The Christmas season is one long festive inspired excuse to drink; and after a solid month of sipping on mulled wine and holiday cocktails, your body is probably crying out for a break. Enter Dry January. A booze-free month to detoxify the system and clear fog from the brain. The initiative was started back in 2012 by the charity, Alcohol Change UK and now attracts over four million people across the UK.
There are arguments around the how beneficial it is to encourage people to boycott alcohol for one month, whilst they binge drink for the remaining 11. Obviously, this is not ideal and will inevitably lead to a whole host of health problems. However, for a vast majority of those who undertake the challenge and complete Dry January, it provides them with far greater understanding of how alcohol affects their lives, in ways that are sometimes hard to detect without a fair trial for sobriety.
Are you ready to go alcohol free for the following 31 days? Here are some reasons, that will put any reservations you may have to bed. Wake up to a healthier, happier you.
The health benefits associated with keeping liquor off your lips for the duration of January are as attractive as they are plentiful. How does shifting that excess flab, feeling more motivated and energised and getting a better night's rest sound? And that's just the start. Your complexion will glow, your eyes will sparkle and your nails and hair will grow stronger and healthier looking.
That's just on the outside; your internal organs will be busy rejuvenating too. While the damage caused by drinking can build up pretty quickly, by the same token, it can also be fairly rapidly reversed once the toxins have been eliminated from your system. Think of your body as entering 'heal' mode from the moment you stop drinking. It's actually quite exciting to see what miraculous repair work your body will achieve over the next 31 days.
There is no doubt about it, alcohol drastically inhibits your productivity. Not only does it make you physically slower and more sluggish, when contending with hangovers and the general wearing down effect that alcohol has on the body; but also, just the actual time spent drinking. It's amazing how many hours are suddenly freed up when you're not able to plonk yourself down with a nice glass of vino and 'unwind'. Not drinking means that you have more time to be productive and to find ways to relax properly.
Feel good factor
While it's common for people to think of alcohol as a mood elevator, it is in fact categorised as a strong depressant. As a substance, alcohol initially acts to release endorphins (the amount is negligible and depends on the person's tolerance), however once these affects have subsided the result is that you feel worse. More anxious, more depressed and more uneasy than you did before the drink.
The multi-million dollar advertising campaigns showing alcohol as the crux of having a good time and being "cool", fail to include this uncomfortable truth about the real affects of alcohol. To reinforce feelings of genuine contentment, you must 'sit with' unpleasant feelings and thoughts and learn to accept them. Through awareness and without the distracting, mind altering effects of alcohol, you begin to physically re-wire the brain in positive ways.
Even for those who are respectful of the government's guidelines on unit consumption and would class themselves as highly responsible drinkers, it can still be a challenge to stop all together for a full 31 days. Once successfully completed, people are left with a sense of achievement and a feeling of empowerment over their alcohol consumption. This inevitably leads to better drinking habits and more control over the amount consumed.
It will come as no surprise that not purchasing alcohol saves you money. What can be quite astonishing is just how much. It's hard to give examples, as people's drinking habits vary greatly; but say you buy a bottle of wine each week and partake in a social drink at the weekend. If a bottle costs on average £10 and two pints is getting on for about £10, then that's £80 a month you could save yourself. This is a considerable amount of money, considering that you have nothing except a slightly lowered immune system to show for it.