Dry January: A chance to join the mindful drinking movement
I was recently chatting with our friends at Sunnyside (our favorite mindful drinking app) about their values, mission, and take on challenges like Dry January. It wasn’t a big surprise to find that we both share the same perspective that mindful drinking is all about getting more out of life and enjoying the experience of drinking, while maintaining a sense of balance. The conversation sparked the idea for this post, a chance for us to share a bit of our own philosophies and encourage a mindful approach to cutting back on drinking.
Ritual x Sunnyside:
The Complete Mindful Drinking Solution
At both Ritual and Sunnyside, we all enjoy drinking alcohol to some degree. This is an important distinction about who we are. We enjoy alcohol, but we also enjoy balance, clear mornings, and enjoying non-alcoholic cocktails for the evening wind-down. Because a margarita made with our Tequila Alternative or a whiskey sour with our Whiskey Alternative can often scratch the itch without putting you out the next morning.
We don’t believe in an all-or-nothing approach to drinking. And we’re not about judgment. Instead, occasions like Dry January provide opportunities to build habits that can be sustained year-round.
Taking time off drinking is great – if it’s what works for you. More important, though, is an approach that sticks. A considered relationship to alcohol. That’s how you hit your goals and develop new habits. Perhaps you drink Ritual cocktails during the week and full proof cocktails on the weekends during January. You feel great, and you’re not depriving yourself. Which makes it easier to carry that through the rest of the year.
Or make Ritual your perfect third drink during Dry January and continue that habit going forward. Or take three days off, or a week. There are many ways to pursue more mindful drinking this month, and you choose what’s best for you.
However you do Dry January, we’re here for you. Ready to make Ritual part of your mindful drinking journey? Get 10% off when you order our Tequila, Whiskey and Gin Alternatives with our Dry January Bundle.
Sustainable Habits Over Crash Diets
“Dry January” is inherently presented as an all-or-nothing approach simply by the name. We think the biggest risk to 30-day sober challenges is that they can set you up for failure in two key ways: First, you simply may not be ready to take 30 days off, so you decide to call it quits a week in and you suddenly feel like a failure. Recovering from that feeling of “failing” can be difficult and emotionally draining. In reality, you did accomplish something important by taking a week off of drinking, but it can be hard to celebrate if you didn’t complete the entire month as planned.
The second problem is that you may actually over-correct when you start drinking again after the 30-day challenge. This is fairly common with any sort of crash diet. When we completely stop ourselves from having something (whether it be alcohol or food), we naturally crave that thing more and more.
“When you are dieting, you actually become more likely to notice food. Basically your brain becomes overly responsive to food, but you don't just notice it — it actually begins to look more appetizing and tempting. It has an increased reward value. So the thing you're trying to resist becomes harder to resist. ”
~ Traci Mann, Psychology Professor at the University of Minnesota (2)
But thankfully, we can hack our brain’s reward mechanism with a non-alcoholic cocktail. People often report that after a few sips of a Ritual cocktail, they feel more relaxed, looser, more fun. Which means they feel more satisfied, less deprived and less likely to crash back into old habits, or worse, after a month of moderation.
The potential downsides of Dry January aren’t around the health benefits per se, but rather that it isn’t about examining alcohol in the context of your overall health. This is where mindful drinking comes in and plays a key piece in our approach.
Join The Movement With Ritual & Sunnyside
Mindful drinking is more than an idea. It’s a movement. A community growing larger by the day. It’s not about quitting alcohol but instead being aware of how much alcohol you’re drinking and its impact on you in the moment. It’s about recognizing the reasons for and the ramifications of drinking. It’s about improving your relationship with alcohol so you maximize enjoyment and minimize negative side effects like hangovers, regrets, and anxiety.
Living Better Starts This January
The benefits of a more mindful approach to drinking are virtually endless. Here are some of the most significant changes you’ll see when you start swapping full proof cocktails with Ritual.
- Improved sleep. Alcohol sleep patterns, causing you to wake up tired and unrested. Cutting back on alcohol consumption has been shown to improve sleep quality substantially.
- Anxiety reduction. Decreasing alcohol consumption by 30% in 30 days can lead to reduced anxiety. Excessive alcohol consumption causes hormonal imbalances which can increase anxiety in stressful situations.
- Weight management. Overconsumption of alcohol is a common barrier to maintaining a healthy weight. At an average of 300 - 500 calories per cocktail, even a small reduction can make a big difference.
- Lower blood pressure. Alcohol use in heavy amounts — greater than 3 to 4 drinks a day — is associated with higher blood pressure. Cutting back by 2 to 3 drinks per day can help lower both systolic and diastolic pressure.
- Better liver function. Many physicians have seen an uptick in patients with alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol use can lead to a build-up of fat in the liver. This accumulation of fat can be a precursor to liver damage. A modest reduction in alcohol use can help prevent these potentially dangerous changes.
- Healthier skin. There are some aesthetic benefits of mindful drinking too. Heavy drinking is not a recipe for glowing skin, causing more wrinkling and early aging of the skin. It is also pro-inflammatory, and disrupts the usual function of blood vessels in the skin. This can result in skin that looks duller, drier and puffier, and may even cause facial redness and blotchiness.
More brainpower. The liver isn’t the only important organ that will benefit from more mindful drinking. One of the most common benefits that patients talk about when cutting back on their drinking is the greater focus, clarity and mental energy they enjoy. The result is often higher cognitive performance and greater motivation.
Moderation Has Never Been Easier
Moderation is hard. For most people, the decision to drink less is a hurdle in itself. But with alcohol so ingrained in our lives, from social engagements to our weekday evening wind-down, the notion of implementing new habits and sustaining those habits for a month, a year or more can feel damn near impossible.
More than ever, people are looking for easier ways to be healthier. From meal plans to at-home virtual trainers, we all want to integrate healthier habits into our lives so we can remove the daily decision-making, and form sustainable habits.
The pairing of Ritual and Sunnyside is designed to do just that. When you stock your bar cart with Ritual spirit alternatives and sign up for a Sunnyside membership, you can make your evening cocktail non-alcoholic and have an accountability partner by your side for when you need support. So, you can take the first step toward mindful drinking, and we’ll help you build habits that last.
Dry January, Your Way
Dry January is about building healthier habits that are sustainable beyond this month. So, the change doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Even replacing just one or two drinks per week with a non-alcoholic version will reap immediate rewards. Here are a few different ways that the Ritual team is approaching Dry January, based on individual needs and goals.
- 30 Days Dry. You’re in it to win it. You’re here to do the thing. 30 days without alcohol. But thankfully, with non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails, you don’t have to feel like you’re living less.
- The Cheat Day. 30 days without a drink can feel like a tall order, especially a couple weeks in. But with this approach, you stick with Ritual for six days, with one cheat day each week, that’ll keep you healthy and motivated to make it through the month.
- The Half and Half. With this approach, you drink the same number of cocktails that you would typically drink in a week, substituting every other with a Ritual. You cut your alcohol intake in half without losing your rhythm.
- The Single Swap. This approach offers the easiest adjustment, and is great for those who would otherwise stick to their normal routine. Simply swap in a single Ritual cocktail each time you drink. Having three? Make one a Ritual. It is, after all, the perfect third drink. During Dry January and always.
However you choose to take part in Dry January, there’s a Ritual that’s right for you. Shop all of our spirit alternatives here.