At the beginning of each year, hundreds of New Year resolutions are made. Some hope to lose a little weight, while others hope to quit smoking, and then there’s really ambitious folks who actually sign up to quit drinking for an entire month – this tradition is known as Dry January.
Last year, more than two million people cut down their drinking for January, and now with the Department of Health backing the Dry January campaign, Alcohol Concern – a national charity dedicated to tackling the harm caused by alcohol to individuals, families, and society – estimates that 2016 may be the campaign’s biggest sign up year yet.
In fact, some Twitter users are already tweeting about their three day accomplishment.
Officially hung up my dancing shoes and replaced with running trainers ☝????️ Dry January ????????
— Kαуℓєιgh Morris (@Kmorrisx) January 3, 2016
— Natasha (@Natasha_D1) January 3, 2016
First weekend done @dryjanuary feeling good!!! ????????
— Daisydo (@nikkicward) January 3, 2016
How's @dryjanuary going guys ! So far so good for me !
— nadia sawalha (@nadiasawalha) January 3, 2016
— Amanda Davies (@AmandaJDavies01) January 3, 2016
Aside from encouraging participants to live a healthier life, Dry January aims to attract funding through donations, raise awareness of alcohol-related problems, and educate people about the health benefits of abstaining from alcohol.
“We also work to empower young people to think critically about the role alcohol may play in their own lives and to support them to take action – through It’s the Drink Talking and the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council,” the Alcohol Concern website reads.
“On top of that, we run campaigns to raise awareness and behavior change, like Alcohol Awareness Week and Dry January. The aim of these campaigns is to develop new conversations about alcohol and to support people to make positive changes.”
Alcohol Concern organized its first Dry January event January 2013 with more than 4,400 people signing up to do away with alcohol for an entire month. During that time Dry January was a government-funded campaign.
In an effort to help you keep this year’s resolution, here are a few tips to get you through the next 31 days.
There’s a pretty good change you decided to go hard this holiday season and that’s completely okay. But, in order to make it through this very Dry January, you’ll need to rid your body of alcohol. And the best way to do that is to hydrate.
- Go to the gym (more than once)
According to Peak Fitness, drinking chemically alters your brain by releasing small amounts of dopamine – a chemical your brain associates with rewarding behaviors. When you exercise this same chemical is released, which means you can get the same “buzz” from working out that you can get from a bottle of wine.
- Learn something new
Avoid replacing one bad habit for another. Instead of putting down the bottle and picking up the remote, try learning a new skill like playing the guitar or sewing. Who knows you might find a hidden talent if you try hard enough.
- Go out!
Just because you took a no-alcohol-vow doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have fun. Tell your friends you’re doing it for a good cause, order a coke, and proceed to dance the night away. They might become so inspired by your persistence that they too put the mug down and sign up for Dry January as well.
- Revel in the cash you’re saving
Alcohol is definitely expensive. According to drug-rehabs.org, Americans spend $90 billion total on alcohol each year.
In addition to the expense of alcohol itself, Alcohol Concern reports that alcohol misuse costs England around £21bn ($30 billion) per year in healthcare, crime, and lost productivity costs.
[Photo by J.M. Hirsch/AP Photo]