Expert tips for ‘Dry January’

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Are you feeling like you have overindulged this Christmas? For us, the party season seemed to last for the whole of the month and not just Christmas week! This is why we are jumping on the Dry January trend and abstaining from alcohol for a month.

Attempting dry January can be tough for many, especially if you have social functions to attend at the start of the year. We don’t like to be too boring, so we are doing Dry January for as much as it can be socially acceptable! We think the odd day off is fine.

However, to help keep the majority of the month dry, Doctor Clare Morrison of MedExpress has given us five top tips for Dry January and avoiding drinking in the new year…

Make your intentions known: “To make the process of giving up a lot easier, you should tell your friends and family about your plans to give up alcohol for the month and explain why. This way you can share your successes with them and they will understand why you’ve started to turn down drinks or trips to the local pub. Regularly reminding yourself and those close to you that you want to stop drinking will also help keep you keep on track and could even encourage others to do the same. Equally, having a friend or a few friends to join in dry January with you will also make the process easier, you can enjoy non-drink related outings together.”

Avoid temptation: “Try to avoid situations where you may be tempted to drink, whether that’s declining drinks at the pub, or avoiding restaurants where they do your favourite cocktail. Also try to avoid the times when you would usually drink and fill them with something else, whether that be cinema, bowling or just anything that doesn’t have to include alcohol. Identifying triggers is also important, especially if you’ve tried to give up in the past – try to understand why you were unsuccessful. Perhaps you succumbed to an evening at the pub, or said to yourself one won’t hurt. Ensuring there is not alcohol readily available at home will also increase success rate.”

Start gradually: “Rather than going cold turkey on new year’s day after a night of heavy drinking, it may be an idea to gradually try and drink less as December comes to a close; this may prove hard for some especially with new year but weaning yourself off early will make the process easier. Cutting down doesn’t have to be hard, if you drink most nights then you can start by designating a few days a week as alcohol free days in December, this will soon become habit and the challenge will then be making your whole week alcohol free.”

Reward progress: “It’s important to acknowledge the fact that making these types of sudden lifestyle changes are difficult and for some can be impossible. Dry January isn’t a small feat so ensuring your rewarding yourself throughout is really important. If you tend to sit in front of the TV after work with a glass of wine, replace that with something else, perhaps a sweet treat or a tasty non-alcoholic drink. You will also find you have a lot more money saved from the lack of trips to the pub – use this to do a spot of clothes shopping and treat yourself to a new outfit, this will make you feel good and keep your mind off the booze.”

Keep busy: “The best way to forget the fact that you are without alcohol is to keep busy, as mentioned earlier, try to find friends who are also doing dry January and make plans with them so there’s no temptation to go to the pub or have a drink at home. There are many things you can do which don’t require alcohol. Perhaps you could also start a fitness class or running to keep your body and mind occupied.”