Dry January: What It Is, Advantages & How To Prepare for It

dry january

During the holiday season, people celebrate with family gatherings, workplace events, dinner parties, and evenings with close friends, usually by toasting the season and indulging in holiday cocktails. It’s the best time of the year, but it’s probably also when you notice you’re drinking more frequently and at a greater volume than any other part of the year.

If that’s the case, you might consider trying Dry January. More people have adopted this month-long alcohol abstinence, whether someone drinks moderately or with only a social alcohol consumption. It serves as almost a physical and mental reboot, where toxins are eliminated since no alcohol is going in.

Dry January is something to be careful with if you drink frequently and significantly to avoid the potential for severe withdrawal symptoms. Depending on your intake, these can include hallucinations, the potential for seizures or a coma, and worse. 

If you want to participate as a way to curb or stop drinking, it’s wise to do so with the guidance of a medical professional in this situation. It’s less challenging to completely abstain when you only indulge around the holidays, but you drink less frequently. 

Let’s look more in-depth at Dry January to understand the premise, the potential benefits, and how to get started.

What Is Dry January?

dry january

The premise behind Dry January is that a drinker avoids alcohol for the whole of January. A nonprofit in the UK, “Alcohol Change UK,” originated the effort with the objective of raising funds for awareness/treatment of alcohol abuse. 

The movement quickly spread worldwide, with much of the population deciding to participate. 

Some wanted to reboot their system after having more alcohol than usual during the holidays or attempting to drink less than average for heavy drinkers.

Is Dry January Suitable For Your Situation

Those who want to remain abstinent from alcohol for the whole of January need to understand the reason behind their decision. It’s natural for people to want to cut back after indulging in the holiday season. Many seem to let go of self-control with all the festivities. However, it’s helpful to have an understanding of what constitutes a standard volume and go beyond that.

As a rule, greater than “seven drinks in one week” is what the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism consider heavy drinking but more than “four drinks in a two-hour period is considered binge drinking.” 

It’s also essential to recognize that drinking alcohol in this volume can result in adverse health consequences. That’s one of the best reasons to reconsider this consumption behavior. Impairment risks are higher with binge drinking since blood alcohol rises at a fast rate. The symptoms include cognitive issues, lack of motor coordination, and decreased inhibition. 

This is the reason for increases in auto crashes, volatile or risky behavior, falling, and on when these habits become, constant chronic medical issues result, including high blood pressure, liver disease, varied medical ailments, and dependence on the substance. 

A priority before abstaining completely for a month is to consult with a medical professional if you’re a heavy or binge drinker since withdrawal is likely. That can cause symptoms including insomnia, vomiting, and nausea, irritability, anxiety, or severe reactions including delirium, hallucinations, seizures, coma, or the potential for fatality.

Based on your usage, a doctor can determine the best way to slow down your alcohol usage or stop drinking. 

Those with less than heavy alcohol use and a more minimal intake will see health benefits when abstaining in Dry January. If alcohol continues to be limited, these advantages will continue. Let’s look at a few.

Advantages Of Dry January

You’ll notice many possible pros to abstaining from alcohol in Dry January, including saving money since liquor can be pretty costly. Consider these advantages when cutting down on your consumption.

Better, restful sleep and more energy

While many people might pass out while engaging in a night of festivities as a holiday event, having a heavy dose of alcohol prevents a sound slumber that the body needs to repair and replenish for the following day. When limiting or stopping consumption, restless nights will allow for peaceful rest, giving you more energy in the morning and making you more productive.

Clear complexion and glowing skin

Alcohol dehydrates as a diuretic, causing more bathroom breaks. This is why it’s suggested to drink loads of water when drinking. Dehydration can cause problems with the skin. In the winter, during the holidays, this is in addition to the dryness created by the cold weather. 

When abstaining from alcohol and drinking more water, the skin will feel healthy and begin to glow in the snow.

Another issue to be mindful of is the sugar and salt in most alcoholic drinks that can trigger certain hormone-producing oil, leading to pimples. When combined with the insulin spikes that create inflammation, acne can result. Liquor limitations will assist and have the potential to improve this condition.

The possibility of helping to lose weight

Usually, when people stop consuming alcohol, they will lose weight. As a rule, even if you alter your diet in no other way except by limiting or cutting out liquor, there will still likely be weight loss. Many of these beverages carry roughly 200 calories, plus people tend to eat more when consuming alcohol without paying attention.

When not drinking, mindless munching will also usually stop. Plus, some of the bloat that can come with heavy drinking, the puffiness, will go away, making you feel lean.

The Best Way To Prepare For Dry January

The first step is discerning why you want to commit to Dry January. When you have a clear-cut reason, you’ll stay motivated, disallowing triggers from preventing your success. When you are encouraged, you’ll have more momentum to push forward to not only the end of the month but possibly progress into February and beyond. You might stop consuming altogether.

You can then look to those around you to see if there’s someone you can motivate to do the same thing. It might be easier if someone holds you accountable and vice versa.

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