As we approach the end of the year, it’s an important time to take stock of how the past year. Have you kept up with your New Year’s Resolutions? If not, no worries; plenty of people don’t quite keep up with their goals for the new year, but still make strides toward living a healthier, cleaner lifestyle.
While a full year can be a bit much for people, one thing that many do to start their new year on a healthy note is doing a Sober January or a Dry January. In this piece, we’ll break down: what is Dry January, how to participate in Dry January 2024, Dry January tips, some of the health benefits and effects of Dry January, and some discussion about intentional drinking.
What is Dry January?
The obvious question is – what in the world is Dry January? Simply put, Dry January is a month-long commitment to stay sober for the month of January to let your body reset (this is sometimes referred to as a Dry Month). After a long fall and early winter of comfort foods, calorically dense drinks, and all the sweets that come with the Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December holidays, it’s natural to put on a few pounds. Dry January incentivizes people to limit or eliminate their alcohol consumption while intentionally choosing a cleaner, healthier approach to consumption.
How do I do Dry January 2024?
At face value, the rules for Dry January are very simple: consume no alcohol from January 1 through January 31. Easy enough, right? Well, yes and no. Drinking is a deeply ingrained human social practice, so you’ll naturally find yourself at occasions where alcohol will be served. Weddings, work happy hours, wine nights, football tailgates, house parties, birthdays, and bachelor or bachelorette parties. You’ll inevitably find yourself in a social situation where you might be tempted to consume alcohol. If you’re serious about doing Dry January 2024, you’re going to want to take some proactive steps to ensure your success.
Some helpful Dry January tips include taking a look at your calendar at the start of every week, and thinking about situations you might be in where you might be tempted to have a drink. For example, if you plan to meet some friends after work, consider choosing a location that has non-alcoholic drinks available, or otherwise plan out what you want to order from the menu in advance. Alternatively, consider inviting friends and family over for a game night inside!
Another Dry January tip for setting yourself up for success is to remove all alcohol from your house. Out of sight, out of mind. Much like dieticians might advise you to remove junk food from your house, if you remove the temptation from your sight you are significantly less likely to consume alcohol. What if you have some nice bottles of bourbon or wine? Not to worry. Take a little time to package them delicately and store them away where it won’t be as easy to access them. Though it may sound unorthodox, storing nice bottles of alcohol away for after January will remove the temptation, while simultaneously giving you something to look forward to at the end of the month for all your hard work!
A few final tips for Dry January: use the buddy system! If you have a gym buddy, friend, or partner who is also considering health goals going into the new year, encourage them to join you in a sober January. This will help you both stay accountable to each other, as well as your goals, and can make all the difference when motivation starts to fail halfway through the month. If you’re looking for tips for Dry January activities, consider some different activities or locations where you can be social without feeling like you have to drink! Some ideas include: hitting the gym, checking out book stores or coffee shops, going to parks, exploring new parts of town, and more. Of course, you could also choose to stay in and invite your company over for some delicious mocktails using Ritual Zero Poof!
Dry January Symptoms
It is worth noting that going completely sober after periods of excessive drinking (like the holiday season) can actually lead to some Dry January Symptoms. Some of these side effects of Dry January (or any dry month) can include symptoms like shakey hands, anxiety (hangxiety), and light insomnia. Let’s clear something up really quick; experiencing any of these symptoms does NOT mean that you have a drinking problem per se. The point of any dry month is to give your body a chance to detox and allow you to personally evaluate the role that alcohol plays in your life.
Consider non-alcoholic alternatives
Ritual Zero Proof non alcoholic spirits can make your life easier this Dry January. We proudly use the finest botanical ingredients available to provide you with alcohol-free alternatives for whiskey, gin, tequila, and rum. These alternatives give you the same flavor profiles of your favorite spirits without the calories or alcohol that can make them damaging. This means you can still enjoy your favorite drinks without breaking your commitment to a Dry January.
What are the health benefits of Dry January?
Put simply, the effects of Dry January (including health benefits) are considerable. Even if you make no other lifestyle changes, consuming fewer alcoholic drinks means you will consume fewer calories, which likely means that you’ll lose weight. That’s just factoring the direct calories from alcohol. If you consider how many calories are in sugary cocktails or mixers, you’re looking at serious calorie reduction.
You’ll experience various other benefits from a month off drinking. For starters, your sleep quality and mood should drastically improve. Additionally, you’ll be less tempted to eat greasy or unhealthy foods, saving you untold amounts of calories in drunk eating. Your work days and workouts should each be even more productive, as you won’t have the same grogginess that comes with a night out.
Besides better sleep, an improved mood, less greasy food, and improved performance at work and the gym, one unplanned benefit? You’ll save money. Drinks, cocktails, drunk food, and rides home don’t come cheap, with people on average spending close to $80 for a night out on the town. And that’s just one night! If you go out twice a week for a month, that could be close to $640 in immediate savings. After an entire season of parties, get togethers, and shopping, a little extra cash in your pocket could be a great way to start your year off right. This is one of the effects of Dry January that catch so many by surprise; the extra money in your bank account. Given how often our country chooses to eat out for a meal, it’s no surprise that dining and entertainment expenses can add up quickly. By changing this one small behavior and choosing to commit to the benefits of Dry January, you’ll find that your health as well as your finances will be in a better place.
So you’ll sleep better, feel better, and your wallet will feel the love too. Sounds pretty appealing, right? The Dry January benefits don’t stop there. It’s well-known how damaging alcohol can be to the body, especially to your liver which has to process the toxins as they flush out of your body. But the liver isn’t the only organ affected by alcohol; your gut, stomach, and the rest of your digestive tract all feel the wear and tear of alcohol. Even your cardiovascular system struggles, as heart and lung performance diminish in the wake of a few drinks. The body’s restorative abilities are remarkable. Giving your body 31 uninterrupted days to recover after the strain of the holiday season can be monumental in setting yourself up for success through the rest of the new year. And these are only a few of the many positive effects of Dry January.
On drinking intentionally
More than anything, Dry January gives you an opportunity to consider when and where you choose to drink. Are you drinking because it’s what you want to do? Or are you drinking for other reasons, such as social pressure? There’s no right or wrong answer. The month off alcohol is designed for you to think about how life feels without crippling hangovers, Sunday Scaries, or even the “need” to get a drink while you’re out. Plus, with Ritual Zero Poof, you can order non-alcoholic or low-abv versions of your favorite drinks, giving you more power over when and where you decide to drink. Don’t worry if you don’t make it all the way through the month. Making an intentional effort to live healthier is a lot more than many will ever do in their lives!
Whether you’re a Dry January Veteran or if Dry January 2024 will be your first attempt, take pride in the fact that you’re being mindful of your health, well-being, and relationship with alcohol. Many use the dry month as a chance to strive for resolutions and goals in the new year, and being more mindful of what you choose to put in your body is an excellent place to start.Head on over to Ritual Zero Poof today and stock up on all your favorite drinks so you can Enjoy The Ritual this Dry January!