative effects the next day.
  • Try activities with friends or family that do not revolve around alcohol. While it can be easy to just head to the pub after work or with mates at the weekend, try something a bit more physically or mentally involved to keep attention on the activity itself. You could try bowling, games or trivia night, rock climbing, or even a workout class at your local Lifestyle Fitness club 😉
  • It is important to remember that literally no one cares what you are drinking and if you are drinking at all. Once the group has had one or two, you will be surprised at how the attention shifts from drinking entirely and instead is just focused on having fun.

Finally, please remember that whether you choose to drink alcohol or not, you are still capable of having a fun night with your friends and family. Alcohol can definitely be enjoyed in moderation, but we are starting to notice a shift of people consuming it less frequently or cutting it out altogether. If this is something you want to learn more about, please visit https://alcoholchange.org.uk/ for resources and tips.

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