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How to do (and stick with) Dry January

Already being tempted by that 5pm glass of chardonnay? We're here to help.


Don’t give up yet, you've come this far...

So you've decided to do Dry January. During a pandemic. While you're stuck at home thanks to Lockdown 3.0. It may sound (and feel) as though you've set yourself up for an immediate fail but trust us, you can do this and you're only set to reap the benefits afterwards.

As much as the medical community debates on whether a glass of red wine can be considered a health drink, it's definitely undisputed that swapping that nighttime tipple for a non-alcoholic beverage every so often can have its benefits. It's party why Dry January has become such a widespread phenomenon (1 in 4 Irish adults are taking part in it this year alone!).

Of course, there are a whole host of other reasons as to why people are interested in participating in Dry January and everyone's experience with it is very personal. Not to mention, Dry January can be really tough for some.

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The first weekend after New Year's was probably a breeze, you were likely still recovering from Christmas and having a few days off the booze was a welcome treat. The following weekend? Tough. Your first day back to work? Even tougher.

Look, no one said giving up alcohol was going to be easy but it is doable - even in a pandemic. So, whether you're doing it for health reasons, in a bid to be fitter or simply because you quite fancy a challenge, you've come to the right place. Read on for some simple and realistic steps you can take to make Dry January a little bit easier. Oh! And be sure to pin this post to your browser because there's going to come a day this month where you'll be tempted by a glass of wine, and we've got just what you need.

1. Take it one Zoom call at a time...

For anyone who has ever taken part in Dry January before, they'll tell you that social gatherings are the hardest time to stick with it. While social gatherings are off the cards right now, that doesn't mean the peer pressure to have a drink will disappear too. Between virtual happy hours, Zoom quizzes and general over-the-phone catchups, you may be tempted or persuaded into having a drink. Our advice? Make your decision not to drink – or to drink – one occasion at a time. You might decide you still want to drink every now and again, so there’s no need to make hard and fast rules right now. Focus on the present.

2. Eliminate temptation

If you have alcohol in the house, you’re more likely to “fail” at Dry January than you are if you actually have to go out and buy it – especially since you’re spending more time at home now than you might have been in years prior. Every time you pass your bar cart or open your fridge and there are cans of beer or bottles of wine, it’s an automatic reminder and a temptation. But there is a simple fix, or rather three. Firstly, you can hide your booze in a spot that's out of your daily sightline. You could also ask a friend to babysit it for the month if you think you'll be quick to dig out the hidden wine from the top of the wardrobe. Or, if money is no object and/or you think you might want to continue sobriety beyond January, dispose of it altogether or gift it to a friend. 

3. Figure out your why

This is an incredibly important step – especially in social situations when you might feel pressured to have a drink. Figure out the reasons why you want to stop drinking, and keep returning to them if you feel like caving. Do you want to focus on your fitness? Are you interested in saving money? Or do you simply feel like challenging yourself? Whatever your reason, keep it in mind so that you can stay focused on your goals. 

4. Find a friend

Enlisting someone close to you to take on the Dry January challenge too can help keep you on track, in the same way, having a 'workout buddy' can motivate you to actually go on that run. By doing so, not only will you have somebody you can plan activities with that don’t involve alcohol, but you can also rely on each other if you need to vent, and celebrate each other’s wins. And if you really want to dial up the incentives, why not throw a wager into the mix. 

5. Quench your thirst

If you really love the taste of wine, beer, or cocktails, it can be easy to fall prey to cravings. However, these days, there are many nonalcoholic options that can satisfy your thirst for a specific type of boozy beverage. Dry January is the perfect time to explore what else is out there. Not familiar with the mocktail market? Check out brands like Seedlip, Silk Tree, Lyre’s, Poachers Drinks and more.

6. Find another outlet

Replacing your version of happy hour with another mood-boosting activity can kill cravings, too. One of the best ways to rid yourself of an unhealthy habit is to replace it with a healthy one. For example, if you’re used to having a glass of wine every night at five o’clock, replace that with something you know is going to boost your mood—perhaps it’s a workout or meditation or a new project or learning how to cook or knit. After all, some of us do have more time on our hands than we did before and drinking is not necessarily the best use of it. 

7. If you slip, don't quit

Even if you’ve accomplished Dry January before, you may find this year to be particularly difficult, and if you fall off the wagon at some point, don't fret. You're human and these are becoming increasingly challenging times. You can certainly just start over the next day, don't let one drink deter you. 

You also don’t have to commit to the entire month, if that feels daunting. You’ve got to do what’s going to motivate you and get you to the finish line successfully. For example, if you’re overwhelmed by the thought of 31 days without alcohol, start small by doing just a weekend or a week or two weeks—have a deadline in mind and go from there. Some people prefer trying Dry February instead of Dry January, simply because the month is slightly shorter.

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