Sometimes, after a season of indulgence and over-consumption, a change in routine can be just what you need. That’s the intention behind Dry January, a month-long commitment to cutting back on alcohol. In the past few years, it’s grown in popularity and become a common way to reset from the holidays and set the tone for the year ahead.
Whether you’re dry all year long, or this is your first shot at seeing what life can be like alcohol-free, you’ve got lots of great company along for this ride. Taking a mindful break from drinking is a wonderful way to assess the overall role of alcohol in your life.
Here are a few tips for getting started on your Dry January journey:
Identify your “why”
If the idea of Dry January appeals to you, try to explore the “why” behind it. Are you interested in testing out a dry month to see if it is something you’d like to explore longer term? Do you see this as a way to contribute to your overall health and well-being? Do you just want to cleanse your palate?
Understanding why you are taking a break will allow you to focus on the changes and impacts you see in your day-to-day life. Identifying those things is the first step towards figuring out what kind of changes might serve you best in the new year.
Like with any change to routine, it helps to make a plan. To succeed in Dry January, make sure you feel prepared when going into occasions where you might normally drink. If you’re going out to dinner with a friend, find a restaurant that offers non-alcoholic drinks, or be ready to ask the bartender for something delicious and alcohol-free – I love a champagne glass of soda water with a splash of grapefruit juice and bitters. Instead of settling down in front of the TV with a glass of wine (or three) at the end of the day, try indulging in a special herbal tea instead. Hosting a dinner party? Make a batch mocktail to serve guests, or explore the many options in the alcohol-free wine space!
Going dry for a month can bring about some wonderful changes. You may notice improved sleep and energy levels and decreased feelings of anxiety or depression. You may also be more aware of the times when you’re feeling like you would really want to have a drink – what are your “triggers” and what other ways can you identify to cope with those rather than grabbing a drink? Going for a walk? A dance party in the kitchen? Calling a friend? Journaling your thoughts and experiences during your Dry January can help you reevaluate at the end of the month to see if there are some longer-term changes you might wish to carry into the rest of the year.
Grab a friend
Big changes can be more fun with a friend or partner. Do you have someone in your life who is also considering a Dry January? Or a friend who keeps dry who could be your buddy while you navigate a month of no booze? You could even take this opportunity to explore the many online communities dedicated to people living dry or sober lifestyles. Having a partner to check in with throughout the month is a great way to stay accountable. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to share great zero-proof recipes and ideas!
Stock up on your favorite AF beverages
When I first went alcohol-free, one of the things that were the hardest was just missing having a glass of something special in hand. Mocktails have been an important tool in feeling like I still get to enjoy something special without the FOMO. Between seltzers, alcohol-free beers and wines, and mixing up alcohol-free drinks, I feel like I enjoy more options now than when I was still drinking! Having delicious and festive options on hand can help when you’re itching to grab a drink.
And if you don’t know where to start, that’s where Raising the Bar comes in! Each month we offer unique zero-proof ingredients and curated recipes to redefine happy hour.